Khuddaka Nikaya


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Sutta Nipata
3
Sutta 8. Salla Sutta

[pali] [faus]

The Arrow

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
For free distribution only.

 


 

    Without sign,
    unknown
-- the life here of mortals --
    difficult,
    short,
    tied up with pain.
For there's no way
by which those who are born
    will not die.
Beings are subject
    to death
even when they attain
    old age.

Like ripe fruits
whose downfall, whose danger
        is falling,
so for mortals, once born,
the constant danger
        is death.

As a potter's clay vessels
    large and small
    fired and unfired
all end up broken,
    so too life
    heads to death.
Young and old
wise and foolish
rich and poor:
            all
    come under the sway of death,
            all
    have death as their end.

For those overcome by death,
    gone to the other world,
    father cannot shelter son,
    nor relatives a relative.
See: even while relatives are looking on,
        wailing heavily,
mortals are
one
by
        one
led away
        like cows to the slaughter.

In this way is the world afflicted
    with aging and death,
and so the enlightened don't grieve,
    knowing the way of the world.

"You don't know the path
of his coming or going:
seeing neither end,
you lament in vain."

If, by lamenting,   
    -- confused,
    harming yourself --
any use could be gained
the prudent would do it as well.
But not by weeping and grief
do you gain peace of awareness.
        Pain
arises all the more. Your body
        is harmed.
You grow thin,
    pale,
        harming yourself
        by yourself.
Not in that way
are the dead protected.
Lamentation's in vain.

Not abandoning grief, a person
suffers all the more pain.
Bewailing one whose time is done,
you fall under the sway of grief.

Look at others
going along,
    people arriving
in line with their actions:
    falling under the sway of death,
    beings simply
    shivering here.

    For however they imagine it,
    it always turns out
    other than that.
That's the type of (their) separation.
        See the way of the world.

Even if a person lives a century   
        -- or more --
he's parted
from his community of relatives,
he abandons his life
right here.

So, having heard the arahant,
subduing lamentation,
seeing the dead one whose time is done,
    [think,] "I can't fetch him back."[1]
Just as one would put out
    a burning refuge
    with water,
so does the enlightened one --
    discerning,
    skillful,
    and wise --
blow away any arisen grief,
like the wind, a bit of cotton fluff.

Seeking your own happiness,
you should pull out your own arrow:
    your own        lamentation,
            longing,
            and sorrow.[2]
With arrow pulled out,
        independent,
attaining peace of awareness,
all grief transcended,
    griefless you are
        unbound.

 


[1] These lines can also be translated as follows:

So, having heard the arahant,
subdue lamentation,
seeing the dead one whose time is done,
    [and thinking,] "I can't fetch him back."

[2] These lines can also be translated as follows:

Just as one would put out
    a burning refuge
    with water,
so does the enlightened one --
    discerning,
    skillful,
    and wise --
blow away any arisen grief,
his own lamentation, longing, and sorrow,
like the wind, a bit of cotton fluff.

Seeking your own happiness,
you should pull out your own arrow.

 


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