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Saŋyutta Nikāya,
V: MahāVagga
48. Indriya Saŋyutta
V. Jarā-vagga

Kindred Sayings
48. Kindred Sayings on the Faculties
V. Old Age

Sutta 41

Jarā Suttaɱ

Old Age

Translated by F. L. Woodward
Edited by Mrs. Rhys Davids

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[1][than] THUS have I heard:

On a certain occasion the Exalted One was staying near Sāvatthī
in East Park,
at the terraced house of Migara's mother.[1]

Now on that occasion the Exalted One,
having arisen from his solitude at eventide,
was seated warming his back
in the westering sunshine.[2]

Then the venerable ṭnanda came to see the Exalted One,
and on coming to him
saluted him
and, while chafing his limbs[3] with his hand,
said to the Exalted One:

"It is a strange thing, lord!

It is a wonder, lord,
how the skin of the Exalted One
is no longer clear and translucent,
and how all his limbs are slack[4]
and [192] wrinkled,[5]
his body bent forward,
and a change is to be seen
in his sense-faculties of eye,
and body!"[6]

"So it is, Ānanda.

Old age is by nature inherent in youth,
sickness in health,
and death in life.

Thus it is
that my skin is no longer clear and translucent as of yore;
my limbs are slack and wrinkled,
my body stoops forward
and a change is to be noticed
in my sense-faculties of eye,
and body."

Thus spake the Exalted One.

Having so said, the Happy One as Teacher added this:

Shame on thee,[7] miserable age!
Age that maketh colour fade!
The pleasing image[8] of a man By age is trampled down.
Tho' one should live a hundred years,
Natheless he is consigned to death.
Death passeth nothing by,
But trampleth everything.


[1] S. i, 77, iii, 100.

[2] Comy. discusses the question as to how the sunshine can pierce through the Buddha-teja or aura, and concludes that it cannot do so. 'Then what is warmed? The radiance itself is warmed. Just as when one sits under a spreading tree, the sunshine does not touch the body, but the radiance of it spreads all round, and it is like being surrounded by a flame of fire. So we are to understand thus: The Master was sitting warming his aura (?).

[3] Comy. reads 'back.'

[4] Sithilāni. Comy. 'The flesh, coming away from the bone, attains ooseness and hangs here and there.'

[5] Text baliya-jātāni, but Sinh MSS. and Comy. vali-jātāni, which I follow.

[6] Comy. 'The sense-faculties are invisible, but as these defects are to be seen it must be owing to decay of the faculties. He speaks inferentially.'

[7] Dhī taŋ for dhītaŋ of text (Cf. Sn. v, 440, dhi-r-atthu jīvitaŋ). Comy. reads dhikkaŋ (text v.l. dhittaŋ) jammī jaro (which is interpreted as dhikkaŋ tuyhaŋ hotu, vikāyo taŋ phusatu [?]).

[8] Bimba (text, vimba) = attabhāva. Comy. Cf. Dhp. 147: Passa cittakataŋ bimbaŋ.

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