Khuddaka Nikaya

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Sutta Nipāta
Sutta 6. Jara Sutta

[pali] [faus]

Old Age

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

For free distribution only.



How short this life!
You die this side of a century,
but even if you live past,
    you die of old age.

People grieve
for what they see as mine,
for     nothing possessed is constant,
    nothing is constantly possessed.[1]
Seeing this separation
    simply as it is,
one shouldn't follow the household life.

At death a person abandons
what he construes as mine.
Realizing this, the wise
shouldn't incline
to be devoted to mine.

Just as a man doesn't see,
    on awakening,
what he met in a dream,
even so he doesn't see,
when they are dead
    -- their time done --
those he held dear.

When they are seen and heard,
people are called by this name or that,
but only the name remains
to be pointed to
    when they are dead.

Grief, lamentation, and selfishness
    are not let go
    by those greedy for mine,
so sages
    letting go of possessions,
    seeing the Secure,
        go wandering forth.

A monk, living         withdrawn,
enjoying a dwelling     secluded:
    they say it's congenial for him
    he who wouldn't, in any realm,
        display self.

    the sage
holds nothing dear or undear.

    In him
lamentation and selfishness,
like water on a white lotus,
    do not adhere.

As a water bead on a lotus leaf,
as water on a red lily,
    does not adhere,

    so the sage
    does not adhere
to the seen, the heard, or the sensed;

    for, cleansed,
    he doesn't construe
    in connection
with the seen, the heard, or the sensed.

    In no other way
does he wish for purity,
for he neither takes on passion
    nor puts it away.[2]


[1] "Nothing possessed is constant, nothing is constantly possessed" -- two readings of the phrase, na hi santi nicca pariggaha.

[2] Nd.I: An arahant has put passion totally away once and for all, and so has no need to do it ever again. An alternative explanation is that, as Sn V.6 points out, the arahant has gone beyond all dhammas, dispassion included.


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