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Sutta Nipata IV.6

Jara Sutta

Old Age


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

Grief, lamentation, & 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A monk, living         withdrawn,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.

Everywhere
    the sage
        independent
holds nothing dear or undear.

    In him
lamentation & 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]


Notes

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

2. Nd.I: An arahant has put passion totally away once and for all, and so has no need to do it ever again. [Go back]

Source: ATI - For Free Distribution Only, as a Gift of Dhamma.

Dhamma Essay:
Refuge in the Buddha by Bhikkhu Bodhi


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