On Decrepitude
Jarā Sutta


Short indeed is this life.
You die within a hundred years.
Indeed, if you live beyond that
You surely die of decrepitude.

Appaṃ vata jīvitaṃ idaṃ oraṃ vassasatāpi miyyati
Yo cepi aticca jīvati atha kho so jarasāpi miyyati


People grieve for their beloved possessions;
But nothing is possessed forever.
Having seen that separation does indeed happen,
One should not lead the household life.

Socanti janā mamāyite na hi santi niccā pariggahā
Vinābhāvasantamevidaṃ iti disvā nāgāramāvase


At death,
That which a person supposes to be 'mine' is abandoned.
Realising this, my wise disciples should not be inclined to possessiveness.

Maraṇenapi taṃ pahīyati yaṃ puriso mamidanti maññati
Etampi viditvā paṇḍito na mamattāya nametha māmako


On awakening,
A man does not see what he met in a dream.
Likewise, one does not see loved ones who have passed away.

Supinena yathāpi saṅgataṃ paṭibuddho puriso na passati
Evampi piyāyitaṃ janaṃ petaṃ kālakataṃ na passati


When they were alive,
People called by this name or that were both seen and heard.
But when dead, only their names live on to be uttered.

Diṭṭhāpi sutāpi te janā yesaṃ nāmamidaṃ pavuccati
Nāmaṃyevāvasissati akkheyyaṃ petassa jantuno


Those greedy for beloved possessions do not detach
From grief, lamentation
And selfishness.

Looking for safety,
Sages abandon possessions and lead the homeless life.

Sokapparidevamaccharaṃ na jahanti giddhā mamāyite
Tasmā munayo pariggahaṃ hitvā acariṃsu khemadassino


For a monk living withdrawn,
Resorting to a secluded dwelling,
They say that it is fitting
For him to not exhibit himself in the world.

Patilīnacarassa bhikkhuno bhajamānassa vivittamāsanaṃ
Sāmaggiyamāhu tassa taṃ yo attānaṃ bhavane na dassaye


The sage
Is not tethered in any way.
He does not regard anything as either loved or hated.
Lamentation and selfishness do not stain him,
Just as water does not stain a lotus leaf.

Sabbattha munī anissito na piyaṃ kubbati nopi appiyaṃ
Tasmiṃ paridevamaccharaṃ paṇṇe vāri yathā na limpati


A lotus leaf or a red lily
Is not stained by a waterdrop.
The sage, likewise, is not stained
By lamentation and greed for what is seen, heard or cognised.

Udabindu yathāpi pokkhare padume vāri yathā na limpati
Evaṃ muni nopalimpati yadidaṃ diṭṭhasutaṃ mutesu vā


He does not suppose
That he is intrinsically purified by what is seen, heard or cognised.
Nor does he wish to be thus purified by some auxiliary basis of attachment
By nothing is he either attracted nor repelled.

Dhono na hi tena maññati yadidaṃ diṭṭhasutaṃ mutesu vā
Nāññena visuddhimicchati na hi so rajjati no virajjatīti

Notes on Translation:

  • Verse 810) fitting: Critical Pali Dictionary calls asāmaggiya ‘want of concord, disharmony’. Sāmaggiya would thus be ‘harmonious’ or ‘fitting’. Norman has ‘agreeable’.
  • Verse 812) nopalimpati: from the reference in the previous verse, I have taken as “stained by lamentation and greed”.
  • Verse 813) āññena: auxiliary basis of attachment. Translation discussed in Appendix 7.
  • Verse 813) neither attracted nor repelled: this continues a theme of v.811: “He does not regard anything as either loved or hated.”. For virajjati, Norman has ‘dispassioned’. But in the context of 811 it would mean ‘repelled’.

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