Dhammapada: Jarāvagga
Chapter 11 — Verses 146 to 156

11. Decay


For what the mirth and jubilation
In this endless conflagration?


Blind in the black of the night:
Won’t you endeavour to seek for a light?


Look at this beautified puppet,
Haughty and full of supposing;
Orifice-marked(1), full of sickness;
Unstable, with nothing enduring.


Decayed is your delicate frame,
A nest of disease and affliction.
This odious lump falls apart,
And this life, indeed, comes to extinction.


Your beloved’s grey bones, long-discarded,
Like slender white gourds from the harvest:
You wistfully view them with far-away eyes.
What is the pleasure in them you descry?


Of bones is this citadel made;
With meat and with blood it is swathed;
Senescence and death wait inside –
And vilification and pride.


The state royal coaches decay:
The body to old age approaches.
The virtue of Dhamma does not waste away;
The calmed make this known to the righteous.


The man of small learning matures like an ox:
His body develops, his wisdom does not.


For lifetimes untold
Through samsara I’ve roamed
For the housebuilder seeking
But failing to meet him.

How great is the pain
Ever new births to gain!

But now, builder, you’re met;
No more homes you’ll erect.
For the rafters are fractured,
The ridgepole is shattered.

My mind, in forsaking
Conditioned causation,
Through craving’s destruction,
Has reached liberation.


The old who, in their youth, neither took on the holy-life, nor made any savings, brood like old herons beside a fished-out lake.


The old who, in their youth, neither took on the holy-life, nor made any savings, lie on their backs lamenting the past, like misfired arrows.


Go to the next chapter


1. Verse 147: "orifice-marked" (arukāyaṃ). PED: "a heap of sores", which seems euphemistic.

suttas.net     |     © 2008, Bhante Varado     |     Install the Gentium font