Saturday, March 4, 2017

Old Age

How can you laugh and enjoy while everything burns
with suffering, impermanence, and insubstantiality?
Enshrouded in darkness,
should you not seek a lamp?

Look at your beautiful body – a painted mind-puppet!
A mass of sores held up by bones.
Wretched, full of cravings,
insubstantial, impermanent.

The body wears out.
It is fragile, a nesting place for disease.
Soon it will putrefy and dissolve.
Life ends in death.

And when the ash-grey bones of your body
lie scattered on the ground
like gourds discarded in autumn,
who will then take pleasure gazing upon it?

Your body is a city of bones
plastered with flesh and blood.
And in this city dwells pride, pretense, old age,
death, and decay.

Even the finest royal chariots must wear out,
just as the body must decay.
But awareness of Dhamma does not perish.
Those who are Aware, instruct noble listeners.

The uninstructed man grows old like an ox.
His bulk increases but his insight does not.

For how many lives have I searched in vain
for the builder of this house?
To be born again and again is misery.

Builder of this house – you are seen!
You shall not build this house again!
The rafters are broken, the ridgepole is destroyed.
The mind is empty of illusion.
Desire is extinguished.

Those who do not seek Truth while young,
who do not gain the true treasure of life,
later ruminate with regret
like old herons on a pond with no fish.

Those who do not seek Truth while young,
who do not gain the true treasure of life,
lie like spent arrows that missed the mark,
brooding over what went wrong.