Early Tibetan

The world is burning:

Why is there laughter, why  the sounds of joy?

Seek enlightenment, O fool,

For the darkness surrounds you.


Look at it–this painted shadow,

this body, crumbling, diseased, wounded,

held together by thoughts that come and go.


This body decays:

it is frail, diseases nest in it,

corrupt, it breaks into pieces,

it lives only to die.


And its bones are casts away

like seeds of watermelon in autumn,

Let him who will rejoice in this, rejoice.


Around these bones is built the fort,

mortars with flesh and plastered with blood.

Living in it are old age, death, pride, and deceit.


Like the glittering royal chariots slowly rusting,

the body moves into  old age.

“Only virtue is stainless,” is the only wisdom.


A man who learns little grows old like an ox:

his body grows but mind remains stagnant.


How many births have I known

without knowing the builder of this body!

How many births have I looked for him.

It is painful to be born again and again.


But now I have seen you, O builder of this body!

All desire is extinct, Nirvana is attained!

The rafters have crumbled, the ridge pole is smashed!

You will not build them again.


They pine away, the young men without discipline or struggle,

like old cranes starving in a lake without fish.


They lie like rejected bows, dreaming of the past,

these young men without discipline or struggle in their youth.

Hibiscus Buddha


post script: words of the Buddha as taken from the Dhammapada, Translated from the Pali by P. Lal

secondary post script: I am a student of Buddhism of the “Pali” tradition.

                                           This translation is presented for your viewing.


10 thoughts on “OLD AGE

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