Dhp XI : Aging

What laughter, why joy,

when constantly aflame?

Enveloped in darkness,

don’t you look for a lamp?


Look at the beautified image,

a heap of festering wounds, shored up:

ill, but the object

of many resolves,

where there is nothing

lasting or sure.


Worn out is this body,

a nest of diseases, dissolving.

This putrid conglomeration

is bound to break up,

for life is hemmed in with death.


On seeing these bones


like gourds in the fall,


what delight?


A city made of bones,

plastered over with flesh & blood,

whose hidden treasures are:

pride & contempt,

aging & death.


Even royal chariots


get run down,

and so does the body

succumb to old age.

But the Dhamma of the good

doesn’t succumb to old age:

the good let the civilized know.


This unlistening man

matures like an ox.

His muscles develop,

his discernment      not.


Through the round of many births I roamed

without reward,

without rest,

seeking the house-builder.

Painful is birth again

& again.

House-builder, you’re seen!

You will not build a house again.

All your rafters broken,

the ridge pole dismantled,

immersed in dismantling, the mind

has attained to the end of craving.


Neither living the chaste life

nor gaining wealth in their youth,

they waste away like old herons

in a dried-up lake

depleted of fish.

Neither living the chaste life

nor gaining wealth in their youth,

they lie around,

misfired from the bow,

sighing over old times.