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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dhammapada - Chapter 11 - Ageing

First of all I would like to express my apologies for not updating my blog for a long time. Now we will continue our journey through Dhammapada.

Life's most traumatic experiences are OLD AGE, DISEASE and DEATH. These are the very experiences which awakened the Buddha and lead him to enlightenment. This chapter talks about the first of these - Ageing.
The verses explain the impermanence of this body. It gets diseased, loses its strength, and death puts an end to it. One has passion towards the body but after death this body is thrown away and one can see bones and skull strewn around. Seeing this nobody feels the lust. The human body decays but the experience of truth of never decays. The calm one experiences this truth. Buddha concludes this Chapter withe verse saying that most people spend their life squandering the precious days with no thought about the inevitable old age that will overtake them. Youth is allowed to slip by without having garnered either material or spiritual wealth. The Buddha's admonition to mankind in this passage, is that they must, in time, become mindful of the passage of time and the speedy fading of the glamor of youth.

There are 11 verses in this chapter.

Verse 146:
What laughter, why joy,
when constantly aflame?
Enveloped in darkness,
don't you look for lamp?

Verse 147:
Look at the beautiful image,
a heap of festering wounds, shored up:
ill,  but the object of many resolves,
where there is nothing lasting or sure.

Verse 148:
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.

Verse 149:
On seeing these bones discarded
like gourds in the fall,
pigeon gray: what delight?

Verse 150:
A city made of bones,
plastered over with flesh and blood,
whose hidden treasures are:
pride and contempt,
ageing and death.

Verse 151:
Even royal chariots
well embellished
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.

Verse 152:
This unlistening man
matures like an ox.
His muscles develop,
his discernment not.

Verse 153-154:
Through the round of many births I roamed
without reward, without rest,
seeking the house builder.
Painful is birth again and again.
House builder you are seen!
You will not build a house again.
All your rafters broken,
the ridge pole destroyed,
gone to the Unformed, the mind
has come to the end of craving.

Verse 155-156:
Neither living the chaste life
nor gaining wealth in their youth,
they away like herons
in a dried-up lake
depleted of fish.

Neither living the chaste life
nor gaining wealth in their youth,
they he around,
misfired the bow,
sighing over old times.

The Dhammapada: A New Translation of the Buddhist Classic with AnnotationsBuddhism Books)
The Dhammapada (Classics of Indian Spirituality)Buddhism Sacred Writings Books)
Dhammapada, a collection of verses; being one of the canonical books of the Buddhists
The DhammapadaZen Books)
Dhammapada, a collection of verses; being one of the canonical books of the Buddhists
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