Embracing Nirvana

Jara Sutta: On Decay (Sn 4.6)

Translated from the Pali by John D. Ireland. Copyright © 2013

"Short indeed is this life, this side of a hundred years one dies; whoever lives long even he dies from old age. People grieve for things they are attached to, yet there exist no permanent possessions but just a state of (constant) separation. Seeing this one should no longer live the household life. That which a man imagines to be his will disappear at death. Knowing this a wise man will have no attachment (to anything)."

As a man awakened from sleep no longer sees what happened in his dream, similarly one does not see a loved one who is dead. Those people who were seen and heard and called by their names as such and such, only their names remain when they have passed away. Those greedy for objects of attachment do not abandon sorrow, grief and avarice, but sages having got rid of possessions, live perceiving security. For a bhikkhu with a detached mind, living in a secluded dwelling, it is right, they say, that he no longer shows himself in the abodes (of existence).[1]

"A sage who is completely independent does not make close friends or enemies. In him sorrow and selfishness do not stay, like water on a lotus leaf. As a lotus is not wetted by water, so a sage is not affected by what is seen or heard, nor by what is perceived by the other senses. A wise man is not deluded by what is perceived by the senses. He does not expect purity by any other way.[2] He is neither pleased nor is he repelled (by the six sense-objects)."


1. There is a play on words here: "bhavana," besides meaning "an abode of existence" also means "a house." So as well as saying, he is not reborn into any realm of existence, the passage also indicates he lives secluded and does not associate with people in the village.

2. By any way other than the Noble Eightfold Path (Comy).

This article used with permission from The Buddhist Publication Society. The original content can be found here... Jara Sutta: On Decay

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