Two People

Pāli Canon

Pāli Canon

On one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Then two brahmans—feeble old men, aged, advanced in years, having come to the last stage of life, 120 years old—went to the Blessed One. On arrival, they exchanged courteous greetings with him and, after an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, sat to one side.

As they were sitting there, they said to him: “Master Gotama, we are brahmans—feeble old men, aged, advanced in years, having come to the last stage of life, 120 years old. And we have done no admirable deeds, no skillful deeds, no deeds that allay our fears. Teach us, Master Gotama. Instruct us, Master Gotama, for our long-term benefit & happiness.”

“Indeed, brahmans, you are feeble old men, aged, advanced in years, having come to the last stage of life, 120 years old. And you have done no admirable deeds, no skillful deeds, no deeds that allay your fears. This world is swept away by aging, by illness, by death. With the world thus swept away by aging, illness, & death, any restraint of body, speech, & intellect practiced here will be one’s shelter, cave, island, & refuge after death in the world beyond.”

It’s swept along:
life, its next-to-nothing span.
For one swept on by aging
no shelters exist.
Keeping sight of this danger in death,
do merit-deeds
that bring bliss.

When you’re restrained here
in body, speech, & awareness;
when you make merit while still alive:
That will be for your bliss after death.

This reflection is from the Pāli Canon, Two People (1), Dvejana Sutta (AN 3:52) and was translated into English by Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu.

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