Old Age

Why is there laughter, why is there joy
while this world is always burning?
Why do you not seek a light,
you who are shrouded in darkness?

Consider this dressed-up lump covered with wounds,
joined with limbs, diseased, and full of many schemes
which are neither permanent nor stable.
This body is wearing out, a nest of diseases and frail;
this heap of corruption falls apart; life ends in death.

What pleasure is there
for one who sees these white bones
like gourds thrown away in the autumn?
A fortress is made out of the bones,
plastered over with flesh and blood,
and in it lives old age and death, pride and deceit.

The glorious chariots of the kings wear out;
the body also comes to old age;
but the virtue of good people never ages;
thus the good teach each other.

People who have learned little grow old like an ox;
their flesh grows, but their knowledge does not grow.

I have run through a course of many births
looking for the maker of this dwelling and did not find it;
painful is birth again and again.
Now you are seen, the builder of the house;
you will not build the house again.
All your rafters are broken; your ridgepole is destroyed;
your mind, set on the attainment of nirvana,
has attained the extinction of desires.

People who have not practiced proper discipline
who have not acquired wealth in their youth,
pine away like old cranes in a lake without fish.
People who have not practiced proper discipline,
who have not acquired wealth in their youth,
lie like broken bows, sighing after the past.