11. Old Age

What is this laughter, what is this delight, forever burning (with desires) as you are? Enveloped in darkness as you are, will you not look for a lamp? 146

Look at the decorated puppet, a mass of wounds and of composite parts, full of disease and always in need of attention. It has no enduring stability. 147

This body is worn out with age, a nest of diseases and falling apart. The mass of corruption disintegrates, and death is the end of life. 148

When these grey bones are cast aside like gourds in autumn, what pleasure will there be in looking at them? 149

It is a city built of bones, and daubed with flesh and blood, in which old age and death, pride and hypocrisy are the inhabitants. 150

Even kings' splendid carriages wear out, and the body is certain bound to grow old, but the Truth found by the saints is not subject to aging. That is what the saints themselves proclaim. 151

An ignorant man ages like an ox. His flesh may increase, but not his understanding. 152

I have passed in ignorance through a cycle of many rebirths, seeking the builder of the house. Continuous rebirth is a painful thing. But now, housebuilder, I have found you out. You will not build me a house again. All your rafters are broken, your ridge-pole shattered. My mind is free from active thought, and has made an end of craving. 153, 154

Those who have not lived the holy life, and have not acquired wealth in their youth, grow old like withered cranes beside a fishless pool. 155

Those who have not lived the holy life, and have not acquired wealth in their youth, lie like spent arrows, grieving for times past. 156