Sutta Nipāta

Salla Sutta

3.8. Dart of Death

Here’s the life of mortals,
wretched and brief,
its end unknown,
to dukkha joined.

There’s no means that those
who’re born will never die.
Reached decay, then death:
the law for beings all.

As with what’s ripe
there’s always fear of falling,
so for mortals born
there’s always fear of death.

Just as a potter’s vessels
made of clay all end
by being broken, so
death’s the end of life.

The young, those great in age,
the fools, as well the wise
all go under the sway
of death, for death’s their goal.

Those overcome by death,
to another world bound:
father can’t protect his son,
nor relatives their kin.

While relatives are watching,
they weep and they lament;
See mortals one by one,
led as an ox to slaughter.

As the world’s afflicted
by death and by decay,
so the wise grieve not,
knowing world’s nature well.

Their path you do not know
whereby they come, they go,
neither end you see,
useless your lament.

While lamenting,
The confused harm themselves;
If any benefit could be found,
Would not the wise do it to?

Not by weeping and wailing,
Can peace of mind be reached.
It just creates more suffering,
And distresses the body.

You become thin and discolored,
Harming yourself with your self;
And the departed are not protected by this,
Lamentation is pointless!

When grief is not abandoned,
A person falls into even more suffering;
Wailing over the dead,
They are overpowered by grief.

See how others fare,
People passing on according to their deeds;
Creatures tremble,
As they fall under the sway of Death.

Whatever you think it is,
It becomes something else.
Such is separation,
See the way of the world.

Even if a person were to live
A hundred years or more,
They would still be divided from their family,
Abandoning this life.

That is why having heard the arahant,
And dispelled lamentation;
When you see the dead and departed,
You don’t think you can get them back.

Just as one would extinguish
A burning building with water;
So too a steadfast, wise one, a skilful, clever person,
Would quickly blow away
Grief when it arises,
As wind, a tuft of cotton.

One who is seeking happiness
should draw out the painful dart—
lamentations and longings—
the grief that is within.

Dart withdrawn and unattached,
the mind attains to peace,
passed beyond all grief,
griefless, fires put out.