Theragāthā

Verses of the Senior Monks

Chapter of the Tens

10.3. Mahā­kap­pina

If you’re prepared for the future,
Both the good and the bad,
Then those who look for your weakness,
Whether enemies or well-wishers, will find none.

One who has fulfilled, developed,
And gradually consolidated
Mindfulness of breathing
As taught by the Buddha:
They light up the world,
Like the moon freed from a cloud.

Yes, my mind is clean,
Measureless, and well-developed;
It is broken through and uplifted—
It radiates in every direction.

The wise person lives on
Even after loss of wealth;
But without gaining wisdom
Even a rich person doesn’t really live.

Understanding questions what is learned;
Understanding grows fame and reputation;
A person who has understanding
Finds happiness even among sufferings.

It’s not something just for today;
It isn’t incredible or astonishing.
When you’re born, you die—
What’s astonishing about that?

For anyone who is born,
Death always follows after living.
Everyone who is born here dies here;
Such is the nature of living beings.

The things that are useful for the living
Are of no use for the dead—
Not fame, not celebrity,
Not praise by ascetics and brahmins;
For the dead, there is only weeping.

And weeping impairs the eye and the body;
Complexion, health, and intelligence decline.
Your enemies rejoice;
But your well-wishers are not happy.

So you should wish that those who stay in your family
Have understanding and learning,
And do their duty through the power of understanding,
Just as you’d cross a full river by boat.