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Theragatha

Theragāthā 16.4
The Verses of Arahant Raṭṭhapāla (769-793)

769. See the true nature of this body which is created by putting together tendons and bones, even though it seems to be like a beautiful painted puppet. Foolish people delight in and appreciate this body. This body is subject to diseases and doesn’t have any permanent stability.

770. One should see the true nature of this body even though it is decorated with jewels and ornaments. This skeleton wrapped up in skin is made attractive by its clothes.

771. The feet are painted with colours and the mouth produces fragrances having chewed mint. These things are enough to trick a fool but do nothing for one who seeks Nibbāna.

772. The hair is braided stylishly, and the eyes are painted with makeup. These things are enough to trick a fool but do nothing for one who seeks Nibbāna.

773. This filthy body is kept as a nicely decorated pot. This is enough to trick a fool but does nothing for one who seeks Nibbāna.

774. The deer hunter set out the traps, but the deer did not get caught by the trap. While the deer trapper was lamenting, having eaten the bait, we left quickly.

775. The hunter’s trap was smashed, but the deer didn’t get caught. While the deer trapper was crying, having eaten the bait, we left quickly.

776. I have seen the wealthy people in this world. When they obtain wealth, they become deluded. They don’t give it away to anybody. Having gathered wealth greedily, they desire more and more sensual pleasures.

777. A king who has conquered all the land on this shore and rules over the ocean-bound world is still unsatisfied. He hungers to rule over a country even beyond the ocean.

778. That king and many other people die with craving. They give up their life unsatisfied. There is no satisfaction in this world from sensual pleasures.

779. When someone dies their relatives, with messy hair, mourn over them. They say, “Oh, may our relative become immortal!” Then they carry the dead body out, wrap it in a cloth, place it on a pile of wood and burn it.

780. Leaving his entire wealth, wrapped in a single cloth and poked by spears, he burns. When he dies, neither his relatives nor his friends can protect him.

781. Heirs take his wealth. He went on his journey after death according to his actions but his wealth does not follow him, nor does his wife, children or country.

782. One does not obtain long life by wealth, nor does one escape from old age by riches. That is why wise sages say that this life is short, non-eternal and subject to change.

783. The rich and the poor both feel the contact of senses through objects. The wise and the fool both feel the contact of senses through objects. But the fool, due to his lack of wisdom, suffers by that contact and sleeps uncomfortably. The wise sage is not shaken by any contact.

784. Therefore it is very clear that wisdom is better than wealth. It is through this very wisdom one can end suffering. But the beings who have clung to this existence commit evil deeds due to their delusion.

785. After death they again fall into saṁsāra, suffering. They come again into a womb. Those who approve of others’ misdeeds also fall into the same tragedy.

786. A thief who is caught suffers because of his own evil deed. In the same way, beings suffer in the next world because of their own evil deeds.

787. Dear king, it is true that these sensual pleasures are sweet, delightful and attractive. But they disturb the mind by their various forms. Having understood this danger of sensual pleasures, I became a monk.

788. Just as the fruits on a tree will fall, so everyone, young or old, will die. Dear king, having seen this suffering, I became a monk. Certainly this monk life is better.

789. I became a monk out of faith. I entered the path of the Buddha with confidence. My monk life is not without result. I eat my alms free from debt.

790. I understood sensual pleasures to be like a huge blazing fire. I understood all valuables such as gold and silver to be like weapons. I understood suffering from entry into the womb and the great fearfulness of hells.

791. I realized this danger. I was completely shocked. Previously, I was beaten by the arrows of defilements. But now, having eradicated all defilements, I have become an enlightened one.

792. The Great Teacher’s instruction has been respectfully followed by me. The Buddha’s path has been fully followed by me. I lowered the heavy load of defilements. I rooted out the fetter of existence.

793. I became a monk with the wish to achieve one goal. That, I have achieved. I have cut all fetters. I attained enlightenment.

These verses were said by Arahant Raṭṭhapāla.

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Theragāthā 16.4: The Verses of Arahant Raṭṭhapāla (769-793)

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