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Saṁyutta Nikāya — The Connected Discourses

Connected Discourses with the Kosalan

SN3:3 Aging and Death

1At Sāvatthī. Sitting to one side, King Pasenadi of Kosala said to the Blessed One: "Venerable sir, for one who has taken birth, is there anything other to expect than aging and death?"[n.205] Atthi nu kho bhante jatassa aññatra jaramaraṇa. Spk: He asks, "Is there anyone who is free from aging and death?"

"For one who has taken birth, great king, there is nothing other to expect than aging and death. Even in the case of those affluent khattiyas—rich, with great wealth and property, with abundant gold and silver, abundant treasures and commodities, abundant wealth and grain—because they have taken birth, there is nothing other to expect than aging and death. Even in the case of those affluent brahmins … affluent householders—rich … with abundant wealth and grain—because they have taken birth, there is nothing other to expect than aging and death. Even in the case of those bhikkhus who are arahants, whose taints are destroyed, who have lived the holy life, done what had to be done, laid down the burden, reached their own goal, utterly destroyed the fetters of existence, and are completely liberated through final knowledge: even for them this body is subject to breaking up, subject to being laid down.[n.206] When speaking of the arahant, the Buddha does not describe his destiny as viewed from the outside, i.e., as aging and death, but in terms of the arahant's own experience, as a mere breaking up and discarding of the body.

2v.384 "The beautiful chariots of kings wear out,
This body too undergoes decay.
But the Dhamma of the good does not decay:
So the good proclaim along with the good."[n.207] Santo have sabbhi pavedayanti. Spk offers three interpretations, of which only the first, which I follow, sounds plausible: "The good, together with the good, declare: ‘The Dhamma of the good does not decay.’ The Dhamma of the good is Nibbāna; since that does not decay they call it unaging, deathless." The verse = Dhp 151, on which Dhp-a III 123,2–5 comments: "The ninefold Dhamma of the good—of the Buddhas, etc.—does not decay, does not undergo destruction. So the good—the Buddhas, etc.—proclaim this, declare it, along with the good, with the wise." The ninefold supramundane Dhamma is the four paths, their fruits, and Nibbāna. Brough argues that sabbhi here must be understood to bear the sense of a dative, and he takes the point to be that "the doctrine does not wear out ‘because good men teach it to other good men,’ their disciples and successors" (p. 228, n. 160). I do not find his interpretation convincing, for the Dhamma-as-teaching must certainly decay, and only the supramundane Dhamma remains immune to aging and death.

1Sāvatthinidānaṁ. Ekamantaṁ nisinno kho rājā pasenadi kosalo bhagavantaṁ etadavoca: "atthi nu kho, bhante, jātassa aññatra jarāmaraṇā"ti?

"Natthi kho, mahārāja, jātassa aññatra jarāmaraṇā. Yepi te, mahārāja, khattiyamahāsālā aḍḍhā mahaddhanā mahābhogā pahūtajātarūparajatā pahūtavittūpakaraṇā pahūtadhanadhaññā, tesampi jātānaṁ natthi aññatra jarāmaraṇā. Yepi te, mahārāja, brāhmaṇamahāsālā … pe … gahapatimahāsālā aḍḍhā mahaddhanā mahābhogā pahūtajātarūparajatā pahūtavittūpakaraṇā pahūtadhanadhaññā, tesampi jātānaṁ natthi aññatra jarāmaraṇā. Yepi te, mahārāja, bhikkhū arahanto khīṇāsavā vusitavanto katakaraṇīyā ohitabhārā anuppattasadatthā parikkhīṇabhavasaṁyojanā sammadaññāvimuttā, tesampāyaṁ kāyo bhedanadhammo nikkhepanadhammo"ti. Idamavoca … pe …

2"Jīranti ve rājarathā sucittā,
Atho sarīrampi jaraṁ upeti;
Satañca dhammo na jaraṁ upeti,
Santo have sabbhi pavedayantī"ti.