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Ink scroll by Nagasawa ROSETSU (Japan, 1754-1799)
Ink scroll by Nagasawa ROSETSU (Japan, 1754-1799)

The world is assailed by death
And smothered by old age;
Pierced with the arrow of craving
And always obscured by desires.

The world is assailed by death
And besieged by old age;
Eternally beaten, with no relief,
Like a thief beneath the rod.

Old age, illness and death approach
Like three great masses of fire.
No strength can resist them.
No speed can out-run them.

Spend your days without confusion,
Whether few or many remain.
For every night that slips away,
There is that much less of life left.

Whether walking or standing,
Sitting of lying down,
Your final night is drawing near.
You have no time to be lazy.
 
 
 
From Sirimanda Thera, Theragatha VI.13, vv. 448-452, trans. Andrew Olendzki