2.1.13 Make the Best Use of this Short Life*

Long ago, oh Bhikkhus, there lived a teacher by the name of Araka, a founder of a sect who was freed of all craving after sensual pleasures. This teacher Araka, oh Bhikkhus, had many hundreds of disciples. And this teacher Araka taught the Dhamma to his disciples in the following way:

“Short, oh Brāhmins, is this human life, it is of no significance, trifling, full of suffering and troublesome. You should get enlightened by mantras, you should perform wholesome actions, you should lead the holy life, for those born beings there is no escaping death!

Just as, oh Brāhmins, a drop of dew on the top of a blade of grass dries up immediately when the sun rises and does not last long, in the same way like in this simile of the drop of dew, oh Brāhmins, is this human life short, is it of no significance, trifling, full of suffering and troublesome. You should get enlightened by mantras, you should perform wholesome actions, you should lead the holy life, for those born beings there is no escaping death!” ……

……At that period of time, oh Bhikkhus, the lifespan of a human being was sixty thousand years and girls were marriageable at the age of five hundred. And during that period of time, oh Bhikkhus, mankind had but to witness six kinds of diseases: cold, heat, hunger, thirst, urine and faeces. In spite of such a long duration of the lifespan, such longevity and such few diseases this teacher Araka taught the Dhamma to his disciples in the following way:

“Short, oh Brāhmins, is this human life, it is of no significance, trifling, full of suffering and troublesome. You should get enlightened by mantras, you should perform wholesome actions, you should lead the holy life, for those born beings there is no escaping death!”

Today, oh Bhikkhus, a man would really speak truthfully, if he was to say:

“Short, oh Brāhmins, is this human life, it is of no significance, trifling, full of suffering and troublesome. You should get enlightened by mantras, you should perform wholesome actions, you should lead the holy life, for those born beings there is no escaping death!” Because one who lives today, lives the period of one hundred years or just a bit more.

During this life of a hundres years, oh Bhikkhus, he passes through three hundred seasons: hundred seasons of winter, hundred seasons of summer and hundred seasons of rain…….

…… Oh Bhikkhus, whatever a teacher for his disciples could do, for their benefit, out of compassion, that has been done by me for you.

Bhikkhus, there are the roots of the trees, there are these empty spaces. Meditate, oh Bhikkhus, don’t be negligent so there is no cause for you to regret later on. This, oh Bhikkhus, is my advice for you!”

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*Arakasuttaṃ: araka + suttaṃ

Last modified: Monday, 14 December 2015, 8:31 AM