Aṅguttara Nikāya

The Book of the Threes

51. Two Brahmins (1)

Then two brahmins who were old, aged, burdened with years, advanced in life, come to the last stage, a hundred and twenty years of age, approached the Blessed One and exchanged greetings with him. When they had concluded their greetings and cordial talk, they sat down to one side and said to the Blessed One:

“We are brahmins, Master Gotama, old, aged … a hundred and twenty years of age. But we have not done anything good and wholesome, nor have we made a shelter for ourselves. Let Master Gotama exhort us and instruct us in a way that will lead to our welfare and happiness for a long time!”

“Truly, brahmins, you are old, aged, burdened with years, advanced in life, come to the last stage, a hundred and twenty years of age, but you have not done anything good and wholesome, nor have you made a shelter for yourselves. Indeed, this world is swept away by old age, illness, and death. But though the world is swept away by old age, illness, and death, when one has departed, bodily, verbal, and mental self-control will provide a shelter, a harbor, an island, a refuge, and a support.”

Life is swept along, short is the life span,
no shelters exist for one who has grown old.
Seeing clearly this peril in death,
one should do deeds of merit that bring happiness.

When one departs this life,
self-control over body, speech, and mind,
and the deeds of merit one did while living,
lead to one’s happiness.