Aṅguttara Nikāya

The Book of the Threes

52. Two Brahmins (2)

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 said to him:

“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 burning with old age, illness, and death. But though the world is burning with 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.”

When one’s house is ablaze
the vessel taken out
is the one that will be useful to you,
not the one that is burnt inside.

So since the world is ablaze
with old age and death,
one should take out by giving:
what is given is well taken out.
When one departs this life,
self-control over body, speech, and mind,
and the deeds of merit one did while alive,
lead to one’s happiness.