AN 6.19 From… Paṭhamamaraṇassatisutta: Mindfulness of Death (1st)

…“As to the mendicants who develop mindfulness of death by wishing to live for a day and night … or to live for a day … or to live as long as it takes to eat a meal of almsfood … or to live as long as it takes to chew and swallow four or five mouthfuls— these are called mendicants who live negligently. They slackly develop mindfulness of death for the ending of defilements.

But as to the mendicants who develop mindfulness of death by wishing to live as long as it takes to chew and swallow a single mouthful … or to live as long as it takes to breathe out after breathing in, or to breathe in after breathing out— these are called mendicants who live diligently. They keenly develop mindfulness of death for the ending of defilements.

So you should train like this: ‘We will live diligently. We will keenly develop mindfulness of death for the ending of defilements.’ That’s how you should train.”


Read the entire translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 6.19 Paṭhamamaraṇassatisutta: Mindfulness of Death (1st) by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

SN 3.25 Pabbatūpamasutta: The Simile of the Mountain

At Sāvatthī.

King Pasenadi of Kosala sat to one side, and the Buddha said to him, “So, great king, where are you coming from in the middle of the day?”

“Sir, there are anointed aristocratic kings who are infatuated with authority, and obsessed with greed for sensual pleasures. They have attained stability in the country, occupying a vast conquered territory. Today I have been busy fulfilling the duties of such kings.”

“What do you think, great king? Suppose a trustworthy and reliable man were to come from the east. He’d approach you and say: ‘Please sir, you should know this. I come from the east. There I saw a huge mountain that reached the clouds. And it was coming this way, crushing all creatures. So then, great king, do what you must!’

Then a second trustworthy and reliable man were to come from the west … a third from the north … and a fourth from the south. He’d approach you and say: ‘Please sir, you should know this. I come from the south. There I saw a huge mountain that reached the clouds. And it was coming this way, crushing all creatures. So then, great king, do what you must!’

Should such a dire threat arise—a terrible loss of human life, when human birth is so rare—what would you do?”

“Sir, what could I do but practice the teachings, practice morality, doing skillful and good actions?”

“I tell you, great king, I announce to you: old age and death are advancing upon you. Since old age and death are advancing upon you, what would you do?”

“Sir, what can I do but practice the teachings, practice morality, doing skillful and good actions?

Sir, there are anointed aristocratic kings who are infatuated with authority, and obsessed with greed for sensual pleasures. They have attained stability in the country, occupying a vast conquered territory. Such kings engage in battles of elephants, cavalry, chariots, or infantry. But there is no place, no scope for such battles when old age and death are advancing.

In this royal court there are ministers of wise counsel who are capable of dividing an approaching enemy by wise counsel. But there is no place, no scope for such diplomatic battles when old age and death are advancing.

In this royal court there is abundant gold coin and bullion stored in dungeons and towers. Using this wealth we can pay off an approaching enemy. But there is no place, no scope for such monetary battles when old age and death are advancing.

When old age and death are advancing, what can I do but practice the teachings, practice morality, doing skillful and good actions?”

“That’s so true, great king! That’s so true! When old age and death are advancing, what can you do but practice the teachings, practice morality, doing skillful and good actions?”

That is what the Buddha said. Then the Holy One, the Teacher, went on to say:

“Suppose there were vast mountains
of solid rock touching the sky
drawing in from all sides
and crushing the four quarters.

So too old age and death
advance upon all living creatures—
aristocrats, brahmins, merchants,
workers, outcastes, and scavengers.
They spare nothing.
They crush all beneath them.

There’s nowhere for elephants to take a stand,
nor chariots nor infantry.
They can’t be defeated
by diplomatic battles or by wealth.

That’s why an astute person,
seeing what’s good for themselves,
being wise, would place faith
in the Buddha, the teaching, and the Saṅgha.

Whoever lives by the teaching
in body, speech, and mind,
is praised in this life
and departs to rejoice in heaven.”


Read this translation of Saṁyutta Nikāya 3.25 Pabbatūpamasutta: The Simile of the Mountain by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net.

SN 55.21 Paṭhamamahānāmasutta: With Mahānāma (1st)

So I have heard. At one time the Buddha was staying in the land of the Sakyans, near Kapilavatthu in the Banyan Tree Monastery. Then Mahānāma the Sakyan went up to the Buddha, bowed, sat down to one side, and said to him:

“Sir, this Kapilavatthu is successful and prosperous and full of people, with cramped cul-de-sacs. In the late afternoon, after paying homage to the Buddha or an esteemed mendicant, I enter Kapilavatthu. I encounter a stray elephant, horse, chariot, cart, or person. At that time I lose mindfulness regarding the Buddha, the teaching, and the Saṅgha. I think: ‘If I were to die at this time, where would I be reborn in my next life?’”

“Do not fear, Mahānāma, do not fear! Your death will not be a bad one; your passing will not be a bad one. Take someone whose mind has for a long time been imbued with faith, ethics, learning, generosity, and wisdom. Their body consists of form, made up of the four primary elements, produced by mother and father, built up from rice and porridge, liable to impermanence, to wearing away and erosion, to breaking up and destruction. Right here the crows, vultures, hawks, dogs, jackals, and many kinds of little creatures devour it. But their mind rises up, headed for a higher place.

Suppose a person was to sink a pot of ghee or oil into a deep lake and break it open. Its shards and chips would sink down, while the ghee or oil in it would rise up, headed for a higher place.

In the same way, take someone whose mind has for a long time been imbued with faith, ethics, learning, generosity, and wisdom. Their body consists of form, made up of the four elements, produced by mother and father, built up from rice and porridge, liable to impermanence, to wearing away and erosion, to breaking up and destruction. Right here the crows, vultures, hawks, dogs, jackals, and many kinds of little creatures devour it. But their mind rises up, headed for a higher place.

Your mind, Mahānāma, has for a long time been imbued with faith, ethics, learning, generosity, and wisdom. Do not fear, Mahānāma, do not fear! Your death will not be a bad one; your passing will not be a bad one.”


Read this translation of Saṁyutta Nikāya 55.21 Paṭhamamahānāmasutta: With Mahānāma (1st) by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net.

Iti 83 Pañcapubbanimittasutta: The Five Prognostic Signs

This was said by the Lord, said by the Arahant, so I heard:

“Bhikkhus, when a deva is due to pass away from a company of devas, five prognostic signs appear: his flower-garlands wither, his clothes become soiled, sweat is released from his armpits, his bodily radiance fades, and the deva takes no delight in his heavenly throne. The devas, observing the prognostic signs that this deva is due to pass away, encourage him in three things with the words: ‘Go from here, friend, to a good bourn. Having gone to a good bourn, gain that which is good to gain. Having gained that which is good to gain, become firmly established in it.’”

When this was said, a certain bhikkhu asked the Lord: “Venerable sir, what is reckoned by the devas to be a good bourn? What is reckoned by the devas to be a gain that is good to gain? What is reckoned by the devas to be firmly established?”

“It is human existence, bhikkhus, that is reckoned by the devas to be a good bourn. When a human being acquires faith in the Dhamma-and-Discipline taught by the Tathāgata, this is reckoned by the devas to be a gain that is good to gain. When faith is steadfast in him, firmly rooted, established and strong, not to be destroyed by any recluse or brahmin or deva or Māra or Brahmā or by anyone else in the world, this is reckoned by the devas to be firmly established.”

This is the meaning of what the Lord said. So in regard to this it was said:

When a deva whose life is exhausted
Passes away from a deva-company,
The devas encourage him
In three ways with the words:

“Go, friend, to a good bourn,
To the fellowship of humans.
On becoming human acquire faith
Unsurpassed in the true Dhamma.

That faith made steadfast,
Become rooted and standing firm,
Will be unshakeable for life
In the true Dhamma well proclaimed.

Having abandoned misconduct by body,
Misconduct by speech as well,
Misconduct by mind, and whatever else
Is reckoned as a fault,

Having done much that is good
Both by body and by speech,
And done good with a mind
That is boundless and free from clinging,

With that merit as a basis
Made abundant by generosity,
You should establish other people
In the true Dhamma and the holy life.”

When the devas know that a deva
Is about to pass from their midst,
Out of compassion they encourage him:
“Return here, deva, again and again.”

This too is the meaning of what was said by the Lord, so I heard.


Read this translation of Itivuttaka 83 Pañcapubbanimittasutta: The Five Prognostic Signs by John D. Ireland on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net, SuttaFriends.org or DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

Dhp 21–22 From… Appamādavagga: Heedfulness

21. Heedfulness is the path to the Deathless. Heedlessness is the path to death. The heedful die not. The heedless are as if dead already.

22. Clearly understanding this excellence of heedfulness, the wise exult therein and enjoy the resort of the Noble Ones.



The Deathless (amata) is a synonymy for nibbāna.

Read the entire translation of Dhammapada 21–32 Appamādavagga: Heedfulness by Ven. Achariya Buddharakkhita on AccessToInsight.org. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net, SuttaFriends.org, DhammaTalks.org, or Ancient-Buddhist-Texts.net. Or listen on Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

Thag 16.4 From… Raṭṭhapāla Theragāthā

…A king who conquered the earth by force,
ruling the land from sea to sea,
unsatisfied with the near shore of the ocean,
would still yearn for the further shore.

Not just the king, but others too,
reach death not rid of craving.
They leave the body still wanting,
for in this world sensual pleasures never satisfy.

Relatives lament, their hair disheveled,
saying ‘Ah! Alas! They’re not immortal!’
They take out the body wrapped in a shroud,
heap up a pyre, and burn it there.

It’s poked with stakes while being burnt,
in just a single cloth, all wealth gone.
Relatives, friends, and companions
can’t help you when you’re dying.

Heirs take your riches,
while beings fare on according to their deeds.
Riches don’t follow you when you die;
nor do children, wife, wealth, nor kingdom.

Longevity isn’t gained by riches,
nor does wealth banish old age;
for the wise say this life is short,
it’s perishable and not eternal.

The rich and the poor feel its touch;
the fool and the wise feel it too.
But the fool lies stricken by their own folly,
while the wise don’t tremble at the touch.

Therefore wisdom’s much better than wealth,
since by wisdom you reach consummation in this life.
But if because of delusion you don’t reach consummation,
you’ll do evil deeds in life after life.…


Read the entire translation of Theragāthā 16.4 Raṭṭhapālattheragāthā: Raṭṭhapāla by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaFriends.org or DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

AN 7.49 From… Saññā Sutta: Perceptions

“‘…The perception of death, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the deathless, has the deathless as its final end’: Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said?

“When a monk’s awareness often remains steeped in the perception of death, his mind shrinks away from fervor for life, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance. Just as a cock’s feather or a piece of tendon, when thrown into a fire, shrinks away, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in; in the same way, when a monk’s awareness often remains steeped in the perception of death, his mind shrinks away from fervor for life, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance. If, when a monk’s awareness often remains steeped in the perception of death, his mind inclines to fervor for life, or if non-loathing takes a stance, then he should realize, ‘I have not developed the perception of death; there is no step-by-step distinction in me; I have not arrived at the fruit of (mental) development.’ In that way he is alert there. But if, when a monk’s awareness often remains steeped in the perception of death, his mind shrinks away from fervor for life, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance, then he should realize, ‘I have developed the perception of death; there is a step-by-step distinction in me; I have arrived at the fruit of (mental) development.’ In that way he is alert there.

“‘The perception of death, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the deathless, has the deathless as its final end’: Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said.…


Read the entire translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 7.49 Saññā Sutta. Perceptions by Bhikkhu Ṭhanissaro on DhammaTalks.org. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

AN 1.303: One Thing

“One thing, mendicants, when developed and cultivated, leads solely to disillusionment, dispassion, cessation, peace, insight, awakening, and extinguishment. What one thing? Mindfulness of death. This one thing, when developed and cultivated, leads solely to disillusionment, dispassion, cessation, peace, insight, awakening, and extinguishment.”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 1.303 by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaFriends.org. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

Snp 4.6 Jarāsutta: Old Age

Short, alas, is this life;
you die before a hundred years.
Even if you live a little longer,
you still die of old age.

People grieve over belongings,
yet there is no such thing as permanent possessions.
Separation is a fact of life; when you see this,
you wouldn’t stay living at home.

Whatever a person thinks of as belonging to them,
that too is given up when they die.
Knowing this, an astute follower of mine
would not be bent on ownership.

Just as, upon awakening, a person does not see
what they encountered in a dream;
so too you do not see your loved ones
when they are dead and gone.

You used to see and hear those folk,
and call them by their name.
Yet the name is all that’s left to tell
of a person when they’re gone.

Those who are greedy for belongings
don’t give up sorrow, lamentation, and stinginess.
That’s why the sages, seers of sanctuary,
left possessions behind and wandered.

For a mendicant who lives withdrawn,
frequenting a secluded seat,
they say it’s fitting
to not show themselves in a home.

The sage is independent everywhere,
they don’t form likes or dislikes.
Lamentation and stinginess
slip off them like water from a leaf.

Like a droplet slips from a lotus-leaf,
like water from a lotus flower;
the sage doesn’t cling to that
which is seen or heard or thought.

For the one who is cleansed does not conceive
in terms of things seen, heard, or thought.
They do not wish to be purified by another;
they are neither passionate nor growing dispassioned.


Read this translation of Snp 4.6 Jarāsutta: Old Age by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on DhammaTalks.org or AccessToInsight.org. Or listen on Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

AN 4.113 Patodasutta: The Goad

“Mendicants, these four fine thoroughbreds are found in the world. What four?

One fine thoroughbred is moved to act when it sees the shadow of the goad, thinking: ‘What task will the horse trainer have me do today? How should I respond?’ Some fine thoroughbreds are like that. This is the first fine thoroughbred found in the world.

Furthermore, one fine thoroughbred isn’t moved to act when it sees the shadow of the goad, but only when its hairs are struck, thinking: ‘What task will the horse trainer have me do today? How should I respond?’ Some fine thoroughbreds are like that. This is the second fine thoroughbred found in the world.

Furthermore, one fine thoroughbred isn’t moved to act when it sees the shadow of the goad, nor when its hairs are struck, but only when its hide is struck, thinking: ‘What task will the horse trainer have me do today? How should I respond?’ Some fine thoroughbreds are like that. This is the third fine thoroughbred found in the world.

Furthermore, one fine thoroughbred isn’t moved to act when it sees the shadow of the goad, nor when its hairs are struck, nor when its hide is struck, but only when its bone is struck, thinking: ‘What task will the horse trainer have me do today? How should I respond?’ Some fine thoroughbreds are like that. This is the fourth fine thoroughbred found in the world.

These are the four fine thoroughbreds found in the world.

In the same way, these four fine thoroughbred people are found in the world. What four?

One fine thoroughbred person hears about the suffering or death of a woman or man in such and such village or town. They’re moved to act by this, and strive effectively. Applying themselves, they directly realize the ultimate truth, and see it with penetrating wisdom. This person is like the fine thoroughbred that’s shaken when it sees the shadow of the goad. Some fine thoroughbred people are like that. This is the first fine thoroughbred person found in the world.

Furthermore, one fine thoroughbred person doesn’t hear about the suffering or death of a woman or man in such and such village or town, but they see it themselves. They’re moved to act by this, and strive effectively. Applying themselves, they directly realize the ultimate truth, and see it with penetrating wisdom. This person is like the fine thoroughbred that’s moved to act when its hairs are struck. Some fine thoroughbred people are like that. This is the second fine thoroughbred person found in the world.

Furthermore, one fine thoroughbred person doesn’t hear about the suffering or death of a woman or man in such and such village or town, nor do they see it themselves, but it happens to their own relative or family member. They’re moved to act by this, and strive effectively. Applying themselves, they directly realize the ultimate truth, and see it with penetrating wisdom. This person is like the fine thoroughbred that’s moved to act when its skin is struck. Some fine thoroughbred people are like that. This is the third fine thoroughbred person found in the world.

Furthermore, one fine thoroughbred person doesn’t hear about the suffering or death of a woman or man in such and such village or town, nor do they see it themselves, nor does it happen to their own relative or family member, but they themselves are afflicted with physical pain—sharp, severe, acute, unpleasant, disagreeable, and life-threatening. They’re moved to act by this, and strive effectively. Applying themselves, they directly realize the ultimate truth, and see it with penetrating wisdom. This person is like the fine thoroughbred that’s moved to act when its bone is struck. Some fine thoroughbred people are like that. This is the fourth fine thoroughbred person found in the world.

These are the four fine thoroughbred people found in the world.”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 4.113 Patodasutta: The Goad by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.