…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.