Nirvana Sutra: Cunda

For the sake of Cunda, he said in verse:


“In all the world, whatever is born must die;

Life appears long, but by nature it must end.

Whatever flourishes always wanes; arrived, one must depart.

The prime of manhood is brief; fulsomeness meets with illness.

Life is swallowed by death; nothing external exists.

Kings are all of them unmolested, incomparable,

Yet all of them must perish: so is it with life.

Suffering knows no end; unendingly the wheel turns and turns;

Nothing in the three worlds is eternal; all that exists is unhappy.

What exists has a nature and characteristics; these are all empty.

What is mortal comes and goes; apprehensions and illnesses stalk one’s footsteps.

The fears of all the wrongs and evils one has done;

Age, illness, death and decline cause worry.

These things do not exist forever; they are easily broken up;

Holding on to grievances oppresses one.

All are enveloped by illusion, like the silkworm and the cocoon;

None who has wisdom finds joy in a place like this.

This carnal body is where suffering collects;

All is impure, like unto strains, festering wounds, boils, and the like.

No reality is at bottom, even for the heavenly ones who sit above;

All that one desires does not last; therefore I do not cling.

One casts off desires, meditates well, attains the wonderful Dharma;

And one who definitively cuts off “is” can today gain Nirvana.

I pass over to the other shore of “is” and stand above all sorrows;

Thus I harvest this superb bliss.”


Kosho Yamamoto (1973). The Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra (from Dharmakshema’s Chinese version). (pp. 18-19)

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