Verse 135. Decay And Death Terminate Life

As with force the cowherds drive
their cattle out to graze,
like this decay and death drive out
the life from all beings.

Explanation: The cowherd drive the cattle along to the pasture with the goad. In the same way, decay and death drive the life span of beings.

The Story of Some Ladies Observing the Moral Precepts (Verse 135)

While residing at the Pubbarama Monastery, the Buddha spoke this verse, with reference to five hundred ladies.

Once, five hundred ladies from Savatthi came to the Pubbarama Monastery to keep the Eight Precepts. The donor of the monastery, the well-renowned Visakha, asked different age groups of ladies why they had come to keep the fast-day She got different answers from different age groups for they had come to the monastery for different reasons. The old ladies came to the monastery to keep the fast-day because they hoped to gain the riches and glories of celestial beings in their next existence; the middle-aged ladies had come to the monastery because they did not want to stay under the same roof with the mistresses of their respective husbands. The young married ladies had come because they wanted their first born to be a son, and the young unmarried ladies had come because they wanted to get married to good husbands.

Having had these answers, Visakha took all the ladies to the Buddha. When she told the Buddha about the various answers of the different age groups of ladies, the Buddha said, ” Visakha! Birth, ageing and death are always actively working in beings; because one is born, one is subject to ageing and decay, and finally to death. Yet, they do not wish to strive for liberation from the round of existences (samsara); they still wish to linger in samsara”.

Treasury of Truth: Illustrated Dhammapada – 423 Verses

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