Gautama Buddha: On Death and Decay

An extract from The Gospel of Buddha


“The life of mortals in this world is troubled and brief and combined with pain.

As all earthen vessels made by the potter end in being broken, so is the life of mortals.

Both young and adult, both those who are fools and those who are wise, all fall into the power of death; all are subject to death.

Of those who, overcome by death, depart from life, a father cannot save his son, nor kinsmen their relations.

Mark! while relatives are looking on and lamenting deeply, one by one mortals are carried off, like an ox that is led to the slaughter.

The world is afflicted with death and decay; therefore, the wise do not grieve, knowing the terms of the world.

In whatever manner people think a thing will come to pass, it is often different when it happens, and great is the disappointment; see, such are the terms of the world.

Not from weeping nor from grieving will anyone obtain peace of mind; on the contrary, his pain will be the greater and his body will suffer. He will make himself sick and pale, yet the dead are not saved by his lamentation.

People pass away, and their fate after death will be according to their deeds.

If a man live a hundred years, or even more, he will at last be separated from the company of his relatives, and leave the life of this world.

He who seeks peace should draw out the arrow of lamentation, and complaint, and grief.

He who has drawn out the arrow and has become composed will obtain peace of mind; he who has overcome all sorrow will become free from sorrow, and be blessed.”

— An extract from The Gospel of Buddha: Compiled from Ancient Records by Paul Carus, LXXXIV, ‘The Mustard Seed’. pp. 190-191.


“All conditioned things are impermanent.
Work out your salvation with diligence.”

31 thoughts to “Gautama Buddha: On Death and Decay”

  1. The only thing permanent in life is change. Beautiful sentiments of a great human being.

    Another of my favorites is the story of the wise farmer. It promotes much the same ideology. I’m not sure of the source (Buddhism – Taoism – Confucius). But the bottom line…’s not good or bad, it just is.

    There was once a wise farmer, who, with his wife, had a small piece of land and one horse. One day, the horse managed to jump the fence and ran away to freedom.

    The farmer’s nosy neighbor sidled up to the fence, leaned on it conspiratorially, tutting and shaking his head. “You had just one horse,” said the neighbor, “and now he’s gone. Such bad luck!”

    The wise farmer nodded slowly, taking in his neighbor’s words. “Well, who knows if it’s good or bad?”

    The next day, the wise farmer’s horse miraculously reappeared, except that he wasn’t alone: in tow was a second, wild horse.

    The neighbor hurried over excitedly, jabbering away. “You had one horse, then you lost it, and now you have two! This is such good luck!”

    The farmer smiled sagely before replying, “Who knows if it’s good or bad?”

    The following day, the farmer’s only son took on the job of breaking in the wild horse. The horse bucked, throwing the son to the ground. His leg was well and truly broken.

    “Tut, tut, tut,” the neighbor muttered in dismay, “What a week! You lose a horse, get it back, gain an extra horse and now your only son, your only help on the farm, is injured! This is such terrible, terrible luck.”

    A week later, the army marched through town, conscripting all and any young men for military duty. The farmer’s son, in a cast and on crutches, was not required to go to war.

    The neighbor exhaled in relief upon hearing the news. “Oh, what good luck for you and your family! Your son doesn’t have to go to war! Such good luck.”

    Of course, the farmer responded in only the way he could…

    “Who knows if it’s good or bad?”

  2. In the Srimad-Bhagvatam, Lord Buddha is accepted as a saktyavesa avatara, a specially empowered incarnation of the Supreme Lord.

    Krsna has accepted the body of Buddha. That is the Vaisnava conception of Lord Buddha.

  3. Yep Folks,
    All people live under the 4 noble truths of Buddhism. They are birth, old-age, sickness and death. What perplexes Donaldo are the many people who thought they were immune to the TRUTHS. Barbara Specter, Bibi, Nudleman, the Clinton’s, Bush Sr. (now rotting underground), gay-boy Bush Jr., Obama and Michael, Erdogan, Obadiah, creepy Joe Biden, ( Donaldo pauses to fill tequila shots), McCain, Pelosi, Lucky-Larry, all the NeoCons, Soros, Macron, Bill and up-side- down cross Melinda Gates …oh well….the list is infinite. Donaldo can’t continue. The list is too long. But one thing is for sure. None of all the above will be walking the Earth 💯 years from now. Anyway, just Donaldo reflecting from a rainy truckstop in Virginia. Blessings all fellow Darkmooners. Shalom. 🙏

  4. “People pass away, and their fate after death will be according to their deeds”.

    So what is death if not a friend/accomplice of life. Individualism will die with the body. The soul/spirit/life force does neither dwell in death nor despises death. The ego of Man – “I” – does recognize death for its own protection and uses this very projection to be alive while adapting to the bodies given identity (male/female/color/name/profession/etc) and what is expected of its given role. (Law of man). “ME”, is the timeless consciousness state of a “divine group/hive mind” returning to its origin untouched and formless when the “vessel” becomes obsolete through natural decay (Natural Law). Giving meaning to illusion “I” while discarding “ME” as an hoax or trying to condition “ME” through misunderstood religious theories and facts is indeed a circle of madness that need to be broken to understand REALITY and ones own deeds.
    One can NOT serve have TWO MASTERS – even if man is trying very hard since millennia.

    1. Jo,
      Exelente post.
      Apon birth an infant is given a name (not of his/her will) a birth certificate and, in some countries, a social security number……ie…. tracking device. For the rest of their lives they carry their NAME and #. Donaldo supposes this is how most people self–identify. Anyway, Donaldos point is that the YOU that you think you are doesn’t really exist. YOU are only consciousness existing in a material organism called a body. Donaldo reflects. Thirty years ago. Setting. Buddhist temple on Thai/Laotian border. There sat Donaldo deep in the scorpion/cobra 🐍 infested jungle. In a bamboo hut. Deep in meditation all night. Donaldo actually remembers his consciousness leaving his body and able to look down at his physical self. Really hard to explain. But it happened. Anyway, just a small episode of Donaldos life. A few years later actually met an Israeli Buddhist monk at another jungle temple. A Sephardi. One morning there arrived a group of Ortho-Jew Israelis at the temple. There was a confrontation. They approached him and started shouting. Really giving him a hard time. The group, however, was received well by the temple. Given shelter and great World- famous Thai food. The following morning they departed. Later, several of us asked the Israeli monk what happened. He just replied, “Nothing really. My father is unhappy.” We later found out that he was the son of a prominent Israeli Rebbe. But to his credit, he had decided to break the shackles of both a name and religion imposed apon him at birth. This Sephardi-Israeli was/is a great man. How many Darkmooners, may Donaldo humbly ask, possess his courage? 😉🙏

      1. Exactamente Donaldo! Conditioning of man eventually will kill (its own illusion).
        Anyone who breaks his/her chains of dependency through truth is truly blessed and will be encouraged by love.
        In regards to a “new world religion” will there be another “Nicosia” again where it is established who is worthy of God or not and who is welcome to join and how and who will be exempt? Most likely as man seemingly can not exist without repeating his previous errors.
        Maybe time has come to finally accept God as God and universal law as universal law without selected human intellect trying to “create what is best for man in a physical world under God” without grasping much of a living God that loves all “his” creation continuously without exemption. Though it might be a hell of a ride for some to get there and to look at God with ones own eyes and with a starving heart longing to be filled with love by the one we seek the most but neglect in just about all of our earthly ways!

  5. Whether uttered by heathen, heretic, or priest, Truth has universal appeal, and is found in all religions.

  6. I wonder if the Buddha could dig this…

    “Call unto Thy Soul, Arise, and Come unto Me… For I am the Soul of Nature, who gives Life to the Universe… From Me All Things Proceed and unto Me All Things must Return; and before My Face, Beloved of Gods and of Men, let Thine innermost Divine Self be enfolded in the Rapture of the Infinite… Let My Worship be within the Heart that Rejoicest… For behold, all Acts of Love and Pleasure are My Rituals… Therefore, let there be Beauty and Strength, Power and Compassion, Honor and Humility, Mirth and Reverence within You… And Thou who thinketh to seek for Me, know Thy seeking and Thy yearning shall avail Thee not, unless Thou knoweth the Mystery; that if That which Thou seekest Thou findest not within Thee, Thou wilt never find It without Thee… For behold, I have been with Thee from the Beginning, and I am That which is attained at the End of Desire”…

          1. @ LD

            Thanks for this timely reminder of what awaits us all. Deeply moving and profound, such words of wisdom could have been uttered by the founders and prophets of any great world religion, including the author of the Book of Ecclesiastes who would have agreed with every word of it.

            Even an atheist could not object to anything said by Gautama Buddha in this beautiful extract from the Buddhist lore handed down to us by his disciples. The Buddha, like Christ, wrote nothing. All his teachings are handed down to us by his faithful disciples.

            What we need, I think, is a world religion — a philosophia perennis or “perennial philosophy” — which will unite all people on earth in a common core worship for the sacred … for the universal spirit that “broods on the waters”.

  7. In general I find Buddhism’s call to dampen the ego and the incessant references to sorrow and suffering to be rather depressing.

    The ego, the location of emotional expression is not all bad. When attacked by an enemy, when in rapture through art or awesome Nature … in these cases emotion is a good!

    Jo’s distinction between “I” and “Me” is nonetheless important. In other cosmologies that would be expressed as maintaining humility.

    IMO, Humble+Moderate Ego is the right balance. With none/little ego, one becomes a useless automaton, missing one’s vocation on Earth completely.

    1. Right you are, Flan! I concede that I could have never been a Henry Ford, or had the patience to write like a Charles Dickens, or figure out how to refine metallic ore – or build a nuclear reactor. (Hell, I don’t even make paper!)
      Thankfully, there ARE those who know how, and I salute them!

    2. “I” have lived as “ME” for a while Flan and it could not have been further away from being “a useless automaton missing one’s vocation on Earth completely”. Ones “vocation” on Earth is exactly that to adapt from “I” to “ME” (flawlessly) while at times being completely and naturally in bliss and awe – a very “natural loving state of mind and body that encompasses EVERYTHING and ALL but an ego”! An eye opener so to speak. By looking at our planet’s human reality, the stubborn human condition and the pretending to be in control of the uncontrollable including the constant daily suffering, control and abuse of mankind through its own kind, it is the “I” that rather feels like a useless automaton imprisoned in a hateful world while only “ME” is providing certain truth and life.

      1. If the world is hateful then only through action can it be remedied.

        Closing oneself off in some “spiritual” retreat for possibly a lifetime of automaton ritual goes nowhere, as apparently the Buddha agreed:

        Bodhisattva … takes vow to save all sentient beings through ACTS of love and compassion- “until the last blade of grass has become enlightened”, postpones Nirvana

        Action, not self reflection.

        I believe the the states of mind of which you speak are quite common, but after a short reminder of our spiritual nature, back to the wheel!

        The natural human condition of sane people is perfectly healthy. “Modernity” has been manipulated by technocrat psychos only in the last 200 years. Psycho’s prior to this date did not have the destructive power available to the modern variety. The steep downhill began only recently with central private fiat banking.

      2. No Flan, my spiritual retreats for example were an orphanage in Brasil, a nursing home in Germany and an elders home in Sri Lanka besides all encompassing nature anywhere in the world just to help me cry out the injustice of the world and to ask for guidance and relief for the suffering that others called life. Money and the wheel never really mattered at all because they are meaningless.

    “What we need, I think, is a world religion — a philosophia perennis or “perennial philosophy” — which will unite all people on earth in a common core worship for the sacred … for the universal spirit that “broods on the waters”.
    No Doubt…
    Let us hope it excludes violence and sacrifice, hierarchy and damnation, opulence and corporatism…
    I would suggest some form of polytheistic Pantheism, where man eventually solves his spiritual and political problems as a result if his new dedication to the sacred process of environmental rescue…
    This might be some of it maybe –
    Oh Great Spirit that didst brood
    Upon the waters dark and rude
    Hear us when we cry to thee
    For those in peril on the sea…

    1. Bark –

      This planet does NOT need a jew one world religion or government based on Agenda 21 or Agenda 2030 with “the sacred process of environmental rescue…”!!

      And the ‘Navy Hymn’ will not suffice.

      1. A universal religion doesn’t have to be Jewish. If it were “Jewish”, it wouldn’t be universal.

        Many great thinkers, especially Aldous Huxley in his book Philosophia Perennis (“The Perennial Philosophy”), have advocated a universal religion incorporating the moral values of kindness and compassion implicit in all the world’s great religions. With one exception — Talmudic Judaism. This is not really a “religion” but a strategy for Jewish survival and domination.

    2. Its already there if only you look closely,
      Subsequently it will be revealed to everyone that this was indeed the universal truth and religion, but hope its not too late before that happens.

    3. Did not God plant in every persons heart the interdiction of theft? Theft generically covers property, life, freedom to make a living, freedom of expression, …
      From this principle, all moral decisions can be derived.

      Did not God provide a Creation that is inspiring spiritually to all of nature?

      Is another man-made, complicated, inconsistent, spiritually and intellectually repressive, long winded text (thank you GILBERT HUNTLY) really needed?

      The communist NWO Pope is working hard on one-world religion on the principle of Marx: “Religion is the opium of the people”

  9. PAT
    “This planet does NOT need a jew one world religion or government based on Agenda 21 or Agenda 2030 with “the sacred process of environmental rescue…”!!
    nothing wrong with saving the planet, keeping it safe…
    is there?
    and it’s ok with me if someone considers it sacred…
    and after all, if the planet is sacred so should be the purpose of saving it…
    i’m not sure i know exactly everything about the agendas 21 or 2030…
    and i’m not giving them the benefit of the doubt… i’ll take your word on the instigators too…
    nefarious actors have been giving environmentalism a bad name since the big nuke spooks invented the epa…
    i know how i would go about it and i do believe going about saving the planet in the right way will set humanity right politically at the same time… correct intent…

    1. Bark –

      Your original unproven assumption – the planet needs to be saved – is totally false. So, everything after that is also false. You are using the jew narrative pushed by ALGORE… “Save the Earth”!!!

  10. Think if you maybe have misinterpreted those words.
    They are meant to propel the materialists to live beyond the material.
    Only in this way can you fight against the evil that is about to be unleashed.

    It is not about turning you into a self-indulgent dead dog on the sidewalk.


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