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AN 3.52 PTS: A i 156 Thai 3.53; BJT 3.53
Dvejana Sutta: Two People (2)
translated from the Pali by
jtb 020513: AG calls this sutta III.53; I follow PTS numbering and call it III.52.
On one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. Then two brahmans — feeble old men, aged, advanced in years, having come to the last stage of life, 120 years old — went to the Blessed One. On arrival, they exchanged courteous greetings with him and, after an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, sat to one side. As they were sitting there, they said to him: “Master Gotama, we are brahmans — feeble old men, aged, advanced in years, having come to the last stage of life, 120 years old. And we have done no admirable deeds, no skillful deeds, no deeds that allay our fears. Teach us, Master Gotama. Instruct us, Master Gotama, for our long-term benefit & happiness.”
“Indeed, brahmans, you are feeble old men, aged, advanced in years, having come to the last stage of life, 120 years old. And you have done no admirable deeds, no skillful deeds, no deeds that allay your fears. This world is on fire with aging, illness, & death. With the world thus on fire with aging, illness, & death, any restraint of body, speech, & intellect practiced here will be one's shelter, cave, island, & refuge after death in the world beyond.”
When a house is on fire, the vessel salvaged is the one that will be of use, not the one left there to burn. So when the world is on fire with aging & death, one should salvage [one's wealth] by giving: what's given is well salvaged. Whoever here is restrained in body, speech, & awareness; who makes merit while he's alive: that will be for his bliss after death.