White Ashes

 

白骨 章(5帖第16通)

 

Hakkotsu no shō

 

White Ashes, 5-16

 

それ、人間の浮生なる相をつらつら観ずるに、おほよそはかなきものはこの世の始中終、まぼろしのごとくなる一期なり。さればいまだ万歳の人身を受けたりといふことをきかず、一生過ぎやすし。

 

いまにいたりてたれか百年の形体をたもつべきや。われや先、人や先、今日ともしらず、明日ともしらず、おくれさきだつ人はもとのしづくすゑの露よりもしげしといへり。されば朝には紅顔ありて、夕には白骨となれる身なり。

 

すでに無常の風きたりぬれば、すなはちふたつのまなこたちまちに閉ぢ、ひとつの息ながくたえぬれば、紅顔むなしく変じて桃李のよそほひを失ひぬるときは、六親眷属あつまりてなげきかなしめども、さらにその甲斐あるべからず。

 

さてしもあるべきことならねばとて、野外におくりて夜半の煙となしはてぬれば、ただ白骨のみぞのこれり。あはれといふもなかなかおろかなり。

 

されば人間のはかなきことは老少不定のさかひなれば、たれの人もはやく後生の一大事を心にかけて、阿弥陀仏をふかくたのみまゐらせて、念仏申すべきものなり。

 

あなかしこ、あなかしこ。

 

Sore, ningen no fushō naru sō wo tsura tsura kanzuru ni, ōyoso hakanaki mono wa konoyo no shichūjū, maboroshi no gotoku naru ichigo nari. Sareba imada manzai no ninjin wo uketari to iu koto wo kikazu, isshō sugi yasushi. 

 

Ima ni itarite tare ka hyaku nen no gyōtai wo tamotsu beki ya. Ware ya saki, hito ya saki, kyō tomo shinrazu, asu tomo shirazu, okure saki datsu hito wa moto no shizuku sue no tsuyu yori mo shigeshi to ieri. Sareba ashita niwa kōgan arite, yūbe niwa hakkotsu to nareru mi nari. 

 

Sudeni mujō no kaze kitari nureba, sunawachi futatsu no manako tachimachi ni toji, hitotsu no iki nagaku tae nureba, kōgan munashiku henjite tōri no yosooi wo ushinai nuru toki wa, roku shin kenzoku atsumarite nageki kanashime domo, sarani sono kai aru bekarazu. 

 

Sateshimo arubeki koto nara neba tote, yagai ni okurite yowa no kemuri to nashi hate nureba, tada hakkotsu nomizo nokoreri. Aware to iu mo naka naka oroka nari. 

 

Sareba ningen no hakanaki koto wa rōshō fujō no sakai nareba, tare no hito mo hayaku goshō no ichidaiji wo kokoro ni kakete, Amida Butsu wo fukaku tanomi mairasete, Nembutsu mōsu beki mono nari. 

 

Anakashiko, Anakashiko. 

 

Translation

 

In silently contemplating the transient nature of human existence, nothing is more fragile and fleeting in this world than the life of man. Thus, we have not heard of human life lasting for a thousand years. Life swiftly passes and who among men can maintain his form for even a hundred years?

 

Whether I go before others, or others go before me; whether it be today, or it be tomorrow, who is to know? Those who leave before us are as countless as the drops of dew. Though in the morning we may have radiant health, in the evening we may return to white ashes. When the winds of impermanence blow, our eyes are closed forever; and when the last breath leaves us, our face loses its color.

 

Though loved ones gather and lament, everything is to no avail. The body is then sent into an open field and vanishes from this world with the smoke of cremation, leaving only the white ashes.

 

There is nothing more real than this truth of life. The fragile nature of human existence underlies both the young and old, and therefore we must, one and all, turn to the teachings of the Buddha and awaken to the ultimate source of life.

 

By so understanding the meaning of death, we shall come to fully appreciate the meaning of this life which is unrepeatable and thus to be treasured above all else. By virtue of true compassion, let us realize the irreplaceable value of human life and let us together live with the Nembutsu in our hearts.

 

Humbly and respectfully.