Aging. . .
The Buddha described old age as the weakening of teeth, greyness of hair, wrinkling of skin, decline of vigour and the failing of the facilities’. At the time of the Buddha, the life expectancy was much shorter than today. Its advances in medicine and cultures many live much longer than ever before.
However, The Buddha taught that the psychological problems often associated with old age can, with the right attitude, be minimized to a much greater degree or even avoided completely.
Once a man came to the Buddha and said: `Sir, I am now elderly, worn out, far gone in years, approaching the end, always physically sick and ailing Tell me something cheerful and comforting that will benefit me for a long time.’ The Buddha replied: `Train yourself like this, Though my body be sick, my mind shall not be sick. These words of wisdom are a positive and cogent reminder that we can be emotionally stable, happy and content despite physical decline.
The Buddha said: `Old age comes to the learned, noble disciple but when he is old he thinks not just I but all who are born grow old. And if when I am old I were to weep and cry, food would not interest me, my body would become ugly, I would neglect my affairs, my enemies would rejoice and my friends would grieve. So when old age does come he does not weep and cry. He is rightly called a learned, noble disciple, he has pulled out the poisoned arrow of sorrow with which the ordinary person is tormented’
The Buddha also asked us to consider that longevity is perhaps not as important as what we do with ourselves in the time we have. He said: `It would be better to live for one day wise and meditative, than for a hundred years stupid and lacking awareness. These statements are, of course, rhetorical, but their point is clear. The quality of our life is more important than its length. If we fully utilize and appreciate our life now, we will become less concerned with staying young for as long as possible.
Peace and Love, Jim