The Ghost of Christmas Future

https://cherylwilfong.files.wordpress.com/2017/12/90319-scroogevstheghostofchristmasfuture.jpg?w=481&h=649The Ghost of Christmas Future shows Scrooge his own tombstone. Seeing how ill-remembered he is, Scrooge has a conversion experience.

AA depends on conversion experiences–called hitting bottom–for its members to see just how out of control their addicted lives are.

Forseeing his own death, Scrooge hits bottom, so to say.

The Buddha showed one beautiful courtesan, Khema, a vision of herself in old age, and she immediately had an awakening experience.

Here are a few lines from a poem by a nun, 2500 years ago.

Ambapali Therigatha 13.1

Black was my hair

—the color of bees—

& curled at the tips.

With age,

it looks like coarse hemp.

The truth of the Truth-speaker’s words doesn’t change.

Fragrant, like a perfumed basket

filled with flowers.

With age it smells musty,

like animal fur.

The truth of the Truth-speaker’s words doesn’t change.

Radiant, brilliant

like jewels, my eyes:

With age,

they’re no longer splendid.

The truth of the Truth-speaker’s words doesn’t change.

Like plaintain buds in their color,

my teeth were once splendid.

With age,

they’re broken & yellowed.

The truth of the Truth-speaker’s words doesn’t change.

Smooth—like a conch shell well-polished —

my neck was once splendid.

With age,

it’s broken down, bent.

The truth of the Truth-speaker’s words doesn’t change.

Swelling, round, firm, & high,

both my breasts were once splendid.

In the drought of old age,

they dangle like empty old water bags.

The truth of the Truth-speaker’s words doesn’t change.

Such was this physical heap,

now: A house

with its plaster all fallen off.

The truth of the Truth-speaker’s words doesn’t change.

translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

PTS: Thig 252-270

 

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