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Jarāmaraṇa (T. rga shi རྒ་ཤི་; C. laosi; J. rōshi; K. nosa 老死) is translated as "aging and death," "old age and death," etc. It is a compound term, combining the Sanskrit/Pali words jarā (aging) and maraṇa (death).

Jarāmaraṇa identified as the twelfth link within the twelve links of dependent origination.

Within the Four Noble Truths

Within the teachings on the Four Noble Truths, jarā and maraṇa are identified as aspects of dukkha (suffering, anxiety, unsatisfactoriness). For example, The Discourse That Sets Turning the Wheel of Truth states:

""Now this, bhikkhus, for the spiritually ennobled ones, is the true reality which is pain: birth is painful, aging is painful, illness is painful, death is painful; sorrow, lamentation, physical pain, unhappiness and distress are painful; union with what is disliked is painful; separation from what is liked is painful; not to get what one wants is painful; in brief, the five bundles of grasping-fuel are painful." – Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, Samyutta Nikaya, Translated by Peter Harvey[1]

Other suttas the Pali Canon state:[lower-alpha 1]

"And what is aging? Whatever aging, decrepitude, brokenness, graying, wrinkling, decline of life-force, weakening of the faculties of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called aging.
"And what is death? Whatever deceasing, passing away, breaking up, disappearance, dying, death, completion of time, break up of the aggregates, casting off of the body, interruption in the life faculty of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called death."[2]

Within the twelve links of dependent origination

is one of the

12 Links wide icon 124px.png

Jarāmaraa is the last of the Twelve Nidānas, directly conditioned by birth (jāti), meaning that all who are born are destined to age and die.


The word jarā is related to the older Vedic Sanskrit word jarā, jaras, jarati, gerā, which means "to become brittle, to decay, to be consumed". The Vedic root is related to the Latin granum, Goth. kaurn, Greek geras, geros (later geriatric) all of which in one context mean "hardening, old age".[3]

The word maraṇa is based on the Vedic Sanskrit root mṛ, mriyate which means death. The Vedic root is related to later Sanskrit marta, as well as to German mord, Lith. mirti, Latin morior and mors all of which mean "to die, death".[4]


  1. In this translation by John T. Bullit, Bullit leaves the term "dukkha" untranslated. The main article that presents this translation is The Four Noble Truths.[web 1]


  1. (Harvey, 2007), as well as in his famed Mahasatipatthana Sutta Alternate translation: Piyadassi (1999)
  2. See, for instance, SN 12.2 (Thanissaro, 1997a) and DN 22 (Thanissaro, 2000).
  3. Thomas William Rhys Davids; William Stede (1921). Pali-English Dictionary. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 279. ISBN 978-81-208-1144-7. ; Quote: "old age, decay (in a disparaging sense), decrepitude, wretched, miserable"
  4. Thomas William Rhys Davids; William Stede (1921). Pali-English Dictionary. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 524. ISBN 978-81-208-1144-7. ; Quote: "death, as ending this (visible) existence, physical death".

Web references

  1. Four Noble Truths Links to each line in the translation are as follows: line 1: First Noble Truth; line 2: Second Noble Truth; line 3: Third Noble Truth; line 4: Fourth Noble Truth.


  • Ajahn Sumedho (2002), The Four Noble Truths, Amaravati Publications 
  • Ajahn Sucitto (2010), Turning the Wheel of Truth: Commentary on the Buddha's First Teaching, Shambhala 
  • Bhikkhu, Thanissaro (1997), Tittha Sutta: Sectarians, AN 3.61, retrieved 12 November 2007 
  • Bodhi, Bhikkhu (2000), The Connected Discourses of the Buddha: A New Translation of the Samyutta Nikaya, Boston: Wisdom Publications, ISBN 0-86171-331-1 
  • Brahm, Ajahn (2006), Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond: A Meditator's Handbook, Wisdom Publications, ISBN 0-86171-275-7 
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