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Mahākāla – The Corpse
This poem is from the Theragatha. The Theragatha preserves 264 poems of elder monks and is the eighth section in the Khuddaka Nikāya. The Khuddaka Nikāya is a collection of short texts in (mostly) verse. The Khuddaka Nikāya is the last Nikaya (collection) of the Sutta Piṭaka, the second book of the Pāli Canon. 
This poem directly shows the wisdom of understanding the reality of human life and the inevitable conclusion for every life. When understood in the context of Dependent Origination  and Four Noble Truths,  this poem contains the wisdom of a Buddha.
When the inevitable end of all human life is seen correctly and without passion for self-preservation and continued preservation of wrong views, the immediacy of taking to the Dhamma and developing the Eightfold Path becomes apparent. As the Buddha taught in the Bahiya Sutta,  no one can know when death will occur. The singular importance of awakening, of gaining full human maturity and developing profound insight into Three Marks Of Existence  is no longer ignored.
Mahākāla – The Corpse
A strong and determined woman
prepares a corpse (for cremation)
She breaks thigh-bones
She breaks arm-bones
Cracking open the head,
like a bowl of curds
She sits with the heap beside her.
Those rooted in ignorance (of Four Noble Truths)
foolish in their views
Return to suffering and stress
again and again.
So, understanding truth, rooted in wisdom, (of Four Noble Truths)
abandon craving and clinging (for impermanent objects, events, views, or ideas)
(Through Right Effort) Determine to never lie
with your head cracked open ever again.
End of poem
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My Dhamma articles and talks are based on the Buddha's teachings (suttas) as preserved in the Sutta Pitaka, the second book of the Pali Canon. I have relied primarily on Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s excellent and insightful translation of the Pali generously made freely available at his website Dhammatalks.org, as well as the works of Acharya Buddharakkhita, Nyanaponika Thera, John Ireland, Maurice Walsh, Hellmuth Hecker, and Sister Khema, among others, as preserved at Access To Insight.
Also, I have found Bhikkhu Bodhi's translations from Wisdom Publications Pali Canon Anthologies to be most informative and an excellent resource.
I have made edits to the suttas from these sources for further clarity, to modernize language, to minimize repetition, and maintain contextual relevance to Dependent Origination and Four Noble Truths.
Becoming-Buddha.com and Dhamma articles and recordings by John Haspel are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.