WARREN: BUDDHISM IN TRANSLATIONS

95

 

 


 

 

Ī 12. The Death of the Buddha

Translated from the Mahā-Parinibbāna-Sutta (v. and vi.) of the Digha-Nikāya

[1][stor][pts][than][bs] Then The Blessed One addressed the venerable Ānanda: --

"Let us go hence, Ānanda. To the further bank of the Hiraññavatī river, and to the city of Kusinārā and the sal-tree grove Upavattana of the Mallas will we draw near."

"Yes, Reverend Sir," said the venerable Ānanda to The Blessed One in assent.

Then The Blessed One, accompanied by a large congregation of priests, drew near to the further bank of the Hiraññavatī river, and to the city of Kusinārā and the sal-tree grove Upavattana of the Mallas; and having drawn near, he addressed the venerable Ānanda:--

"Be so good, Ānanda, as to spread me a couch with its head to the north between twin sal-trees. I am weary, Ānanda, and wish to lie down."

"Yes, Reverend Sir," said the venerable Ānanda to The Blessed One in assent, and spread the couch with its head to the north between twin sal-trees. Then The Blessed One lay down on his right side after the manner of a lion, and placing foot on foot, remained mindful and conscious.

Now at that time the twin sal-trees had completely burst forth into bloom, though it was not the flowering season;[96]and the blossoms scattered themselves over the body of The Tathāgata,,[1] and strewed and sprinkled themselves in worship of The Tathāgata,. Also heavenly Erythrina flowers fell from the sky; and these scattered themselves over the body of The Tathāgata, and strewed and sprinkled themselves in worship of The Tathāgata,. Also heavenly sandal-wood powder fell from the sky; and this scattered itself over the body of The Tathāgata,, and strewed and sprinkled itself in worship of The Tathāgata,. And music sounded in the sky in worship of The Tathāgata,, and heavenly choruses were heard to sing in worship of The Tathāgata,.

Then The Blessed One addressed the venerable Ānanda: --

"The twin sal-trees, Ānanda, have completely burst forth into bloom, though it is not the flowering season; and the blossoms have scattered themselves over the body of The Tathāgata,, and have strewn and sprinkled themselves in worship of The Tathāgata,. Also heavenly Erythrina flowers have fallen from the sky; and these have scattered themselves over the body of The Tathāgata,, and have strewn and sprinkled themselves in worship of The Tathāgata,. Also heavenly sandal-wood powder has fallen from the sky; and this has scattered itself over the body of The Tathāgata,, and has strewn and sprinkled itself in worship of The Tathāgata,. Also music is sounding in the sky in worship of The Tathāgata,, and heavenly choruses are heard to sing in worship of The Tathāgata,. But it is not by all this, Ānanda, that The Tathāgata, is honored, esteemed, revered, worshiped, or venerated; but the priest, Ānanda, or the priestess, or the lay disciple, or the female lay disciple, who shall fulfil all the greater and lesser duties, conducting himself with propriety and in accordance with the precepts, by him is The Tathāgata, honored, esteemed, revered, and worshiped with the best of worship. Accordingly, Ānanda, train yourselves, [97] and fulfil all the greater and lesser duties, and conduct yourselves with propriety and in accordance with the precepts."

Now at that time the venerable Upavāna was standing in front of The Blessed One, and fanning him. Then The Blessed One was harsh to the venerable Upavāna saying, --

"Step aside, O priest; stand not in front of me." Then it occurred to the venerable Ānanda as follows:--

"Here, this venerable Upavāna has for a long time been the body-servant of The Blessed One, and kept himself at his beck and call; yet, although his last moments are near, The Blessed One is harsh to the venerable Upavāna saying, 'Step aside, O priest; stand not in front of me.' What, pray, was the reason, and what was the cause, that The Blessed One was harsh to the venerable Upavāna saying, 'Step aside, O priest; stand not in front of me'?"

Then the venerable Ānanda spoke to The Blessed One as follows:--

"Reverend Sir, here this venerable Upavāna has for a long time been the body-servant of The Blessed One, and kept himself at his beck and call; yet, although his last moments are near, The Blessed One is harsh to the venerable Upavāna saying, 'Step aside, O priest; stand not in front of me.' Reverend Sir, what, pray, was the reason, and what was the cause, that The Blessed One was harsh to the venerable Upavāna saying, 'Step aside, O priest; stand not in front of me'?"

"Ānanda, almost all the deities throughout ten worlds have come together to behold The Tathāgata,. For an extent, Ānanda, of twelve leagues about the city Kusinārā and the sal-tree grove Upavattana of the Mallas, there is not a spot of ground large enough to stick the point of a hair into, that is not pervaded by powerful deities. And these deities, Ānanda, are angered, saying, 'From afar have we come to behold The Tathāgata,, for but seldom, and on rare occasions, does a Tathāgata,, a saint, and Supreme Buddha arise in the world; and now, to-night, in the last watch, will The Tathāgata, pass into Nirvana; but this powerful priest stands in front of The Blessed One, concealing him, and we have no [98] chance to see The Tathāgata,, although his last moments are near.' Thus, Ānanda, are these deities angered."

"What are the deities doing, Reverend Sir, whom The Blessed One perceives?"

"Some of the deities, Ānanda, are in the air with their minds engrossed by earthly things, and they let fly their hair and cry aloud, and stretch out their arms and cry aloud, and fall headlong to the ground and roll to and fro, saying, 'All too soon will The Blessed One pass into Nirvana; all too soon will The Happy One pass into Nirvana; all too soon will The Light of the World vanish from sight!' Some of the deities, Ānanda, are on the earth with their minds engrossed by earthly things, and they let fly their hair and cry aloud, and stretch out their arms and cry aloud, and fall headlong on the ground and roll to and fro, saying, 'All too soon will The Blessed One pass into Nirvana; all too soon will The Happy One pass into Nirvana; all too soon will The Light of the World vanish from sight.' But those deities which are free from passion, mindful and conscious, bear it patiently, saying, 'Transitory are all things. How is it possible [that whatever has been born, has come into being, and is organized and perishable, should not perish? That condition is not possible.]'"

 

§

 

[Chapter v., page 53.16.]

Then the venerable Ānanda entered the monastery, and, leaning against the bolt of the door, he wept, saying, --

"Behold, I am but a learner and not yet perfect, and my Teacher is on the point of passing into Nirvana, he who was so compassionate to me."

Then The Blessed One addressed the priests: --

"Where, O priests, is Ānanda?"

"Reverend Sir, the venerable Ānanda has entered the monastery, and leaning against the bolt of the door, he weeps, saying, 'Behold, I am but a learner, and not yet perfect, and my Teacher is on the point of passing into Nirvana, he who was so compassionate to me.'"

[99] Then The Blessed One addressed a certain priest, saying, --

"Go, O priest, and say to the venerable Ānanda from me, 'The Teacher calleth thee, brother Ānanda.'"

"Yes, Reverend Sir," said the priest to The Blessed One in assent, and drew near to where the venerable Ānanda was; and having drawn near, he spoke to the venerable Ānanda as follows: --

"The Teacher calleth thee, brother Ānanda."

"Yes, brother," said the venerable Ānanda to the priest in assent, and drew near to where The Blessed One was; and having drawn near and greeted The Blessed One, he sat down respectfully at one side. And the venerable Ānanda being seated respectfully at one side, The Blessed One spoke to him as follows: --

"Enough, Ānanda, do not grieve, nor weep. Have I not already told you, Ānanda, that it is in the very nature of all things near and dear unto us that we must divide ourselves from them, leave them, sever ourselves from them? How is it possible, Ānanda, that whatever has been born, has come into being, is organized and perishable, should not perish? That condition is not possible. For a long time, Ānanda, have you waited on The Tathāgata, with a kind, devoted, cheerful, single-hearted, unstinted service of body, with a kind, devoted, cheerful, single-hearted, unstinted service of voice, with a kind, devoted, cheerful, single-hearted, unstinted service of mind. You have acquired much merit, Ānanda; exert yourself, and soon will you be free from all depravity."

Then The Blessed One addressed the priests: --

"Priests, of all those Blessed Ones who aforetime were saints and Supreme Buddhas, all had their favorite body-servants, just as I have now my Ānanda. And, priests, of all those Blessed Ones who in the future shall be saints and Supreme Buddhas, all will have their favorite body-servants, just as I have now my Ānanda. Wise, O priests, is Ānanda -- he knows when it is a fit time to draw near to see The Tathāgata,, whether for the priests, for the priestesses, for the [100] lay disciples, for the female lay disciples, for the king, for the king's courtiers, for the leaders of heretical sects, or for their adherents.

"Ānanda, O priests, has four wonderful and marvellous qualities. And what are the four? O priests, if an assembly of priests draw near to behold Ānanda, it is delighted with beholding him; and if then Ānanda hold a discourse on the Doctrine, it is also delighted with the discourse; and when Ānanda, O priests, ceases to speak, the assembly of priests is still unsated. O priests, if an assembly of priestesses . . . an assembly of lay disciples . . . an assembly of female lay disciples draw near to behold Ānanda, it is delighted with beholding him; and if then Ānanda hold a discourse on the Doctrine, it is also delighted with the discourse; and when Ānanda, O priests, ceases to speak, the assembly of female lay disciples is still unsated.

"A Universal Monarch, O priests, has four wonderful and marvellous qualities. And what are the four? O priests, if an assembly of men of the warrior caste . . . an assembly of men of the Brahman caste . . . an assembly of householders . . . an assembly of monks draw near to behold the Universal Monarch, it is delighted with beholding him; and if then the Universal Monarch hold a discourse, it is also delighted with the discourse; and when the Universal Monarch, O priests, ceases to speak, the assembly of monks is still unsated.

"In exactly the same way, O priests, Ānanda has four wonderful and marvellous qualities. O priests, if an assembly of priests . . . an assembly of priestesses . . . an assembly of lay disciples . . . an assembly of female lay disciples draw near to behold Ānanda, it is delighted with beholding him; and if then Ānanda hold a discourse on the Doctrine, it is also delighted with the discourse; and when Ānanda, O priests, ceases to speak, the assembly of female lay disciples is still unsated. These, O priests, are the four wonderful and marvellous qualities possessed by Ānanda."

When The Blessed One had thus spoken, the venerable Ānanda spoke to him as follows: --

"Reverend Sir, let not The Blessed One pass into Nirvana [101] in this wattel-and-daub town, this town of the jungle, this branch village. For there are other great cities, Reverend Sir, to wit, Campā, Rājagaha, Sāvatthi, Sāketa, Kosambī, and Benares. Let The Blessed One pass into Nirvana in one of them. In them are many wealthy men of the warrior caste, many wealthy men of the Brahman caste, and many wealthy householders who are firm believers in The Tathāgata,, and they will perform the funeral rites for The Tathāgata,."

"O Ānanda, say not so! O Ānanda, say not so, that this is a wattel-and-daub town, a town of the jungle, a branch village. There was once, Ānanda, a king called Sudassana the Great, who was a Universal Monarch, a virtuous king of justice, a victorious ruler of the four quarters of the earth, possessing a secure dominion over his territory and owning the seven precious gems.[2] This city Kusinārā, Ānanda, was the capital of king Sudassana the Great, and had then the name of Kusāvatī. From the east to the west it was twelve leagues in length, and from the north to the south it was seven leagues in breadth. Kusāvatī, the capital, Ānanda, was prosperous and flourishing, populous and thronging with people, and well provided with food. As Ālakamandā, the capital of the gods, Ānanda, is prosperous and flourishing, populous and thronging with gods, and is well provided with food, in exactly the same way, Ānanda, Kusāvatī, the capital, was prosperous and flourishing, populous and thronging with people, and well provided with food. Kusāvatī, the capital, Ānanda, was neither by day nor night without the ten noises, -- to wit, the noise of elephants, the noise of horses, the noise of chariots, the noise of drums, the noise of tabors, the noise of lutes, the noise of song, the noise of cymbals, the noise of gongs, and the tenth noise of people crying, 'Eat ye, and drink!'

"Go thou, Ānanda, and enter the city Kusinārā, and announce to the Kusinārā-Mallas:--

"'To-night, O ye Vāsetthas, in the last watch, The [102] Tathāgata, will pass into Nirvana. Be favorable, be favorable, O ye Vāsetthas, and suffer not that afterwards ye feel remorse, saying, "The Tathāgata, passed into Nirvana while in our borders, but we did not avail ourselves of the opportunity of being present at the last moments of The Tathāgata,."'"

"Yes, Reverend Sir," said the venerable Ānanda to The Blessed One in assent; and putting on his tunic, and taking his bowl and his robes, he went to Kusinārā with another member of the Order.

Now at that time, the Kusinārā-Mallas were assembled together in the town-hall on some matter of business. And the venerable Ānanda drew near to the town-hall of the Kusinārā-Mallas; and having drawn near, he made announcement to the Kusinārā-Mallas, as follows:--

"To-night, O ye Vāsetthas, in the last watch, The Tathāgata, will pass into Nirvana. Be favorable, be favorable, O ye Vāsetthas, and suffer not that afterwards ye feel remorse, saying, 'The Tathāgata, passed into Nirvana while in our borders, but we did not avail ourselves of the opportunity of being present at the last moments of The Tathāgata,.'"

The Mallas, on hearing this speech of the venerable Ānanda, and their children and their daughters-in-law and their wives were grieved and sorrowful and overwhelmed with anguish of mind, and some let fly their hair and cried aloud, and stretched out their arms and cried aloud, and fell headlong to the ground and rolled to and fro, saying, "All too soon will The Blessed One pass into Nirvana; all too soon will The Happy One pass into Nirvana; all too soon will The Light of the World vanish from sight." Then the Mallas and their children and their daughters-in-law and their wives, being grieved and sorrowful and overwhelmed with anguish of mind, drew near to the sal-tree grove Upavattana of the Mallas, and to where the venerable Ānanda was.

Then it occurred to the venerable Ānanda as follows: --

"If I shall cause the Kusinārā-Mallas one by one to do reverence to The Blessed One, the day will dawn ere they have finished. What if now I marshal the Mallas by families, [103] and cause them by families to do reverence to The Blessed One, and say, 'Reverend Sir, a Malla named so-and-so, with his children, his wife, his following, and his friends, bows low in reverence at the feet of The Blessed One.'"

And the venerable Ānanda marshalled the Mallas by families, and caused them by families to do reverence to The Blessed One, Baying, "Reverend Sir, a Malla named so-and-so, with his children, his wife, his following, and his friends, bows low in reverence at the feet of The Blessed One." And the venerable Ānanda by this device succeeded in causing all the Kusinari-Mallas to do reverence to The Blessed One before the end of the first watch of the night.

Now at that time Subhadda, a wandering ascetic, was dwelling at Kusinārā. And Subhadda, the wandering ascetic, heard the report: --

"To-night, in the last watch, the monk Gotama will pass into Nirvana."

Then it occurred to Subhadda, the wandering ascetic, as follows: --

"I have heard wandering ascetics, that were old men, advanced in years, teachers, and teachers' teachers, declare, 'But seldom, and on rare occasions, does a Tathāgata,, a saint, and Supreme Buddha arise in the world.' And to-night, in the last watch, the monk Gotama will pass into Nirvana. And a certain question has arisen in my mind, and I am persuaded of the monk Gotama that he can so teach me the Doctrine that I shall be relieved of this my doubt."

Then Subhadda, the wandering ascetic, drew near to the sal-tree grove Upavattana of the Mallas, and to where the venerable Ānanda was, and having drawn near, he spoke to the venerable Ānanda as follows: --

"Ānanda, I have heard wandering ascetics, that were old men, advanced in years, teachers, and teachers' teachers, declare, 'But seldom, and on rare occasions, does a Tathāgata,, a saint, and Supreme Buddha arise in the world.' And to-night, in the last watch, the monk Gotama will pass into Nirvana. And a certain doubt has arisen in my mind, and I am persuaded of the monk Gotama that he can so teach [104] me the Doctrine that I shall be relieved of this my doubt. Let me, then, Ānanda, have an opportunity of seeing the monk Gotama."

When Subhadda, the wandering ascetic, had so spoken, the venerable Ānanda spoke to him as follows: --

"Enough of that, brother Subhadda; trouble not The Tathāgata,. The Blessed One is weary."

And a second time Subhadda, the wandering ascetic, . . .

And a third time Subhadda, the wandering ascetic, spoke to the venerable Ānanda as follows: --

"Ānanda, I have heard wandering ascetics, old men, advanced in years, teachers, and teachers' teachers, when they said, 'But seldom, and on rare occasions, does a Tathāgata,, a saint, and Supreme Buddha arise in the world.' And to-night, in the last watch, the monk Gotama will pass into Nirvana. And a certain doubt has arisen in my mind, and I am persuaded of the monk Gotama that he can so teach me the Doctrine that I shall be relieved of this my doubt. Let me, then, Ānanda, have an opportunity of seeing the monk Gotama."

And a third time the venerable Ānanda spoke to Subhadda, the wandering ascetic, as follows: --

"Enough of that, brother Subhadda; trouble not The Tathāgata,. The Blessed One is weary."

Now The Blessed One chanced to hear the conversation between the venerable Ānanda and the wandering ascetic Subhadda. And The Blessed One called to the venerable Ānanda: --

"Enough, Ānanda; hinder not Subhadda. Let Subhadda, Ānanda, have an opportunity of beholding The Tathāgata,. Whatever Subhadda shall ask of me, he will ask for the sake of information, and not for the sake of troubling me, and he will quickly understand my answers to his questions."

Then the venerable Ānanda spoke to Subhadda, the wandering ascetic, as follows: --

"You may come, brother Subhadda; The Blessed One grants you an audience."

Then Subhadda, the wandering ascetic, drew near to [105] where The Blessed One was; and having drawn near, he exchanged greetings with The Blessed One; and having passed with him the greetings of friendship and civility, he sat down respectfully at one side. And seated respectfully at one side, Subhadda, the wandering ascetic, spoke to The Blessed One as follows: --

"Gotama, all those monks and Brahmans who possess a large following and crowds of hearers and disciples, and who are distinguished, renowned leaders of sects, and highly esteemed by the multitudes, -- to wit, Pūrana Kassapa, Makkhali Gosāla, Ajita Kesakambali, Pakudha Kaccāyana, Sañjaya Belatthiputta, Nigantha Nāthaputta, -- have they all done as they maintain, discovered the truth, or have they not? or have some of them done so, and others not?"

"Enough, O Subhadda; let us leave the question, 'Have they all done as they maintain, discovered the truth, or have they not? or have some of them done so, and others not?' The Doctrine will I teach you, Subhadda. Listen to me, and pay strict attention, and I will speak."

"Yes, Reverend Sir," said Subhadda, the wandering ascetic, to The Blessed One in assent. And The Blessed One spoke as follows: --

"Subhadda, in whatever doctrine and discipline the noble eightfold path is not found, therein also is not found the monk of the first degree, nor the monk of the second degree, nor the monk of the third degree, nor the monk of the fourth degree; and in whatever doctrine and discipline, O Subhadda, the noble eightfold path is found, therein also are found the monk of the first degree, and the monk of the second degree, and the monk of the third degree, and the monk of the fourth degree. Now in this Doctrine and Discipline, O Subhadda, the noble eightfold path is found: and therein alone, O Subhadda, are found the monk of the first degree, and the monk of the second degree, and the monk of the third degree, and the monk of the fourth degree. Destitute of true monks are all other creeds. But let these my priests, O Subhadda, live rightly, and the world will not be destitute of saints.

[106]

"What time my age was twenty-nine, Subhadda,
I left the world to seek the summum bonum.
Now fifty years and more have passed, Subhadda,
Since I renounced the world and lived ascetic
Within the Doctrine's pale, that rule of conduct
Outside of which no genuine monk existeth,

nor the monk of the second degree, nor the monk of the third degree, nor the monk of the fourth degree. Destitute of monks are all other creeds. But let these my priests, O Subhadda, live rightly, and the world will not be destitute of saints."

When The Blessed One had thus spoken, Subhadda, the wandering ascetic, spoke to him as follows: --

"O wonderful is it, Reverend Sir! O wonderful is it, Reverend Sir! It is as if, Reverend Sir, one were to set up that which was overturned, or were to disclose that which was hidden, or were to point out the way to a lost traveller, or were to carry a lamp into a dark place that they who had eyes might see forms. Even so has The Blessed One expounded the Doctrine in many different ways. Reverend Sir, I betake myself to The Blessed One for refuge, to the Doctrine, and to the Congregation of the priests. Suffer me to retire from the world under The Blessed One; suffer me to receive ordination."

"Subhadda, any one who aforetime has been an adherent of another sect and afterwards desires to retire from the world and receive ordination under this Doctrine and Discipline, must first spend four months on probation; and after the lapse of four months, strenuous-minded priests receive him into the Order and confer on him the priestly ordination. Nevertheless, in this matter of probation I recognize a difference in persons."

"Reverend Sir, if all they who aforetime have been adherents of other sects and afterwards desire to retire from the world and receive ordination under this Doctrine and Discipline, must first spend four months on probation, and after the lapse of four months strenuous-minded priests receive them into the Order, and confer on them the priestly ordination, [107] then am I ready to spend four years on probation, and after the lapse of four years, let strenuous-minded priests' receive me into the Order and confer on me the priestly ordination."

Then The Blessed One said to the venerable Ānanda,

"Well, then, Ānanda, receive Subhadda into the Order."

"Yes, Reverend Sir," said the venerable Ānanda to The Blessed One in assent.

Then Subhadda, the wandering ascetic, spoke to the venerable Ānanda as follows: --

"How fortunate you priests are, brother Ānanda! How supremely fortunate, brother Ānanda, that you all have been sprinkled with the sprinkling of discipleship at the hands of The Teacher himself."

And Subhadda, the wandering ascetic, retired from the world under The Blessed One, and received ordination. And without delay, after he had received ordination, the venerable Subhadda began to live solitary and retired, vigilant, strenuous, and zealous; and in no long time, and while yet alive, he came to learn for himself, and to realize, and to live in the possession of that highest good to which the holy life conducts, and for the sake of which youths of good family so nobly retire from the household life to the houseless one. And he knew that for him rebirth was exhausted, that he had lived the holy life, that he had done what it behooved him to do, and that he was no more for this world. So the venerable Subhadda became of the number of the saints, and he was the last disciple made by The Blessed One himself.

End of the Hiraññavatī Recitation, which is the Fifth.

Then The Blessed One addressed the venerable Ānanda: --

"It may be, Ānanda, that some of you will think, 'The word of The Teacher is a thing of the past; we have now no Teacher.' But that, Ānanda, is not the correct view. The Doctrine and Discipline, Ānanda, which I have taught and enjoined upon you is to be your teacher when I am gone. But whereas now, Ānanda, all the priests address each other with the title of 'brother,' not so must they address each other after I am gone. A senior priest, [108] a junior priest either by his given name, or by his family name, or by the title of 'brother;' a junior priest is to address a senior priest with the title 'reverend sir,' or 'venerable.' If the Order, Ānanda, wish to do so, after I am gone they may abrogate all the lesser and minor precepts. On Channa,[3] Ānanda, after I am gone, the higher penalty is to be inflicted."

"Reverend Sir, what is this higher penalty?"

"Let Channa, Ānanda, say what he likes, he is not to be spoken to nor admonished nor instructed by the priests."

Then The Blessed One addressed the priests: --

"It may be, O priests, that some priest has a doubt or perplexity respecting either The Buddha or the Doctrine or the Order or the Path or the course of conduct. Ask any questions, O priests, and suffer not that afterwards ye feel remorse, saying, 'Our Teacher was present with us, but we failed to ask him all our questions.'"

When he had so spoken, the priests remained silent.

And a second time The Blessed One, and a third time The Blessed One addressed the priests: --

"It may be, O priests, that some priest has a doubt or perplexity respecting either The Buddha or the Doctrine or the Order or the Path or the course of conduct. Ask any question, O priests, and suffer not that afterwards ye feel remorse, saying, 'Our Teacher was present with us, but we failed to ask him all our questions.'"

And a third time the priests remained silent.

Then The Blessed One addressed the priests: --

"It may be, O priests, that it is out of respect to The Teacher that ye ask no questions. Then let each one speak to his friend."

And when he had thus spoken, the priests remained silent.

Then the venerable Ānanda spoke to The Blessed One as follows: --

"It is wonderful, Reverend Sir! It is marvellous, Reverend [109] Sir! Reverend Sir, I have faith to believe that in this congregation of priests not a single priest has a doubt or perplexity respecting either The Buddha or the Doctrine or the Order or the Path or the course of conduct."

"With you, Ānanda, it is a matter of faith, when you say that; but with The Tathāgata,, Ānanda, it is a matter of knowledge that in this congregation of priests not a single priest has a doubt or perplexity respecting either The Buddha or the Doctrine or the Order or the Path or the course of conduct. For of all these five hundred priests, Ānanda, the most backward one has become converted, and is not liable to pass into a lower state of existence, but is destined necessarily to attain supreme wisdom."

Then The Blessed One addressed the priests: --

"And now, O priests, I take my leave of you; all the constituents of being are transitory; work out your salvation with diligence."

And this was the last word of The Tathāgata,.

Thereupon The Blessed One entered the first trance; and rising from the first trance, he entered the second trance; and rising from the second trance, he entered the third trance; and rising from the third trance, he entered the fourth trance; and rising from the fourth trance, he entered the realm of the infinity of space; and rising from the realm of the infinity of space, he entered the realm of the infinity of consciousness; and rising from the realm of the infinity of consciousness, he entered the realm of nothingness; and rising from the realm of nothingness, he entered the realm of neither perception nor yet non-perception; and rising from the realm of neither perception nor yet non-perception, he arrived at the cessation of perception and sensation.

Thereupon the venerable Ānanda spoke to the venerable Anuruddha as follows:--

"Reverend Anuruddha, The Blessed One has passed into Nirvana."

"Nay, brother Ānanda, The Blessed One has not passed into Nirvana; he has arrived at the cessation of perception and sensation."

[110] Thereupon The Blessed One rising from the cessation of his perception and sensation, entered the realm of neither perception nor yet non-perception; and rising from the realm of neither perception nor yet non-perception, he entered the realm of nothingness; and rising from the realm of nothingness, he entered the realm of the infinity of consciousness; and rising from the realm of the infinity of consciousness, he entered the realm of the infinity of space; and rising from the realm of the infinity of space, he entered the fourth trance; and rising from the fourth trance, he entered the third trance; and rising from the third trance, he entered the second trance; and rising from the second trance, he entered the first trance; and rising from the first trance, he entered the second trance; and rising from the second trance, he entered the third trance; and rising from the third trance, he entered the fourth trance; and rising from the fourth trance, immediately The Blessed One passed into Nirvana.


[1]Tathāgata, is a term most commonly used by The Buddha in referring to himself. Its meaning, like that of its Jaina equivalent Tatthagaya, possibly is, "He who has arrived there (tatra or tattha), i.e. to emancipation or Nirvana." See "Sacred Books of the East," vol. xiii. p. 82.

[2]The wheel of empire, the elephant, the horse, the gem, the empress, the treasurer, and the crown-prince.

[3]Not the Channa who had been the Future Buddha's charioteer.


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