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[112]

 

Buddhist Suttas
Translated from Pāli by T. W. Rhys Davids

Oxford, the Clarendon Press
1881
Vol. XI of The Sacred Books of the East
translated by various Oriental scholars and edited by F. Max Müller

I
The Book of the Great Decease

Public Domain
This work has been reformatted for presentation on BuddhaDust
Thanks to J.B. Hare's Internet Sacred Text Archives for originally posting this material
Digitized and formatted for Internet Sacred Text Archives by Cristopher M. Weimer


Mahā Parinibbāna Sutta
The Book of the Great Decease

Chapter VI.

1. Now the Blessed One addressed the venerable Ānanda, and said: 'It may be, Ānanda, that in some of you the thought may arise, "The word of the Master is ended, we have no teacher more!" But it is not thus, Ānanda, that you should regard it. The truths and the rules of the order which I have set forth and laid down for you all, let them, after I am gone, be the Teacher to you.'

 


 

2. 'Ānanda! when I am gone address not one another in the way in which the brethren have heretofore addressed each other — with the epithet, that is, of "Āvuso" (Friend). A younger brother may be addressed by an elder with his name, or his family name, or the title "Friend." But an elder should be addressed by a younger brother as "Lord" or as "Venerable Sir."

 


 

3. 'When I am gone, Ānanda, let the order, if it should so wish, abolish all the lesser and minor precepts[1].'

 


 

4. 'When I am gone, Ānanda, let the higher penalty be imposed on brother Channa.'

'But what, Lord, is the higher penalty?'

[113]'Let Channa say whatever he may like, Ānanda, the brethren should neither speak to him, nor exhort him, nor admonish him[2].'

 


 

5. Then the Blessed One addressed the brethren, and said: 'It may be, brethren, that there may be doubt or misgiving in the mind of some brother as to the Buddha, or the truth, or the path, or the way. Enquire, brethren, freely. Do not have to reproach yourselves afterwards with the thought, "Our teacher was face-to-face with us, and we could not bring ourselves to enquire of the Blessed One when we were face-to-face with him."'

And when he had thus spoken the brethren were silent.

6. And again the second and the third time the Blessed One addressed the brethren, and said: 'It may be, brethren, that there may be doubt or misgiving in the mind of some brother as to the Buddha, or the truth, or the path, or the way. Enquire, brethren, freely. Do not have to reproach yourselves afterwards with the thought, "Our teacher was face-to-face with us, and we could not bring ourselves to enquire of the Blessed One when we were face-to-face with him."'

And even the third time the brethren were silent.

[114] 7. Then the Blessed One addressed the brethren, and said: 'It may be, brethren, that you put no questions out of reverence for the teacher. Let one friend communicate to another.'

And when he had thus spoken the brethren were silent.

8. And the venerable Ānanda said to the Blessed One: 'How wonderful a thing is it, Lord, and how marvellous! Verily, I believe that in this whole assembly of the brethren there is not one brother who has any doubt or misgiving as to the Buddha, or the truth, or the path, or the way!'

9. 'It is out of the fulness of faith that thou hast spoken, Ānanda! But, Ānanda, the Tathāgata knows for certain that in this whole assembly of the brethren there is not one brother who has any doubt or misgiving as to the Buddha, or the truth, or the path, or the way! For even the most backward, Ānanda, of all these five hundred brethren has become converted, and is no longer liable to be born in a state of suffering, and is assured of final salvation[3].'

 


 

10. Then the Blessed One addressed the brethren, and said, 'Behold now, brethren, I exhort you, saying, "Decay is inherent in all component things! Work out your salvation with diligence!"'

This was the last word of the Tathāgata!

 


 

11. Then the Blessed One entered into the first [115] stage of deep meditation[4]. And rising out of the first stage he passed into the second. And rising out of the second he passed into the third. And rising out of the third stage he passed into the fourth. And rising out of the fourth stage of deep meditation he entered into the state of mind to which the infinity of space is alone present[5]. And passing out of the mere consciousness of the infinity of space he entered into the state of mind to which the infinity of thought is alone present. And passing out of the mere consciousness of the infinity of thought he entered into a state of mind to which nothing at all was specially present. And passing out of the consciousness of no special object he fell into a state between consciousness and unconsciousness. And passing out of the state between consciousness and unconsciousness he fell into a state in which the consciousness both of sensations and of ideas had wholly passed away.

12. Then the venerable Ānanda said to the venerable Anuruddha: 'O my Lord, O Anuruddha, the Blessed One is dead!'

'Nay! brother Ānanda, the Blessed One is not dead. He has entered into that state in which both sensations and ideas have ceased to be!'

13. Then the Blessed One passing out of the state in which both sensations and ideas have ceased to be, entered into the state between consciousness and unconsciousness. And passing out of the state between consciousness and unconsciousness he entered into the state of mind to [116] which nothing at all is specially present. And passing out of the consciousness of no special object he entered into the state of mind to which the infinity of thought is alone present. And passing out of the mere consciousness of the infinity of thought he entered into the state of mind to which the infinity of space is alone present. And passing out of the mere consciousness of the infinity of space he entered into the fourth stage of deep meditation. And passing out of the fourth stage he entered into the third. And passing out of the third stage he entered into the second. And passing out of the second he entered into the first. And passing out of the first stage of deep meditation he entered into the second. And passing out of the second stage he entered into the third. And passing out of the third stage he entered into the fourth stage of deep meditation. And passing out of the last stage of deep meditation he immediately expired.

 


 

14. When the Blessed One died there arose, at the moment of his passing out of existence, a mighty earthquake, terrible and awe-inspiring and the thunders of heaven burst forth.

15. When the Blessed One died, Brahmā Sahampati, at the moment of his passing away from existence, uttered this stanza:

'They all, all beings that have life, shall lay
Aside their complex form — that aggregation
Of mental and material qualities,
That gives them, or in heaven or on earth,
Their fleeting individuality!
E'en as the teacher — being such a one,
[117] Unequalled among all the men that are,
Successor of the prophets of old time,
Mighty by wisdom, and in insight clear —
Hath died[6]!'

16. When the Blessed One died, Sakka, the king of the gods, at the moment of his passing away from existence, uttered this stanza:

'They're transient all, each being's parts and powers,
Growth is their nature, and decay.
They are produced, they are dissolved again:
And then is best, when they have sunk to rest[7]!'

[118] 17. When the Blessed One died, the venerable Anuruddha, at the moment of his passing away from existence, uttered these stanzas:

'When he who from all craving want was free,
Who to Nirvāṇa's tranquil state had reached,
When the great sage finished his span of life,
No gasping struggle vexed that steadfast heart!
 
All resolute, and with unshaken mind,
He calmly triumphed o'er the pain of death.
E'en as a bright flame dies away, so was
His last deliverance from the bonds of life[8]!'

18. When the Blessed One died, the venerable Ānanda, at the moment of his passing away from existence, uttered this stanza:

'Then was there terror!
Then stood the hair on end!
When he endowed with every grace —
The supreme Buddha — died[9]!'

[119] 19[10]. When the Blessed One died, of those of the brethren who were not yet free from the passions, some stretched out their arms and wept, and some fell headlong on the ground, rolling to and fro in anguish at the thought 'Too soon has the Blessed One died! Too soon has the Happy One passed away from existence! Too soon has the Light gone out in the world!'

But those of the brethren who were free from the passions (the Arahats) bore their grief collected and composed at the thought 'Impermanent are all component things! How is it possible that [they should not be dissolved]?'

20. Then the venerable Anuruddha exhorted the brethren, and said: 'Enough, my brethren! Weep not, neither lament! Has not the Blessed One formerly declared this to us, 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 then, brethren, can this be possible — that whereas anything whatever born, brought into being, and organised, contains within itself the inherent necessity of dissolution — how then can this be possible that such a being should not be dissolved? No such condition can exist! Even the spirits, brethren, will reproach us[11].'

[120]'But of what kind of spirits is the Lord, the venerable Anuruddha, thinking?'

21. 'There are spirits, brother Ānanda, in the sky, but of worldly mind, who dishevel their hair and weep, and stretch forth their arms and weep, fall prostrate on the ground, and roll to and fro in anguish at the thought: "Too soon has the [121] Blessed One died! Too soon has the Happy One passed away! Too soon has the Light gone out in the world!"'

'There are spirits, too, Ānanda, on the earth, and of worldly mind, who tear their hair and weep, and stretch forth their arms and weep, fall prostrate on the ground, and roll to and fro in anguish at the thought: "Too soon has the Blessed one died! Too soon has the Happy One passed away! Too soon has the Light gone out in the world!"

'But the spirits who are free from passion bear it, calm and self-possessed, mindful of the saying which begins, "Impermanent indeed are all component things. How then is it possible [that such a being should not be dissolved]?"'

 


 

22. Now the venerable Anuruddha and the venerable Ānanda spent the rest of that night in religious discourse. Then the venerable Anuruddha said to the venerable Ānanda: 'Go now, brother Ānanda, into Kusinārā and inform the Mallas of Kusinārā, saying, 'The Blessed One, O Vāseṭṭhas, is dead: do, then, whatever seemeth to you fit!'

'Even so, Lord!' said the venerable Ānanda, in assent, to the venerable Anuruddha. And having robed himself early in the morning, he took his bowl, and went into Kusinārā with one of the brethren as an attendant.

23. Now at that time the Mallas of Kusinārā were assembled in the council hall concerning that very matter.

And the venerable Ānanda went to the council hall of the Mallas of Kusinārā; and when he had arrived there, he informed them, saying, 'The [122] Blessed One, O Vāseṭṭhas, is dead; do, then, whatever seemeth to you fit!'

24. And when they had heard this saying of the venerable Ānanda, the Mallas, with their young men and their maidens and their wives, were grieved, and sad, and afflicted at heart. And some of them wept, dishevelling their hair, and some stretched forth their arms and wept, and some fell prostrate on the ground, and some reeled to and fro in anguish at the thought: 'Too soon has the Blessed One died! Too soon has the Happy One passed away! Too soon has the Light gone out in the world!'

 


 

25. Then the Mallas of Kusinārā gave orders to their attendants, saying, 'Gather together perfumes and garlands, and all the music in Kusinārā!'

26. And the Mallas of Kusinārā took the perfumes and garlands, and all the musical instruments, and five hundred suits of apparel, and went to the Upavattana, to the Sāla Grove of the Mallas, where the body of the Blessed One lay. There they past the day in paying honour, reverence, respect, and homage to the remains of the Blessed One with dancing, and hymns, and music, and with garlands and perfumes; and in making canopies of their garments, and preparing decoration wreaths to hang thereon[12].

[123]27. Then the Mallas of Kusinārā thought:

'It is much too late to burn the body of the Blessed One to-day. Let us now perform the cremation to-morrow.' And in paying honour, reverence, respect, and homage to the remains of the Blessed One with dancing, and hymns, and music, and with garlands and perfumes; and in making canopies of their garments, and preparing decoration wreaths to hang thereon, they past the second day too, and then the third day, and the fourth, and the fifth, and the sixth day also.

 


 

28. Then on the seventh day the Mallas of Kusinārā thought:

'Let us carry the body of the Blessed One, by the south and outside, to a spot on the south, and outside of the city, — paying it honour, and reverence, and respect, and homage, with dance and song and music, with garlands and perfumes, — and there, to the south of the city, let us perform the cremation ceremony!'

29. And thereupon eight chieftains among the Mallas bathed their heads, and clad themselves in new garments with the intention of bearing the body of the Blessed One. But, behold, they could not lift it up!

30. Then the Mallas of Kusinārā said to the venerable Anuruddha: 'What, Lord, can be the reason, what can be the cause that eight chieftains of the Mallas who have bathed their heads, and clad themselves in new garments with the intention [124] of bearing the body of the Blessed One, are unable to lift it up?'

'It is because you, O Vāseṭṭhas, have one purpose, and the spirits have another purpose.'

31. 'But what, Lord, is the purpose of the spirits?'

'Your purpose, O Vāsetthas, is this, Let us carry the body of the Blessed One, by the south and outside, to a spot on the south, and outside of the city, — paying it honour, and reverence, and respect, and homage, with dance and song and music, with garlands and perfumes, — and there, to the south of the city, let us perform the cremation ceremony. But the purpose of the spirits, Vāseṭṭhas, is this, Let us carry the body of the Blessed One by the north to the north of the city, and entering the city by the north gate, let us bring it through the midst of the city into the midst thereof. And going out again by the eastern gate, — paying honour, and reverence, and respect, and homage to the body of the Blessed One, with heavenly dance, and song, and music, and garlands, and perfumes, — let us carry it to the shrine of the Mallas called Makuṭa-bandhana, to the east of the city, and there let us perform the cremation ceremony.'

'Even according to the purpose of the spirits, so, Lord, let it be!'

32. Then immediately all Kusinārā down even to the dust bins and rubbish heaps became strewn knee-deep with Mandārava flowers from heaven! and while both the spirits from the skies, and the Mallas of Kusinārā upon earth, paid honour, and reverence, and respect, and homage to the body of the Blessed One, with dance and song and music, with garlands and with perfumes, they carried the [125] body by the north to the north of the city; and entering the city by the north gate they carried it through the midst of the city into the midst thereof; and going out again by the eastern gate they carried it to the shrine of the Mallas, called Makuṭa-bandhana; and there, to the cast of the city, they laid down the body of the Blessed One[13].

33.[14] Then the Mallas of Kusinārā said to the venerable Ānanda: 'What should be done, Lord, with the remains of the Tathāgata?'

'As men treat the remains of a king of kings, so, Vāseṭṭhas, should they treat the remains of a Tathāgata.'

'And how, Lord, do they treat the remains of a king of kings?'

'They wrap the body of a king of kings, Vāseṭṭhas, in a new cloth. When that is done they wrap it in cotton wool. When that is done they wrap it in a new cloth, — and so on till they have wrapped the body in five hundred successive layers of both kinds. Then they place the body in an oil vessel of iron, and cover that close up with another oil vessel of iron. They then build a funeral pile of all kinds of perfumes, and burn the body of the king of kings. And then at the four cross roads they erect a dāgaba to the king of kings. This, Vāseṭṭhas, is the way in which they treat the remains of a king of kings.

'And as they treat the remains of a king of kings, so, Vāseṭṭhas, should they treat the remains of the [126] Tathāgata. At the four cross roads a dāgaba should be erected to the Tathāgata. And whosoever shall there place garlands or perfumes or paint, or make salutation there, or become in its presence calm in heart-that shall long be to them for a profit and a joy.'

34. Therefore the Mallas gave orders to their attendants, saying, 'Gather together all the carded cotton wool of the Mallas!'

35. Then the Mallas of Kusinārā wrapped the body of the Blessed One in a new cloth. And when that was done, they wrapped it in cotton wool. And when that was done, they wrapped it in a new cloth, — and so on till they had wrapped the body of the Blessed One in five hundred layers of both kinds. And then they placed the body in an oil vessel of iron, and covered that close up with another oil vessel of iron. And then they built a funeral pile of all kinds of perfumes, and upon it they placed the body of the Blessed One.

36. Now at that time the venerable Mahā Kassapa was journeying along the high road from Pāvā to Kusinārā with a great company of the brethren, with about five hundred of the brethren. And the venerable Mahā Kassapa left the high road, and sat himself down at the foot of a certain tree.

37. Just at that time a certain naked ascetic who had picked up a Mandārava flower in Kusinārā was coming along the high road to Pāvā.

38. And the venerable Mahā Kassapa saw the naked ascetic coming in the distance; and when he had seen him he said to the naked ascetic:

'O friend! surely thou knowest our Master?'

[127] 'Yea, friend! I know him. This day the Samaṇa Gotama has been dead a week That is how I obtained this Mandārava flower.'

39. And immediately of those of the brethren who were not yet free from the passions, some stretched out their arms and wept, and some fell headlong on the ground, and some reeled to and fro in anguish at the thought: 'Too soon has the Blessed One died! Too soon has the Happy One passed away from existence! Too soon has the Light gone out in the world!'

But those of the brethren who were free from the passions (the Arahats) bore their grief collected and composed at the thought: 'Impermanent are all component things! How is it possible that they should not be dissolved?'

 


 

40. Now at that time a brother named Subhadda, who had been received into the order in his old age, was seated there in their company[15].

And Subhadda the old addressed the brethren, and said: 'Enough, brethren! Weep not, neither lament! We are well rid of the great Samaṇa. We used to be annoyed by being told, "This beseems you, this beseems you not." But now we shall be able to do whatever we like; and what we do not like, that we shall not have to do!'

[128] 41. But the venerable Mahā Kassapa addressed the brethren, and said: 'Enough, my brethren! Weep not, neither lament! Has not the Blessed One formerly declared this to us, 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 then, brethren, can this be possible — that whereas anything whatever born, brought into being, and organised contains within itself the inherent necessity of dissolution — how then can this be possible that such a being should not be dissolved? No such condition can exist!'

 


 

42. Now just at that time four chieftains of the Mallas had bathed their heads and clad themselves in new garments with the intention of setting on fire the funeral pile of the Blessed One. But, behold, they were unable to set it alight!

43. Then the Mallas of Kusinārā said to the venerable Anuruddha: 'What, Lord, can be the reason, and what the cause, that four chieftains of the Mallas who have bathed their heads, and clad themselves in new garments, with the intention of setting on fire the funeral pile of the Blessed One, are unable to set it on fire?'

'It is because you, O Vāseṭṭhas, have one purpose, and the spirits have another purpose.'

44. 'But what, Lord, is the purpose of the spirits?'

'The purpose of the spirits, O Vāseṭṭhas, is this: That venerable brother Mahā Kassapa is now journeying along the high road from Pāvā to Kusinārā with a great company of the brethren, with five hundred of the brethren. The funeral pile of [129] the Blessed One shall not catch fire, until the venerable Mahā Kassapa shall have been able reverently to salute the sacred feet of the Blessed One.'

'Even according to the purpose of the spirits, so, Lord, let it be!'

 


 

45. Then the venerable Mahā Kassapa went on to Makuṭa-bandhana of Kusinārā, to the shrine of the Mallas, to the place where the funeral pile of the Blessed One was. And when he had come up to it, he arranged his robe on one shoulder; and bowing down with clasped hands he thrice walked reverently round the pile; and then, uncovering the feet, he bowed down in reverence at the feet of the Blessed One.

46. And those five hundred brethren arranged their robes on one shoulder; and bowing down with clasped hands, they thrice walked reverently round the pile, and then bowed down in reverence at the feet of the Blessed One.

47. And when the homage of the venerable Mahā Kassapa and of those five hundred brethren was ended, the funeral pile of the Blessed One caught fire of itself[16].

[130]48. Now as the body of the Blessed One burned itself away, from the skin and the integument, and the flesh, and the nerves, and the fluid of the joints, neither soot nor ash was seen: and only the bones remained behind.

Just as one sees no soot or ash when glue or oil is burned; so, as the body of the Blessed One burned itself away, from the skin and the integument, and the flesh, and the nerves, and the fluid of the joints, neither soot nor ash was seen: and only the bones remained behind. And of those five hundred pieces of raiment the very innermost and outermost were both consumed.

49. And when the body of the Blessed One had been burnt up, there came down streams of water from the sky and extinguished the funeral pile of the Blessed One; and there burst forth streams of water from the storehouse of the waters (beneath the earth), and extinguished the funeral pile of the Blessed One. The Mallas of Kusinārā also brought water scented with all kinds of perfumes, and extinguished the funeral pile of the Blessed One[17].

[131] 50. Then the Mallas of Kusinārā surrounded the bones of the Blessed One in their council hall with a lattice work of spears, and with a rampart of bows; and there for seven days they paid honour and reverence and respect and homage to them with dance and song and music, and with garlands and perfumes.

 


 

51. Now the king of Magadha, Ajātasattu, the son of the queen of the Videha clan, heard the news that the Blessed One had died at Kusinārā.

Then the king of Magadha, Ajātasattu, the son of the queen of the Videha clan, sent a messenger to the Mallas, saying, 'The Blessed One belonged to the soldier caste, and I too am of the soldier caste. I am worthy to receive a portion of the relics of the Blessed One. Over the remains of the Blessed One will I put up a sacred cairn, and in their honour will I celebrate a feast[18]!'

52. And the Likkhavis of Vesāli heard the news that the Blessed One had died at Kusinārā. And the Likkhavis of Vesāli sent a messenger to the Mallas, saying, 'The Blessed One belonged to the soldier caste, and we too are of the soldier caste. We are worthy to receive a portion of the relics of the Blessed One. Over the remains of the Blessed One will we put up a sacred cairn, and in their honour will we celebrate a feast!'

53. And the Sākiyas of Kapila-vatthu heard the [132] news that the Blessed One had died at Kusinārā. And the Sākiyas of Kapila-vatthu sent a messenger to the Mallas, saying, 'The Blessed One was the pride of our race. We are worthy to receive a portion of the relics of the Blessed One. Over the remains of the Blessed One will we put up a sacred cairn, and in their honour will we celebrate a feast!'

54. And the Bulis of Allakappa heard the news that the Blessed One had died at Kusinārā. And the Bulis of Allakappa sent a messenger to the Mallas, saying, 'The Blessed One belonged to the soldier caste, and we too are of the soldier caste. We are worthy to receive a portion of the relics of the Blessed One. Over the remains of the Blessed One will we put up a sacred cairn, and in their honour will we celebrate a feast!'

55. And the Koliyas of Rāmagāma heard the news that the Blessed One had died at Kusinārā. And the Koliyas of Rāmagāma sent a messenger to the Mallas, saying, 'The Blessed One belonged to the soldier caste, and we too are of the soldier caste. We are worthy to receive a portion of the relics of the Blessed One. Over the remains of the Blessed One will we put up a sacred cairn, and in their honour will we celebrate a feast!'

56. And the Brāhman of Veṭhadīpa heard the news that the Blessed One had died at Kusinārā. And the Brāhman of Veṭhadīpa sent a messenger to the Mallas, saying, 'The Blessed One belonged to the soldier caste, and I am a Brāhman. I am worthy to receive a portion of the relics of the Blessed One. Over the remains of the Blessed One will I put up a sacred cairn, and in their honour will I celebrate a feast!'

[133]57. And the Mallas of Pāvā heard the news that the Blessed One had died at Kusinārā. Then the Mallas of Pāvā sent a messenger to the Mallas, saying, 'The Blessed One belonged to the soldier caste, and we too are of the soldier caste. We are worthy to receive a portion of the relics of the Blessed One. Over the remains of the Blessed One will we put up a sacred cairn, and in their honour will we celebrate a feast!'

 


 

58. When they heard these things the Mallas of Kusinārā spoke to the assembled brethren, saying, 'The Blessed One died in our village domain. We will not give away any part of the remains of the Blessed One!'

59. When they had thus spoken, Doṇa the Brāhman addressed the assembled brethren, and said:

'Hear, reverend sirs, one single word from me.
Forbearance was our Buddha wont to teach.
Unseemly is it that over the division
Of the remains of him who was the best of beings
Strife should arise, and wounds, and war!
Let us all, sirs, with one accord unite
In friendly harmony to make eight portions.
Wide spread let Thūpas rise in every land
That in the Enlightened One mankind may trust!

60. 'Do thou then, O Brāhman, thyself divide the remains of the Blessed One equally into eight parts, with fair division[19].'

Be it so, sir!' said Doṇa, in assent, to the assembled [134] brethren. And he divided the remains of the Blessed One equally into eight parts, with fair division. And he said to them: 'Give me, sirs, this vessel, and I will set up over it a sacred cairn, and in its honour will I establish a feast.'

And they gave the vessel to Doṇa the Brāhman.

 


 

61. And the Moriyas of Pipphalivana heard the news that the Blessed One had died at Kusinārā.

Then the Moriyas of Pipphalivana sent a messenger to the Mallas, saying, 'The Blessed One belonged to the soldier caste, and we too are of the soldier caste. We are worthy to receive a portion of the relics of the Blessed One. Over the remains of the Blessed One will we put up a sacred cairn, and in their honour will we celebrate a feast!'

And when they heard the answer, saying, 'There is no portion of the remains of the Blessed One left over. The remains of the Blessed One are all distributed,' then they took away the embers.

 


 

62. Then the king of Magadha, Ajātasattu, the son of the queen of the Videha clan, made a mound in Rājagaha over the remains of the Blessed One, and held a feast.

And the Likkhavis of Vesāli made a mound in Vesāli over the remains of the Blessed One, and held a feast.

And the Bulis of Allakappa made a mound in Allakappa over the remains of the Blessed One, and held a feast.

And the Koliyas of Rāmagāma made a mound in Rāmagāma over the remains of the Blessed One, and held a feast.

[135]And Veṭhadīpaka the Brāhman made a mound in Veṭhadīpa over the remains of the Blessed One, and held a feast.

And the Mallas of Pāvā made a mound in Pāvā over the remains of the Blessed One, and held a feast.

And the Mallas of Kusinārā made a mound in Kusinārā over the remains of the Blessed One, and held a feast.

And Doṇa the Brāhman made a mound over the vessel in which the body had been burnt, and held a feast.

And the Moriyas of Pipphalivana made a mound over the embers, and held a feast.

Thus were there eight mounds [Thūpas] for the remains, and one for the vessel, and one for the embers. This was how it used to be[20].

 


 

63. Eight measures of relics there were of him of the far-seeing eye,
Of the best of the best of men. In India seven are worshipped,
And one measure in Rāmagāma, by the kings of the serpent race.
One tooth, too, is honoured in heaven, and one in Gandhāra's city,
One in the Kālinga realm, and one more by the Nāga race.

[136]Through their glory the bountiful earth is made bright with offerings painless —
For with such are the Great Teacher's relics best honoured by those who are honoured,
By gods and by Nāgas and kings, yea, thus by the noblest of Monarchs —
Bow down with clasped hands!
Hard, hard is a Buddha to meet with through hundreds of ages!

 


 

END OF THE SIXTH PORTION FOR RECITATION

END OF THE MAHĀ PARINIBBĀNA SUTTA

 


 

 


[1]In Kulla Vagga XI, 1, 9, 10, is related how the brotherhood formally considered the permission thus accorded to them, and resolved to adhere to all the precepts as laid down in the Buddha's lifetime. In his comment on this passage Buddhaghosa incidentally refers to a conversation on the subject between Nāgasena and Milinda Rāja, but makes no mention of the work known as Milinda Pañha. Compare Trenckner's edition of that work, p. 142.]

[2]Compare Culla Vagga I, 25-31: IV, 14, 1: XI, 1, 12-14. Channa is represented as an obstinate, perverse man; so destitute of the proper 'esprit de corps' that he dared to take part with the sisterhood, and against the brotherhood, in a dispute which had arisen between them. But after the social penalty here referred to had been duly imposed upon him, even his proud and independent spirit was tamed; he became humble: his eyes were opened; and he, also, attained to the 'supreme goal' of the Buddhist faith.]

[3]Compare above, Chap. II, Ī 7. By 'the most backward,' according to Buddhaghosa, the Blessed One referred to Ānanda, and he said this to encourage him.]

[4]Jhāna, the full text and an explanation of which will be found in the translator's 'Buddhism,' pp. 174-176.

[5]Compare above, Chap. III, ĪĪ 37-42.

[6]Brahmā, the first cause, the highest result of Indian theological speculation, the one God of the Indian Pantheists, is represented as using expressions full of deep allusions to the most characteristic Buddhist doctrines. The Samussaya is the result of the temporary collocation of the 'aggregations' (khandhā) of mental and material qualities which give to each being (bhūto, that is, man, animal, god, ghost, fairy, or what not) its outward and visible shape, its individuality. Loka is here not the world in our sense, but the 'locality' in the Buddhist universe which such an individual occupies until it is dissolved. (Comp. Chap. II, ĪĪ 14, 34.) Brahmā appears therefore as a veritable Vibhajjavādī.

[7]On this celebrated verse see below the Introduction to Mahā-Sudassana Sutta. It must be the original of the first verse in the Chinese work, Fa Kheu Pi Hu (Beal, Dhammapada, p. 32), though it is there so changed that every clause has lost its point.

'Whatever exists is without endurance.
And hence the terms "flourishing" and "decaying."
A man is born, and then he dies.
Oh, the happiness of escaping from this condition!'

The very meaning which is here the most essential connotation of saŋkhārā is lost in the phrase 'whatever exists.' By a misapprehension of the, no doubt, difficult word Dhamma, which, however, never means 'term,' the second clause has lost its point. And by a grammatical blunder the third clause in the Chinese confines the doctrine, erroneously, to man. In a Chinese tale, called {footnote p. 118} Ngan shih niu, translated by Mr. Beal, in the Indian Antiquary for May, 1880, the following verses occur; and they are possibly another reflection of this stanza:

'All things that exist are transitory.
They must of necessity perish and disappear;
Though joined together, there must be separation;
Where there is life there must be death.'

[8]Cetaso Vimokho. Kenaci dhammena anāvaraṇa-vimokho sabbaso apaññatti-bhāvūpagamo, says Buddhaghosa; that is, 'the deliverance which is free from the restraint of each and every mental quality completely vanishing away' (dhammā being here = saññā and vedanā and saŋkhārā; see 'Buddhism,' pp. 91, 92). See also below, p. 153.

[9]In these four stanzas we seem to have the way in which the death of the Buddha would be regarded, as the early Buddhist thought, by four representative persons — the exalted God of the theologians; the Jupiter of the multitude (allowing in the case of {footnote p. 119} each of these for the change in character resulting from their conversion to Buddhism); the holy, thoughtful Arahat; and the loving, childlike disciple.

[10]Nearly = V, 11-14; and below, VI, 39.

[11]Ujjhāyanti. I have followed the reading of my own MS., which is confirmed by the Sumangala Vilāsinī and the Mālālaŋkāra-vatthu. Vijjhāyanti, which Childers reads, would be questionable Buddhism. The spirits do not become extinct; that is, not as a general rule, as would be implied by the absolute statement, {footnote p. 120} 'Even the spirits, brethren, become extinct.' It is no doubt true that all spirits, from the lowest to the highest, from the most insignificant fairy to the God of theological speculation, are regarded as temporary. But when they cease to exist as gods or spirits (devatā), they do not go out, they are not extinguished (vijjhāyanti); they continue to exist in some other form. And though that other form would, from the European point of view, be a different being, as there would be no continuity of consciousness, no passage of a 'soul' from the one to the other; it would, from the Buddhist point of view, be the same being, as it would be the resultant effect of the same Karma. There would follow on the death of a devatā, not extinction, but a transmutation of force, a transmigration of character, a passing on, an inheritance of Karma. Only in the exceedingly rare case of an anāgāmin, of which an instance will be found above, Chap. II, Ī 7, could it be said that a spirit becomes extinct.

The expression 'of worldly mind,' here and above in V, 11, is in Pāli paṭhavi-saññiniyo, an ambiguous phrase which has only been found in this connection. Buddhaghosa says merely, 'because they made (māpetvā) an earth in heaven.' This gloss again may be taken either in a figurative or in a literal sense; but, if not impossible, it is at least unlikely that the good commentator means calmly to state that the angels created a floor in the skies — for the greater convenience of tumbling! The word seems to me also to be opposed to vitarāgā, 'free from passion,' and I have therefore taken it in a spiritual sense. There is a third possibility, viz. that it is used in an intellectual sense, 'having the idea of the world present to their mind;' and this would be in accordance with the more usual use of saññī. But how easily, especially in Buddhism, the intellectual merges into the religious may be seen from such a phrase as maraṇa-saññino, used at Mahāvaṃsa 33. Of the bhikkhus. Compare also above, III, 14.]

[12]The dress of the Mallas consisted probably of mere lengths of muslin or cotton cloth; and a suit of apparel consisted of two or, at the outside, of three of these-one to wrap round the loins, one to throw over the shoulders, and one to use as a turban. To make a canopy on occasions of state they would join such pieces together; to make the canopy into a tent they would simply add walls of the same material; and the only decoration, as simple as it {footnote p. 123} is beautiful, would be wreaths of flowers, or single lotuses, hanging from the roof, or stretched along the sides.]

[13]The point of this interesting legend is that the inhabitants of an Indian village of that time would have considered it a desecration or pollution to bring a dead body into or through their village.

[14]Compare Chap. V, ĪĪ 25-30.]

[15]At p. xxvi of the Introduction to his edition of the Mahā Vagga, Dr. Oldenberg identifies this Subhadda with Subhadda the last convert, mentioned above in Chap. V, ĪĪ 52-68. They are different persons; the last convert being represented as a young man of high character, incapable of the conduct here ascribed to this Subhadda. The last convert was a Brāhman, traditionally supposed to be younger brother to Añña Kondañña, the first convert; this Subhadda had been a barber in the village Ātumā.]

[16]It is possible that we have here the survival of some ancient custom. Spence Hardy appropriately refers to a ceremony among Jews (of what place or time is not mentioned) in the following terms: 'Just before a Jew is taken out of the house to be buried, the relatives and acquaintances of the departed stand round the coffin; when the feet are uncovered; and each in rotation lays hold of the great toes, and begs pardon for any offence given to the deceased, and requests a favourable mention of them in the next world.' (Manual of Buddhism, p. 348).
The Buddhist bhikkhus in Siam and the great majority of those in Ceylon (the adherents of the Siyam-samāgama) always keep one shoulder uncovered. It is evident that the bhikkhus {footnote p. 130} in Burma, and those in Ceylon who belong to the Amara-pura-samāgama, are more in accordance with ancient custom in wearing the robe ordinarily over both shoulders.]

[17]There is something very quaint in the way in which the faithful Mallas are here represented as bringing coals to Newcastle. The 'storehouse of the waters' is in Pāliudaka-sāla, on which Buddhaghosa has two theories: first, that the Sāla trees around shed down a miraculous rain from their trunks and branches and leaves; and next, that the waters burst up from the earth and became as it were a diadem of crystal round the pyre. On the belief that water thus burst up miraculously through the earth, see 'Buddhist Birth Stories,' pp. 64, 67. If the reading be correct it is scarcely possible that sāla can here have anything to do with Sāla trees; but the other interpretation is open to the objections {footnote p. 131} that sāla means an open hall rather than a storehouse, and that the belief in a 'storehouse of water' has not, as yet, been found elsewhere.]

[18]The commentator gives a long account of Ajātasattu's proceedings on this occasion.]

[19]Here again the commentator expands and adds to the comparatively simple version of the text.]

[20]Here closes Buddhaghosa's long and edifying commentary. He has no note on the following verses, which he says were added by Theras in Ceylon. The additional verse found in the Phayre MS. was in the same way probably added in Burma.]

 


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