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Buddhist Suttas

Translated from Paali 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

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

I
The Book of the Great Decease


[85]

Mahaa Parinibbaana Sutta
The Book of the Great Decease

Chapter V


 

1. Now the Blessed One addressed the venerable Aananda, and said: 'Come, Aananda, let us go on to the Saala Grove of the Mallas, the Upavattana of Kusinaaraa, on the further side of the river Hiranyavatii.'

'Even so, Lord!' said the venerable Aananda, in assent, to the Blessed One.

2. And the Blessed One proceeded with a great company of the brethren to the Saala Grove of the Mallas, the Upavattana of Kusinaaraa, on the further side of the river Hiranyavatii: and when he had come there he addressed the venerable Aananda, and said:

"Spread over for me, I pray you, Aananda, the couch with its head to the north, between the twin Saala trees[1]. I am weary, Aananda, and would lie down.'

'Even so, Lord!' said the venerable Aananda, in assent, to the Blessed One. And he spread a [86]covering over the couch with its head to the north, between the twin Saala trees. And the Blessed One laid himself down on his right side, with one leg resting on the other; and he was mindful and self-possessed.

4. Now at that time the twin Saala trees were all one mass of bloom with flowers out of season[2]; and all over the body of the Tathaagata these dropped and sprinkled and scattered themselves, out of reverence for the successor of the Buddhas of old. And heavenly Mandaarava flowers, too, and heavenly sandal-wood powder came falling from the sky, and all over the body of the Tathaagata they descended and sprinkled and scattered themselves, out of reverence for the successor of the Buddhas of old. And heavenly music was sounded in the sky, out of reverence for the successor of the Buddhas of old. And heavenly songs came wafted from the skies, out of reverence for the successor of the Buddhas of old!

5. Then the Blessed One addressed the venerable Aananda, and said: 'The twin Saala trees are all one mass of bloom with flowers out of season; all over the body of the Tathaagata these drop and sprinkle and scatter themselves, out of reverence for the successor of the Buddhas of old. And heavenly Mandaarava flowers, too, and heavenly sandal-wood powder come falling from the sky, and all over the body of the Tathaagata they descend and sprinkle and scatter themselves, out of reverence [87]for the successor of the Buddhas of old. And heavenly music sounds in the sky, out of reverence for the successor of the Buddhas of old. And heavenly songs come wafted from the skies, out of reverence for the successor of the Buddhas of old!'

6. 'Now it is not thus, Aananda, that the Tathaagata is rightly honoured, reverenced, venerated, held sacred or revered. But the brother or the sister, the devout man or the devout woman, who continually fulfils all the greater and the lesser duties, who is correct in life, walking according to the precepts - it is he who rightly honours, reverences, venerates, holds sacred, and reveres the Tathaagata with the worthiest homage. Therefore, O Aananda, be ye constant in the fulfilment of the greater and of the lesser duties, and be ye correct in life, walking according to the precepts; and thus, Aananda, should it be taught.'

 


 

7. Now at that time the venerable Upaava.na was standing in front of the Blessed One, fanning him. And the Blessed One was not pleased with Upaava.na, and he said to him: 'Stand aside, O brother, stand not in front of me!'

8. Then this thought sprung up in the mind of the venerable Aananda: 'The venerable Upaava.na has long been in close personal attendance and service on the Blessed One. And now, at the last moment, the Blessed One is not pleased with Upaava.na, and has said to him, "Stand aside, O brother, stand not in front of me!" What may be the cause and what the reason that the Blessed One is not pleased with Upaava.na, and speaks thus with him?'

9. And the venerable Aananda said to the Blessed One: 'The venerable Upaava.na has long [88] been in close personal attendance and service on the Blessed One. And now, at the last moment, the Blessed One is not pleased with Upaava.na, and has said to him, "Stand aside, O brother, stand not in front of me!" What may be the cause and what the reason that the Blessed One is not pleased with Upaava.na, and speaks thus with him?'

10. 'In great numbers, Aananda, are the gods of the ten world-systems assembled together to behold the Tathaagata. For twelve leagues, Aananda, around the Saala Grove of the Mallas, the Upavattana of Kusinaaraa, there is no spot in size even as the pricking of the point of the tip of a hair which is not pervaded by powerful spirits[3]. And the spirits, Aananda, are murmuring, and say, "From afar have we come to behold the Tathaagata. Few and far between are the Tathaagatas, the Arahat Buddhas who appear in the world: and now to-day, in the last watch of the night, the death of a Tathaagata will take place; and this eminent brother stands in [89] front of the Tathaagata, concealing him, and in his last hour we are prevented from beholding the Tathaagata;" thus, Aananda, do the spirits murmur.'

11. 'But of what kind of spirits is the Blessed One thinking?'

12. 'There are spirits, Aananda, in the sky, but of worldly mind, who dishevel their hair and weep, who stretch forth their arms and weep, who fall prostrate on the ground, and roll to and fro in anguish at the thought: "Too soon will the Blessed One die! Too soon will the Happy One pass away! Full soon will the Light of the world vanish away[4]!"

13. 'There are spirits, too, Aananda, on the earth, and of worldly mind, who tear their hair and weep, who stretch forth their arms and weep, who fall prostrate on the ground, and roll to and fro in anguish at the thought: "Too soon will the Blessed One die! Too soon will the Happy One pass away! Full soon will the Eye of the world disappear from sight!"

14. '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 [whereas anything whatever, when born, brought into being, and [90] organised, contains within itself the inherent necessity of dissolution - how then is it possible that such a being should not be dissolved? No such condition can exist!"][5]

15. 'In times past, Lord, the brethren, when they had spent the rainy season in different districts, used to come to see the Tathaagata, and we used to receive those very reverend brethren to audience, and to wait upon the Blessed One. But, Lord, after the end of the Blessed One, we shall not be able to receive those very reverend brethren to audience, and to wait upon the Blessed One.'

 


 

16. 'There are these four places, Aananda, which the believing man should visit with feelings of reverence and awe. Which are the four?

17. 'The place, Aananda, at which the believing man can say, "Here the Tathaagata was born!" is a spot to be visited with feelings of reverence and awe.

18. 'The place, Aananda, at which the believing man can say, "Here the Tathaagata, attained to the supreme and perfect insight!" is a spot to be visited with feelings of reverence and awe.

19. 'The place, Aananda, at which the believing man can say, "Here was the kingdom of righteousness set on foot by the Tathaagata!" is a spot to be visited with feelings of reverence and awe.

20. 'The place, Aananda, at which the believing man can say, "Here the Tathaagata passed finally away in that utter passing away which leaves nothing whatever to remain behind!" is a spot to be visited with feelings of reverence and awe. [91]21. 'And there will come, Aananda, to such spots, believers, brethren and sisters of the order. or devout men and devout women, and will say, "Here was the Tathaagata born!" or, "Here did the Tathaagata attain to the supreme and perfect insight!" or, "Here was the kingdom of righteousness set on foot by the Tathaagata!" or, "Here the Tathaagata passed away in that utter passing away which leaves nothing whatever to remain behind!"

22. 'And they, Aananda, who shall die while they, with believing heart, are journeying on such pilgrimage, shall be reborn after death, when the body shall dissolve, in the happy realms of heaven.'

 


 

23. 'How are we to conduct ourselves, Lord, with regard to womankind?'[edfn5.1]

'Don't see them, Aananda.'

'But if we should see them, what are we to do?'

'Abstain from speech, Aananda.'

'But if they should speak to us, Lord, what are we to do?'

'Keep wide awake, Aananda.'

 


 

24. 'What are we to do, Lord, with the remains of the Tathaagata?'

'Hinder not yourselves, Aananda, by honouring the remains of the Tathaagata. Be zealous, I beseech you, Aananda, in your own behalf! Devote yourselves to your own good! Be earnest, be zealous, be intent on your own good! There are wise men, Aananda, among the nobles, among the Braahmans, among the heads of houses, who are firm believers in the Tathaagata; and they will do due honour to the remains of the Tathaagata.'

[92] 25.[6] 'What should be done, Lord, with the remains of the Tathaagata?'

'As men treat the remains of a king of kings, so, Aananda, should they treat the remains of a Tathaagata.'

'And how, Lord, do they treat the remains of a king of kings[7]?'

26. 'They wrap the body of a king of kings, Aananda, in a new cloth. When that is done they wrap it in carded cotton wool[8]. 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[9], and cover that close up with another [93] 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 daagaba[10] to the king of kings. This, Aananda, 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, Aananda, should they treat the remains of the Tathaagata. At the four cross roads a daagaba should be erected to the Tathaagata. 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.'

 


 

27. 'These men, Aananda, worthy of a daagaba[11], are four in number. Which are the four?

'A Tathaagata, or Arahat-Buddha, is worthy of a daagaba. A Pacceka-Buddha is worthy of a daagaba[12]. [94]A true hearer of the Tathaagata is worthy of a daagaba. A king of kings is worthy of a daagaba.

28. 'And on account of what circumstance, Aananda, is a Tathaagata, an Arahat-Buddha, worthy of a daagaba?

'At the thought, Aananda, "This is the daagaba of that Blessed One, of that Arahat-Buddha," the hearts of many shall be made calm and happy; and since they there had calmed and satisfied their hearts they will be reborn after death, when the body has dissolved, in the happy realms of heaven. It is on account of this circumstance, Aananda, that a Tathaagata, an Arahat-Buddha, is worthy of a daagaba.

29. 'And on account of what circumstance, Aananda, is a Pacceka-Buddha worthy of a daagaba?

'At the thought, Aananda, "This is the daagaba of that Blessed One, of that Pacceka-Buddha," the hearts of many shall be made calm and happy; and since they there had calmed and satisfied their hearts they will be reborn after death, when the body has dissolved, in the happy realms of heaven. It is on account of this circumstance, Aananda, that a Pacceka-Buddha is worthy of a daagaba.

30. 'And on account of what circumstance, Aananda, is a true hearer of the Blessed One, the Arahat-Buddha, worthy of a daagaba?

'At the thought, Aananda, "This is the daagaba of that true hearer of the Blessed Arahat-Buddha," the hearts of many shall be made calm and happy; and since they there had calmed and satisfied their hearts they will be reborn after death, when the body has dissolved, in the happy realms of heaven. It is on account of this circumstance, Aananda, that a true [95] hearer of the Blessed One, the Arahat-Buddha, is worthy of a daagaba.

31. 'And on account of what circumstance, Aananda, is a king of kings worthy of a daagaba?

'At the thought, Aananda, "This is the daagaba of that righteous king who ruled in righteousness," the hearts of many shall be made calm and happy; and since they there had calmed and satisfied their hearts they will be reborn after death, when the body has dissolved, in the happy realms of heaven. It is on account of this circumstance, Aananda, that a king of kings is worthy of a daagaba.

'These four, Aananda, are the persons worthy of a daagaba.'

 


 

32. 'Now the venerable Aananda went into the Vihaara, and stood leaning against the lintel of the door[13], and weeping at the thought: "Alas! I remain still but a learner, one who has yet to work out his own perfection[14]. And the Master is about to pass away from me--he who is so kind!"'

33. Now the Blessed One called the brethren, and said: 'Where, then, brethren, is Aananda?'

The venerable Aananda, Lord, has gone into the [96] Vihaara, and stands leaning against the lintel of the door, and weeping at the thought: 'Alas! I remain still but a learner, one who has yet to work out his own perfection. And the Master is about to pass away from me - he who is so kind!'

34. And the Blessed One called a certain brother, and said: 'Go now, brother, and call Aananda in my name, and say, "Brother Aananda, the Master calls for thee."'

'Even so, Lord!' said that brother, in assent, to the Blessed One. And he went up to the place where the Blessed One was; and when he had come there, he said to the venerable Aananda Brother Aananda, the Master calls for thee.'

'Very well, brother,' said the venerable Aananda, in assent, to that brother. And he went up to the place where the Blessed One was, and when he had come there, he bowed down before the Blessed One, and took his seat respectfully on one side.

35. Then the Blessed One said to the venerable Aananda, as he sat there by his side: 'Enough, Aananda! Do not let yourself be troubled; do not weep! Have I not already, on former occasions, told you that it is in the very nature of all things most near and dear unto us that we must divide ourselves from them, leave them, sever ourselves from them? How, then, Aananda, can this be possible - 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! For a long time, Aananda, have you been very near to me by acts of love, kind and good, that never varies, and is beyond all [97] measure. For a long time, Aananda, have you been very near to me by words of love, kind and good, that never varies, and is beyond all measure. For a long time, Aananda, have you been very near to me by thoughts of love, kind and good, that never varies[15], and is beyond all measure. You have done well, Aananda! Be earnest in effort, and you too shall soon be free from the great evils-from sensuality, from individuality, from delusion, and from ignorance[16]!'

 


 

36.[17] Then the Blessed One addressed the brethren, and said: 'Whosoever, brethren, have been Arahat-Buddhas through the long ages of the past, there were servitors just as devoted to those Blessed Ones as Aananda has been to me. And whosoever, brethren, shall be Arahat-Buddhas in the long ages of the future, there shall be servitors just as devoted to those Blessed Ones as Aananda has been to me.

37. 'He is a wise man, brethren, - is Aananda. [98] He knows when it is the right time for him to come and visit the Tathaagata, and when it is the right time for the brethren and sisters of the order, for devout men and devout women, for a king, or for a king's ministers, for other teachers or their disciples, to come and visit the Tathaagata.

38. 'Brethren, there are these four wonderful and marvellous qualities in Aananda. Which are the four?

'If, brethren, a number of the brethren of the order should come to visit Aananda, they are filled with joy on beholding him; and if Aananda should then preach the truth to them, they are filled with joy at the discourse; while the company of brethren is ill at ease, brethren, when Aananda is silent.

'If, brethren, a number of the sisters of the order, or of devout men, or of devout women, should come to visit Aananda, they are filled with joy on beholding him; and if Aananda should then preach the truth to them, they are filled with joy at the discourse; while the company of sisters is ill at ease, brethren, when Aananda is silent.

39. 'Brethren, there are these four wonderful and marvellous qualities in a king of kings. What are the four?

'If, brethren, a number of nobles, or Braahman, or heads of houses, or Samanas should come to visit a king of kings, they are filled with joy on beholding him; and if the king of kings should then speak, they are filled with joy at what is said; while they are ill at case, brethren, when the king of kings is silent.

40. 'Just so, brethren, are the four wonderful and marvellous qualities in Aananda.

'If, brethren, a number of the brethren of the [99] order, or of the sisters of the order, or of devout men, or of devout women, should come to visit Aananda, they are filled with joy on beholding him; and if Aananda should then preach the truth to them, they are filled with joy at the discourse; while the company of brethren is ill at case, brethren, when Aananda is silent.

'Now these, brethren, are the four wonderful and marvellous qualities that are in Aananda.'

 


 

41. When he had thus spoken[18], the venerable Aananda said to the Blessed One:

'Let not the Blessed One die in this little wattel and daub town, in this town in the midst of the jungle, in this branch township[19]. For, Lord, there are other great cities, such as Campaa, Raajagaha, Saavatthi, Saaketa, Kosambi, and Benaares. Let the Blessed One die in one of them. There there are many wealthy nobles and Braahmans and heads of houses, believers in the Tathaagata, who will pay due honour to the remains of the Tathaagata [20].'

[100] 42. 'Say not so, Aananda! Say not so, Aananda, that this is but a small wattel and daub town, a town in the midst of the jungle, a branch township. Long ago, Aananda, there was a king, by name Mahaa-Sudassana, a king of kings, a righteous man who ruled in righteousness, Lord of the four quarters of the earth, conqueror, the protector of his people, possessor of the seven royal treasures. This Kusinaaraa, Aananda, was the royal city of king Mahaa-Sudassana, under the name of Kusaavatii, and on the east and on the west it was twelve leagues in length, and on the north and on the south it was seven leagues in breadth.

43. 'That royal city Kusaavatii, Aananda, was mighty, and prosperous, and full of people, crowded with men, and provided with all things for food[21]. Just, Aananda, as the royal city of the gods, Aa'akamandaa by name, is mighty, prosperous, and full of people, crowded with the gods, and provided with all kinds of food, so, Aananda, was the royal city Kusaavatii mighty and prosperous, full of people, crowded with men, and provided with all kinds of food.

44. 'Both by day and by night, Aananda, the royal city Kusaavatii resounded with the ten cries; that is to say, the noise of elephants, and the noise of horses, and the noise of chariots; the sounds of the [101] drum, of the tabor, and of the lute; the sound of singing, and the sounds of the cymbal and of the gong; and lastly, with the cry, "Eat, drink, and be merry[22]!"

 


 

45. 'Go now, Aananda, and enter into Kusinaaraa, and inform the Mallas of Kusinaaraa, saying, "This day, O Vaase.t.thas, in the last watch of the night, the final passing away of the Tathaagata will take place. Be favourable herein, O Vaase.t.thas, be favourable. Give no occasion to reproach yourselves hereafter, saying, 'In our own village did the death of our Tathaagata take place, and we took not the opportunity of visiting the Tathaagata in his last hours.'"'

'Even so, Lord,' said the venerable Aananda, in assent, to the Blessed One; and he robed himself, and taking his bowl[23], entered into Kusinaaraa attended by another member of the order.

[102] 46. Now at that time the Mallas of Kusinaaraa were assembled in the council hall on some public affair[24].

And the venerable Aananda went to the council hall of the Mallas of Kusinaaraa; and when he had arrived there, he informed them, saying, 'This day, O Vaase.t.thas, in the last watch of the night, the final passing away of the Tathaagata will take place. Be favourable herein, O Vaase.t.thas, be favourable. Give no occasion to reproach yourselves hereafter, saying, "In our own village did the death of our Tathaagata take place, and we took not the opportunity of visiting the Tathaagata in his last hours."'

47. And when they had heard this saying of the venerable Aananda, the Mallas with their young men and maidens and their wives were grieved, and sad, and afflicted at heart. And some of them wept, dishevelling their hair, and stretched forth their arms and wept, fell prostrate on the ground, and rolled to and fro in anguish at the thought: 'Too soon will the Blessed One die! Too soon will the Happy One pass away! Full soon will the Light of the world vanish away!'

 


 

48. Then the Mallas, with their young men and [103] maidens and their wives, being grieved and sad and afflicted at heart, went to the Saala Grove of the Mallas, to the Upavattana, and to the place where the venerable Aananda was.

49. Then the venerable Aananda thought: 'If I allow the Mallas of Kusinaaraa, one by one, to pay their respects to the Blessed One, the whole of the Mallas of Kusinaaraa will not have been presented to the Blessed One until this night brightens up into the dawn. Let me, now, cause the Mallas of Kusinaaraa to stand in groups, each family in a group, and so present them to the Blessed One, saying, "Lord! a Malla of such and such a name, with his children, his wives, his retinue, and his friends, humbly bows down at the feet of the Blessed One."'

50. And the venerable Aananda caused the Mallas of Kusinaaraa to stand in groups, each family in a group, and so presented them to the Blessed One, and said: 'Lord! a Malla of such and such a name, with his children, his wives, his retinue, and his friends, humbly bows down at the feet of the Blessed One.'

51. And after this manner the venerable Aananda presented all the Mallas of Kusinaaraa to the Blessed One in the first watch of the night.

 


 

52. Now at that time a mendicant named Subhadda, who was not a believer, was dwelling at Kusinaaraa. And the mendicant Subhadda heard the news: 'This very day, they say, in the third watch of the night, will take place the final passing away of the Sama.na Gotama.'

53. Then thought the mendicant Subhadda: 'This have I heard from fellow mendicants of mine, old and well stricken in years, teachers and [104] disciples, when they said: "Sometimes and full seldom do Tathaagatas appear in the world, the Arahat Buddhas." Yet this day, in the last watch of the night, the final passing away of the Sama.na Gotama will take place. Now a certain feeling of uncertainty has sprung up in my mind; and this faith have I in the Sama.na Gotama, that he, methinks, is able so to present the truth that I may get rid of this feeling of uncertainty.'

54. Then the mendicant Subhadda went to the Saala Grove of the Mallas, to the Upavattana of Kusinaaraa, to the place where the venerable Aananda was.

55. And when he had come there he said to the venerable Aananda: 'Thus have I heard from fellow mendicants of mine, old and well stricken in years, teachers and disciples, when they said: "Sometimes and full seldom do Tathaagatas appear in the world, the Arahat Buddhas." Yet this day, in the last watch of the night, the final passing away of the Sama.na Gotama will take place. Now a certain feeling of uncertainty has sprung up in my mind; and this faith have I in the Sama.na Gotama, that he, methinks, is able so to present the truth that I may get rid of this feeling of uncertainty. O that I, even I, Aananda, might be allowed to see the Sama.na Gotama!'

56. And when he had thus spoken the venerable Aananda said to the mendicant Subhadda: 'Enough! friend Subhadda. Trouble not the Tathaagata. The Blessed One is weary.'

57. And again the mendicant Subhadda [made the same request in the same words, and received the same reply]; and the third time the mendicant Subhadda [made the same request in the same words, and received the same reply]

[105] 58. Now the Blessed One overheard this conversation of the venerable Aananda with the mendicant Subhadda. And the Blessed One called the venerable Aananda, and said: 'It is enough, Aananda! Do not keep out Subhadda. Subhadda, Aananda, may be allowed to see the Tathaagata. Whatever Subhadda may ask of me, he will ask from a desire for knowledge, and not to annoy me. And whatever I may say in answer to his questions, that he will quickly understand.'

59. Then the venerable Aananda said to Subhadda, the mendicant: 'Enter in, friend Subhadda; for the Blessed One gives you leave.'

60. Then Subhadda, the mendicant, went in to the place where the Blessed One was, and saluted him courteously, and after exchanging with him the compliments of esteem and of civility, he took his seat on one side. And when he was thus seated, Subhadda, the mendicant, said to the Blessed One: 'The Braahmans by saintliness of life[25], Gotama, who [106] are heads of companies of disciples and students, teachers of students, well known, renowned, founders of schools of doctrine, esteemed as good men by the multitude - to wit, Puura.na Kassapa, Makkhali of the cattle-pen, Ajita of the garment of hair, Kaccaayana of the Pakudha tree, Sa~ngaya the son of the Bela.t.thi slave-girl, and Nigantha of the Naatha clan - have they all, according to their own assertion, thoroughly understood things? or have they not? or are there some of them who have understood, and some who have not[26]?'

61. 'Enough, Subhadda! Let this matter rest whether they, according to their own assertion, have thoroughly understood things, or whether they have not, or whether some of them have understood and some have not! The truth, Subhadda, will I teach you. Listen well to that, and give ear attentively, and I will speak.'

'Even so, Lord!' said the mendicant Subhadda, in assent, to the Blessed One.

62. And the Blessed One spake: 'In whatsoever doctrine and discipline, Subhadda, the noble eightfold path is not found, neither in it is there found a man of true saintliness of the first or of the second or of the third or of the fourth degree[27]. [107] And in whatsoever doctrine and discipline, Subhadda, the noble eightfold path is found, is found the man of true saintliness of the first and the second and the third and the fourth degree. Now in this doctrine and discipline, Subhadda, is found the noble eightfold path, and in it alone, Subhadda, is the man of true saintliness. Void are the systems of other teachers - void of true saints. And in this one, Subhadda, may the brethren live the Life that's Right, so that the world be not bereft of Arahats[28].

[108]

'But twenty-nine was I when I renounced
The world, Subhadda, seeking after good.
For fifty years and one year more, Subhadda,
Since I went out, a pilgrim have I been
Through the wide realms of virtue and of truth,
And outside these no really "saint" can be[29]!"

Yea, not of the first, nor of the second, nor of the third, nor of the fourth degree. Void are the systems of other teachers - void of true saints. But in this one, Subhadda, may the brethren live the perfect life, that the world be not bereft of those who have reached the highest fruit.'

63. And when he had thus spoken, Subhadda, the mendicant, said to the Blessed One: 'Most excellent, Lord, are the words of thy mouth, most excellent! just as if a man were to set up that which is thrown down, or were to reveal that which is hidden away, or were to point out the right road to him who has gone astray, or were to bring a lamp into the darkness, so that those who have eyes can see external forms; - just even so, Lord, has the truth been made known to me, in many a figure, by the Blessed One. And I, even I, betake myself, Lord, to the Blessed One as my refuge, to the truth, and to the order. May the Blessed One accept me as a disciple, as a true believer, from this day forth, as long as life endures!'

[109] 64. 'Whosoever, Subhadda, that has formerly been a follower of another doctrine and then desires to be received into the higher or the lower grade in this doctrine and discipline, he remains on probation for the space of four months; and at the end of the four months, the brethren, exalted in spirit, receive him into the lower or into the higher grade of the order. Nevertheless in this case I acknowledge the difference in persons.'

65. 'If, Lord, whosoever that has formerly been a follower of another doctrine and then desires to be received into the higher or the lower grade in this doctrine and discipline, - if, in that case, such a person remains on probation for the space of four months; and at the end of the four months, the brethren, exalted in spirit, receive him into the lower or into the higher grade of the order - I too, then, will remain on probation for the space of four months; and at the end of the four months let the brethren, exalted in spirit, receive me into the lower or into the higher grade of the order!'

66. But the Blessed One called the venerable Aananda, and said: 'As it is, Aananda, receive Subhadda into the order!'

'Even so, Lord!' said the venerable Aananda, in assent, to the Blessed One.

67. And Subhadda, the mendicant, said to the venerable Aananda: 'Great is your gain, friend Aananda, great is your good fortune, friend Aananda, that you all have been sprinkled with the sprinkling of discipleship in this brotherhood at the hands of the Master himself!'

68. So Subhadda, the mendicant, was received [110] into the higher grade of the order under the Blessed One; and from immediately after his ordination the venerable Subhadda remained alone and separate, earnest, zealous, and resolved. And e'er long he attained to that supreme goal of the higher life[30] for the sake of which men go out from all and every household gain and comfort to become houseless wanderers - yea, that supreme goal did he, by himself, and while yet in this visible world, bring himself to the knowledge of, and continue to realise, and to see face-to-face! And he became conscious that birth was at an end, that the higher life had been fulfilled, that all that should be done had been accomplished, and that after this present life there would be no beyond!

69. So the venerable Subbadda became yet another among the Arahats; and he was the last disciple whom the Blessed One himself converted[31].

 


 

END OF THE HIRA~N~NAVATIYA PORTION, BEING THE FIFTH PORTION FOR RECITATION

 


 

 


[1]According to the commentator 'tradition says that there was a row of Saala trees at the head (siisa) of that couch (ma~nka), and another at its foot, one young Saala tree being close to its head, and another close to its foot. The twin Saala trees were so called because the two trees were equally grown in respect of the roots, trunks, branches, and leaves. There was a couch there in the park for the special use of the (periodically elected) raaja of the Mallas, and it was this couch which the Blessed One asked Aananda to make ready.' There is no further explanation of the term uttara-siisaka.m, which may have been the name for a slab of wood or stone reserved on great occasions for the use of the leaders of the neighbouring republic, but available at other times for passers by.

[2]Sabbaphaaliphullaa ti sabbe samantato pupphitaa muulato pa.t.thaaya yaava aggaa ekakkhannaa ahesu.m. (S.V. thlu.) Compare ekaphaaliphulla.m vana.m at Jaataka I, 52.

[3]Buddhaghosa explains that even twenty to sixty angels or gods (devataayo) could stand aaragga-koAai-nittuudana- (MS. nittaddana-) matte pi, 'on a point pricked by the extreme point of a gimlet,' without inconveniencing one another (a~n~nam a~n~nam avyaabaadhenti). It is most curious to find this exact analogy to the notorious discussion as to how many angels could stand on the point of a needle in a commentary written at just that period of Buddhist history which corresponds to the Middle Ages of Christendom. The passage in the text does not really imply or suggest any such doctrine, though the whole episode is so absurd that the author of the text could not have hesitated to say so, had such an idea been the common belief of the early Buddhists. With these sections should be compared the similar sections in Chapter VI, of which these are perhaps merely an echo.
There is no comment on nittuudana, but there can be little doubt that Childers's conjectural reading is correct.

[4]Cakku.mloke antaradhaayissati, on which there is no comment. It is literally, 'the Eye in the world will vanish away,' where Eye is of course used figuratively of that by the aid of which spiritual truths can be perceived, corresponding exactly to the similar use in Europe of the word Light. The Master is often called Cakkhumaa, 'He with the Eye,' 'He of the spiritual Eye' (see, for instance, the last verses in this Sutta), and here by a bold figure of speech he is called the Eye itself, which was shortly about to vanish away from the world, the means of spiritual insight which was no longer to be available for the common use of all men. But this is, it will be noticed, only the lament of the foolish and ignorant.

[5]The words in brackets have been inserted from par. III, 63 above. See par. VI, 39 below.]

[6]This conversation occurs also below (VI, 33), and the older tradition probably had it only in that connection.

[7]King of kings is an inadequate rendering of Cakkavatti Raajaa. It is a king whose power no other king can dispute, who is the acknowledged overlord in India. The idea can scarcely have existed before Candragupta, the first Cakravarti, had raised himself to power. This passage, therefore, is a guide to the date at which the Mahaa-parinibbaana Sutta assumed its present form.

[8]'Vihatena kappaasenaa ti suphoAaitena kappaasenaa: Kaasika-vattha.m hi sukhumattaa tela.m na ga.nhati, tasmaa vihatena kappaasenaa ti aaha. 'As Benaares cloth, by reason of its fineness of texture, does not take the oil, he therefore says, "with vihata cotton wool," that is, with cotton wool that has been well forced asunder.' That pho.tita is here the participle of the causal verb, and not of the simple verb, follows of necessity from its being used as an explanation of vihata, 'torn to pieces.' The technical use of the word, as applied to cotton wool, has only been found in this passage. It usually means 'torn with grief.'

[9]Ayasaaya tela-do.niyaa, where one would expect aayasaaya, but my MS. of the Diigha Nikaaya confirms twice over here, and twice again below, Ii VI, 33, 35, the reading given by Childers. Buddhaghosa says, Aayasan ti suva~n~na.m, suva~n~namhi idha aayasan ti adhippeto, but here again we should expect the second time to find ayo or ayasa.m. The meaning of the word is also not {footnote p. 93} quite clear. It no doubt was origin ally used for bronze, and only later for iron also, and at last exclusively of iron. As ka.msa is already a common word for bronze in very early Buddhist Paali texts, I think aayasa or ayasa must here mean 'of iron.' When Buddhaghosa says it is here a name for gold, we can only conclude that iron had become, in his time, a metal which he might fairly consider too base for the purpose proposed.

[10]Buddhaghosa has no note on pa.tikujjetvaa; but from its use at Jaataka I, 50, 29: 69, 23, it must, I think, have this meaning. I am not certain to what root it ought to be referred. I should mention that pakkhipati seems to me never to mean in Paali, 'to hurl forth into, to throw forth,' but always 'to place (slowly and carefully) into.'

[11]A solid mound or tumulus, in the midst of which the bones and ashes are to be placed. The dome of St. Paul's as seen from the Thames Embankment gives a very good idea of one of the later Buddhist daagabas. The Paali word here and below is Thuupa.

[12]A Pacceka-Buddha, who has attained to the supreme and perfect insight; but dies without proclaiming the truth to the world.

[13]Kapisiisa.m. Buddhaghosa says, Kapisiisakan ti dvaara-baaha-koAaiya.m .thitam aggala-rukkha.m,' a piece of wood fixed as a bolt at the top of the door posts.' The Sanskrit lexicographers give kapi-siirsha in the sense of 'coping of a wall.' Compare Paatimokkha, Paacittiya, No. 19.
The expression that Aananda went 'into the Vihaara' at the end of a conversation represented as having taken place in the Saala Grove, would seem to point to the fact that this episode originally stood in some other connection. Buddhaghosa attempts to explain away the discrepancy by saying that Vihaara here means Ma.n.mala.

[14] Aananda had entered the Noble Path, but had not yet reached the end of it. He had not attained to Nirvaa.na.

[15]Advayena, which Buddhaghosa explains as not being that kind of love which is now one thing and now another, or which varies in the presence or the absence of the object loved. When the Buddha is called in the Amara Kosha I, 1, 1, 9, advayavaadin, that must mean in a similar way, 'One whose teaching does not vary.'

[16]Literally, thou shalt become an Anaasava, that is, one who is free from the four Aasavas, all which are explained above in Ii I, 12, from which I have taken the details suggested to a Buddhist by the word used. The state of mind to which an Anaasava has reached is precisely the same, though looked at from a different point of view, as the state of mind expressed by the better known word Nirvaa.na.

[17]What follows is repeated in the Satipatthaa.na Vagga of the Sa.myutta Nikaaya; but in regard to Saariputta (Upatissa) and Moggallaana, and reading saavaka-yuga.m for upaa.t.thaako.

[18]From here down to the end of section 44 is found also, nearly word for word, in the beginning of the Mahaa-Sudassana Sutta, translated below; compare also Mahaa-Sudassana Jaataka, No. 95.

[19]Ku.d.da-nagarake ti paAairuupake sambaadhe khuddakanagare: Ugga'ngala-nagarake ti visama-nagarake. (S.V. fol. .thau.) Ku.d.da, if this explanation be right, seems to be merely an old and unusual form for kshudra, and the Burmese correction into khudda to be unnecessary: but I venture to think it is more likely to be = ku.dya, and to mean a wall built of mud and sticks, or what is called in India, of wattel and daub. When Buddhaghosa explains ujja'ngala as 'lawless,' he is expressing his view that a town in the jungle is likely to be a heathen, pagan sort of place.

[20]With reference to Childers's note in his Dictionary on mahaasaalaa, with which every one must entirely agree, Buddhaghosa's {footnote p. 100} explanation of the word will be interesting as a proof (if proof be needed) that the Ceylon scholars are not always trustworthy. He says, Khattiya-mahaasaalaa ti khattiya-mahaasaaraa saarapattaa mahaa-khattiyaa. Eso nayo sabbattha.

[21]The first three of these adjectives are applied at Jaataka I, 29 (v. 212) to the religion of the Buddhas; and I think the right reading there must be phiita.m, in accordance with the corrections in two MSS. as noted by Mr. Fausböll, and not piita.m as he has preferred to read. The whole set of epithets is often used of cities.

[22]This enumeration is found also at Jaataka, p. 3, only that the conch shell is added there - wrongly, for that makes the number of cries eleven. The Mahaa-Sudassana Sutta has in the corresponding passage, like the Burmese MS. noted here by Childers, conch instead of cymbal. My MS. reads cymbal here.

[23]Nivaasetvaa patta-ciivara.m aadaaya atta-dutiyo. Buddhaghosa has, naturally enough, no comment on this oft-recurring phrase. It cannot be meant that he put on only his under-garments, and carried his upper robe with him; for then his shoulders would have been bare; and it is quite against the rules to go into a village without all the robes having been put carefully on (Paatimokkha, Sekhiya 1-3). I do not even understand how Aananda, with due regard to the rules of the brotherhood (see Paatimokkha, Nisaggiya 21-29), could have had a spare robe then with him. And patta-ciivaram can scarcely mean simply 'bowl-robe,' referring to the length of cotton cloth in which the bowl was carried over the shoulder ('Buddhist Birth Stories,' p. 71). 'With both his under-garments on, he entered Kusinaaraa duly bowled and robed' may be impossible English, but it probably correctly catches the {footnote p. 102} idea involved, though of course one (at least) of the under-cloths had been put on long before. See p. 122. A Thera never goes about in public alone, he is always accompanied by a Saama.nera.]

[24]Ke nacid eva kara.niiyena. Professor Pischel, in his edition of the Assalaayana Sutta (p. 1), prints this expression kenaci devakara.niiyena, and translates it (p. 28), 'for some religious purposes.' It seems to me that he has been misled by the commentary, which really presupposes the more correct division adopted by Childers.]

[25]Sama.na-braahma.naa, which compound may possibly mean Samanas and Brahmans as it has usually been rendered, but I think not necessarily. Not one of those here specified were Braahmans by caste, as is apparent from the Sumangala Vilaasinii on the Saama~n~na Phala Sutta, p. 114. Compare the use of Kshatriya-braahma.no, 'a soldier priest,' a Kshatriya who offered sacrifice; and of Braahma.no, absolutely, as an epithet of an Arahat. In the use of the word sama.na there seems to me to be a hopeless confusion between, a complete mingling of the meanings of, the two roots sram and sam (which, in Paali, would both become sa'n). It connotes both asceticism and inward peace, and might best be rendered 'devotee,' were it not for the intellectual inferiority implied by that word in our language. A Sama.na Braahman should therefore mean a man of any caste, who by his saintliness of life, by his renunciation of the world, and by his reputation as a religious thinker, had acquired the position of a quasi Braahman, and {footnote p. 106} was looked up to by the people in the same way as that in which they looked up to a Braahman by caste. Compare further my 'Buddhist Birth Stories,' vol. i. p. 260; and also Mr. Beal's remarks in the Indian Antiquary for May, 1880; and Professor Max Müller's note on Dhammapada, verse 265.

[26]Buddhaghosa has an exegetical note on abbha~n~namsu, but passes over those celebrated Six Teachers in silence. The little that is thus far known of them will be discussed in another place.

[27]This refers to the four divisions of the Noble Eightfold Path. See above, chap. II, Ii 8, where their characters are described. The {footnote p. 107} word translated 'man of true saintliness,' or 'true saint,' is in the text Sama.no, on which see the note on page 105 (above, note 25). I am at a loss how to render the word adequately here.

[28]Arahats are those who have reached Nirvaa.na, the 'supreme goal,' the 'highest fruit' of the Noble Eightfold Path. To live 'the Life that's Right' (sammaa) is to live in the Noble Path, each of the eight divisions of which is to be sammaa, round, right and perfect, normal and complete. To live right (sammaa) is therefore to have - 1. Right views, free from superstition. 2. Right aims, high and worthy of the intelligent and earnest man. 3. Right speech, kindly, open, truthful. 4. Right conduct, in all concerns of life. 5. Right livelihood, bringing hurt or danger to no living thing. 6. Right perseverance, in all the other seven. 7. Right mindfulness, the watchful, active mind. 8. Right contemplation, earnest thought on the deep mysteries of life. In each of these the word right is sammaa, and the whole paragraph being on the Noble Path, the allusion is certainly to this central doctrine of the Buddhist Dhamma.
Buddhaghosa says that that bhikkhu sammaa viharati, who, having himself entered the Noble Path, leads his brother into it, and this is, no doubt, good Buddhism. But it is a practical application of the text, a theological exegesis, and not a philological explanation. Even so it seems to lay the stress too much on 'bereft,' and too little on 'Arahats.'
In the last words of the prose we seem to have a reminiscence of what were once verses, which may have run-
 
Su~n~naa pavaadaa sama.nehi a~n~ne; {footnote p. 108}
Ime ka sammaa vihareyyu bhikkhuu,
Asu~n~no loko 'rahatehi assa.

[29]I have followed, though with some doubt, Childers's punctuation. Buddhaghosa refers padesa-vattii to sama.no; and ito, not to padesa, but to magga, understood; and it is quite possible that this is the correct explanation. On samaadhikaani see the comment at Jaataka II, 383.]

[30]That is, Nirvaa.na. Compare Ma'ngala Sutta V, 11, and the Dhammapada, verses 180, 354, and above Chap. I, Ii 7.

[31]Buddhaghosa says that the last five words in the text (the last twelve words in my translation) were added by the Theras who held the Council. On Subhadda's ordination he has the following interesting note: 'The Thero, (that is, Aananda), they say, took him on one side, poured water over his head from a water vessel, made him repeat the formula of meditation on the impermanency of the body (Taca-pa~nkaka-kamma.t.thana.m; see my "Buddhist Birth Stories," p. 161), shaved off his hair and beard, clad him in the yellow robes, made him repeat the "Three Refuges," and led him back to the Blessed One. The Blessed One himself admitted him then into the higher rank of the brotherhood, and pointed out to him a subject for meditation (kamma.t.thana.m; see "Buddhist {footnote p. 111} Birth Stories," p. 147). He accepted this, and walking up and down in a quiet part of the grove, he thought and meditated upon it, till overcoming the Evil Spirit, he had acquired Arahatship, and with it the discriminating knowledge of all the Scriptures (Pa.tisambhidaa). Then, returning, he came and took his seat beside the Blessed One.'
According to this, no set ceremony for ordination (Sa'ngha-kamma.m), as laid down in the Vinaya, took place; and it is otherwise probable that no such ceremony was usual in the earliest days of Buddhism.]

 


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