Last night of the Buddha | Daily News

Last night of the Buddha

 

The Blessed One passed away, realizing Parinibbana at the Sala Grove of the Mallas, on the bank of the river Hirannavati, in the vicinity (Upavattana) of Kusinara on the Full Moon Day of the lunar month Vesak (Month of May), Saturday at Night in 543 BCE.

The Blessed One lay down on his right side in the lion's posture in a couch with the head to the north between the Twin Sala Trees, resting one foot upon the other, and so disposed himself, mindfully with full awareness.

At that time, the Twin Sala Trees were in full bloom, outside of flowering season, and the blossoms were sprinkling down on the body of the Realised One, and dropped and scattered and were strewn upon it in worship of the Realised One. Also the Divine Coral Tree flowers were falling from the sky, and they were sprinkling down on the body of the Realised One, and dropped and scattered and were strewn upon it in worship of the Realised One. Also Divine music and Divine songs played in the air out of reverence for the Realised One.

A) DURING THE FIRST WATCH OF THE NIGHT [Chapter 5 (22)] :

Venerable ?Nanda, during the first watch of the night, made the Mallas of Kusinara? worship the Blessed One. Having segregated the Mallas according to clan, each family in a group, and so present them to the Blessed One, saying : “A Malla named so and so, together with his children, wife, dependents, and councilors pays homage at the feet of the Blessed One.”

B) DURING THE MIDDLE WATCH OF THE NIGHT [Chapter 5 (23-30)] :

In the presence of the Blessed One, a wanderer named Subhadda received admission into the Order and higher ordination (the Last Direct Disciple). The Dhamma (Teaching) to Subhadda :

After giving the permission by the Blessed One, the wanderer Subhadda approached the Blessed One and saluted him courteously. And having exchanged with him pleasant and civil greetings, the wanderer Subhadda seated himself at one side and addressed the Blessed One, saying : “Those ascetics and brahmins, Venerable Gotama, who have a community, a group, who teach a group, well-known, famous, religious founders, agreed upon as good for the people, such as Purana Kassapa, Makkhali Gosala, Ajita Kesakambali, Pakudha Kaccayana, Sañjaya Belatthiputta, Nigantha Nataputta. Have all of these attained realization, as each of them would have it believed, or has none of them, or is it that some have attained realization and others not?”

“Enough, Subhadda! Let it be as it may, whether all of them have attained realization, as each of them would have it believed, or whether none of them has, or whether some have attained realization and others not. I will teach the Teaching to you, Subhadda, listen to it, apply your mind well, and I will speak.”

“Very well, reverend Sir,” the wanderer Subhadda replied to the Blessed One, and the Blessed One spoke, saying: “ Wherever, Subhadda, the Noble Eight-fold Path is not found in a Teaching and Discipline, neither is there found a true ascetic of the first, second, third, or fourth degree of saintliness. But Wherever, Subhadda, the Noble Eight-fold Path is found in a Teaching and Discipline, there is found a true ascetic of the first, second, third, and fourth degrees of saintliness.

Now In this Teaching and Discipline, Subhadda, the Noble Eight-fold Path is found, and in it alone are also found true ascetics of the first, second, third, and fourth degrees of saintliness. Devoid of true ascetics are the systems of other teachers. But if, Subhadda, the monks (bhikkhus) live righteously, the world will not be destitute of arahats (Worthy Ones). [A true ascetic of the first, second, third, or fourth degree of saintliness are - (i) the Stream-Winner (Sotapanna), (ii) the Once-Returner (Sakadagami), (iii) the Non-Returner (Anagami), and (iv) the Worthy One (Arahat)].

At twenty-nine years, Subhadda, I renounced the world to seek the Good, More than fifty years ago, Wherefore I am truly gone forth, Subhadda. Existing in the realm of the right Teaching. And except therein, there is no saint (of the first degree).

“And there is none of the second degree, nor of the third degree, nor of the fourth degree of saintliness. Devoid of true ascetics are the systems of other teachers. But if, Subhadda, the monks (bhikkhus) live righteously, the world will not be destitute of arahats (Worthy Ones).”

After this was said, the wanderer Subhadda spoke to the Blessed One, saying: “Excellent, reverend Sir! Excellent, reverend Sir! Just as, reverend Sir, one might set upright what has been overthrown, or open up what has been closed, or show a path to one who is lost, or to light a lamp in the darkness so that those with eyes might see — even so has the Blessed One set forth the Dhamma in many ways. And so, reverend Sir, I take my refuge in the Blessed One, the Dhamma (Teaching), and the Sangha (Community of Monks). May I receive admission into the Order and also the higher ordination in the presence of the Blessed One.”

So it came about that the wanderer Subhadda, in the presence of the Blessed One, received admission into the Order and higher ordination. And from the time of his ordination the Venerable Subhadda remained alone, secluded, heedful, ardent, and resolute.

And after no long time attained that good for which young gentlemen rightly go forth from home to ascetic life, the supreme goal of the holy life; and having by himself realized it with higher knowledge, he dwelt therein.

He knew: “Destroyed is birth; the higher life is fulfilled; nothing more is to be done, and beyond this life nothing more remains.” And the Venerable Subhadda became yet another among the arahats (the Worthy One), and he was the last direct disciple of the Blessed One.

C) DURING THE LAST WATCH OF THE NIGHT [Chapter 6 (1-12)] :

Then the Blessed One addressed the Venerable Ananda, saying: “It may be, Ananda, that to some among you the thought will come: ‘Ended is the word of the Teacher; there is now no Teacher for us.’ But it should not, Ananda, be so considered, whatever the Dhamma (Teaching) and the Discipline has been taught by me or laid down, Ananda, that is your Teacher after my passing away.

At present, Ananda, the monks address each other as ‘friend, but after my passing away they are not to address one another thus. The elder monk, Ananda, should address the junior monk by his name or by his clan name, or as ‘friend'; but the junior monk should address the elder monk as ‘venerable sir’ or reverend Sir.'

Desiring to do so, Ananda, the Sangha (Community of the monks) after my passing away, may abolish the minor and subsidiary training rules.

Ananda, after my passing away, let the highest penalty be imposed upon the monk Channa. “But what is the highest penalty, reverend Sir?” “The monk Channa, ?nanda, may say whatever he wishes but the monks should neither converse with him, nor advise him, nor instruct him.”

Then the Blessed One addressed the monks, saying: “It may be, monks, that one of you is in doubt or confusion about the Buddha, or about the Dhamma (Teaching), or about the Sangha (Community), or about the Path, or about the practice. Then ask, monks! Do not be regretful later thinking: ‘The Teacher was with us face to face, yet face to face we failed to ask him.'” But when this was said, the monks were silent. And yet a second and a third time the Blessed One said to them the same. And for a second and a third time the monks were silent. Then the Blessed One addressed the monks, saying: “It may be, monks, that out of respect for the Teacher you do not ask, then one friend, monks, can inform another friend about his doubts.” Yet still the monks were silent.

THEN THE VENERABLE ANURUDDHA AND THE VENERABLE ANANDA SPENT THE REST OF NIGHT IN TALKING ON THE DHAMMA (TEACHING). 


 

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