|C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the Worlds Best Literature.|
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.
|The Death of Buddha|
Translation of Rhys Davids
|NOW the venerable Ānanda [Buddhas beloved disciple] went into the cloister building, and stood leaning against the lintel of the door and weeping at the thoughtAlas! 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 mehe who is so kind. Then the Blessed One called the brethren and said, Where then, brethren, is Ānanda? The venerable Ānanda [they replied] has gone into the cloister building and stands leaning against the lintel of the door, weeping.
And the Blessed One called a certain brother, and said, Go now, brother, and call Ānanda in my name and say, Brother Ānanda, thy Master calls for thee. Even so, Lord, said that brother; and he went up to where Ānanda was, and said to the venerable Ānanda, Brother Ānanda, thy Master calls for thee. It is well, brother, said the venerable Ānanda; and he went to the place where Buddha was. And when he was come thither he bowed down before the Blessed One, and took his seat on one side.|| 1|
| Then the Blessed One said to the venerable Ānanda, as he sat there by his side: Enough, Ānanda; let not thyself be troubled; weep not. Have I not told thee already that we must divide ourselves from all that is nearest and dearest? How can it be possible that a being born to die should not die? For a long time, Ānanda, hast thou been very near to me by acts of love that is kind and good and never varies, and is beyond all measure. [This Buddha repeats three times.] Thou hast done well. Be earnest in effort. Thou too shalt soon be free.
When he had thus spoken, the venerable Ānanda said to the Blessed One: Let not the Blessed One die in this little wattle and daub town, a town in the midst of the jungle, in this branch township. For, Lord, there are other great cities, such as Benares [and others]. Let the Blessed One die in one of them.|| 2|
| [This request is refused by Buddha. Ānanda then goes to the town and tells the citizens that Buddha is dying.] Now when they had heard this saying, they, with their young men and maidens and wives, were grieved and sad and afflicted at heart. And some of them wept, disheveling 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!
When Buddha was alone again with his disciples, 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, the truth, the path or the way. Inquire, brethren, freely. Do not have to reproach yourselves afterwards with this thought: Our Teacher was face to face with us, and we could not bring ourselves to inquire of the Blessed One when we were face to face with him. And when he had thus spoken they sat silent. Then [after repeating these words and receiving no reply] the Blessed One addressed the brethren and said, It may be that you put no questions out of reverence for the Teacher. Let one friend communicate with another. And when he had thus spoken the brethren sat silent. And the venerable Ānanda said, How wonderful a thing, Lord, and how marvelous! Verily, in this whole assembly there is not one brother who has doubt or misgiving as to Buddha, the truth, the path or the way. Then Buddha said, It is out of the fullness of thy faith that thou hast spoken, Ānanda. But I know it for certain.
Then the Blessed One addressed the brethren, saying, Behold, brethren, I exhort you saying, Transitory are all component things; toil without ceasing. And these were the last words of Buddha.|| 3|