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The Buddha's Parinibbana.
The Buddha reached His eightieth year. His death was drawing near. His two chief disciples-the Venerable Sariputta and Moggallana - had predeceased Him. So had Venerable Rahula and Yasodhara.
One day He addressed the Venerable Ananda and said:- "Ananda, whosoever has fully developed the Four Paths of Accomplishment' - Iddhipada could if he so desires, remain in the same birth for a Kappa or for a Kappa and a little more. Now the Tathagata has thoroughly practiced and developed them, and he could, therefore, should he desire it, live on yet for a kappa or for a Kappa and a little more."
But the Venerable Ananda could not comprehend the meaning of this statement as his heart was possessed by the Evil One. He did not beseech the Buddha, saying:- "Vouchsafe, Lord, to remain during the Kappa! Live on through the Kappa, O Happy One, for the good and happiness of the many..." For the second and third time the Buddha made the same statement. Still the Venerable Ananda was silent.
When the Venerable Ananda left Him, Mara approached the Buddha and invited Him to pa.s.s away.
The Buddha replied:- "O Evil One! Make thyself happy, the death of the Tathagata shall take place before long. At the end of three months from this time the Tathagata will pa.s.s away."
Immediately after, the Buddha consciously and deliberately rejected the rest of His allotted term of life. Later the Buddha mentioned this matter to the Venerable Ananda, who then reminded Him of His previous utterance and besought Him to remain for a Kappa.
"Enough, Ananda, beseech not the Tathagata! The time for making such a request is past. If thou shouldst then have so besought the Tathagata, the Tathagata might have rejected the appeal even for the second time, but the third time he would have granted it. Thine, therefore, Ananda, is the fault, thine is the offence." replied the Buddha.
On another occasion the Buddha summoned all His disciples and addressed them thus:-"Behold, O disciples, now I speak to you. Transient are all component things. Strive on with diligence. In no long time the Final Release of the Accomplished One will take place. After the lapse of three months from now, the Accomplished One will attain Parinibbana."
"Ripe is my age; short is my life. Leaving you I shall go. I have made myself my refuge. Be diligent, O disciples, mindful and virtuous. With thoughts collected, guard your minds. He who lives strenuously in this Dispensation will escape the cycle of rebirth and put an end to suffering."
The Venerable Dhammarama's High Regard For The Buddha The ordinary disciples were deeply grieved to hear that the Buddha would pa.s.s away in three short months. They came in large numbers to pay their last respects to Him. One Bhikkhu named Dhammarama refrained from joining them. This matter was reported to the Buddha, and He was summoned to His presence. When questioned as to his absence the loyal and dutiful Bhikkhu remarked:-"Lord, I knew that Your Reverence would pa.s.s away three months hence, and I thought the best way of honoring the. Teacher was by attaining Arahants.h.i.+p even before the decease of Your Reverence."
"Excellent, excellent! He who loves me should emulate this Bhikkhu. He honors me best who practices my teaching best," said the Buddha in extolling the praiseworthyconductofthat exemplary Bhikkhu.
The Buddha's Last Meal Cunda the smith, a rich and devout person, heard that the Buddha had arrived at Pava and was staying in his mango grove. He went up to Him and after listening to a very instructive discourse, invited the Buddha and His disciples for the noon meal on the following day.
The Buddha a.s.sented by His silence Cunda after that night was over, made ready in his house choice food both hard and soft, together with a large quant.i.ty of Sukaramaddava, and intimated the time to the Blessed One, saying, "It is time, O Lord! Alms are ready."
Then the Blessed One dressed Himself in the forenoon, and taking bowl and robe, went together with the company of disciples to the abode of Cunda and sat on the prepared seat.
Seated thus, the Buddha addressed Cunda as follows:-"O Cunda, serve me with that Sukaramaddava which you have prepared; but serve the company of disciples with other food - both hard and soft."
"So be it, Lord" replied Cunda and did accordingly. Thereupon the Blessed One said to Cunda:-"Whatsoever, Cunda, remains of the Sukaramaddava, bury that in a hole in the ground for, Cunda, I perceive not in this world of G.o.ds, Maras, and Brahmas and amongst other beings, together with ascetics and priests, and G.o.ds and men, anyone who could eat this food and well digest it, save the Accomplished One."
"So be it Lord!" responded Cunda, and buried the remainder of that Sukaramaddava in a hole in the ground, and approaching the Blessed One, respectfully saluted Him and sat on one side. As he was seated thus, the Blessed One gladdened him with a religious discourse and departed. Then arose in the Blessed One, who partook of the meal of cunda, a grievous sickness, dysentery, and severe pains, resembling those of death. But the Blessed One, conscious and reflective, bore them up unflinchingly.
Thereupon the Blessed One proceeded to Kusinara, accompanied by the Venerable Ananda.
His Last Convert At that time there lived at Kusinara a wandering ascetic named Subhadda. He heard the news that the ascetic Gotama would attain Parinibbana in the last watch of the night, and he thought of seeing Him. So he went to the Upavattana Sala Grove of the Mallas and inquired of the Venerable Ananda whether he could see the Buddha.
"Enough, friend Subhadda, do not worry the Accomplished One. The Blessed One is wearied." For the second and third time Subhadda made his request, and for the second and third time the Venerable Ananda replied in the same manner.
The Buddha overheard their conversation, and addressing Ananda said:- "Nay, Ananda, do not prevent Subhadda from entering. Let Subhadda behold the Accomplished One. Whatsoever Subhadda will ask of me, all that will be with the desire for knowledge, and not to annoy me. And whatever I shall say in answer he will readily understand."
Permission being thus granted, Subhadda approached the Buddha, and exchanging friendly greetings with Him spoke to Him as follows:-"There are these ascetics and priests, O Gotama, who are leaders of companies and congregations, who are heads of sects, and are well-known, renowned religious teachers, esteemed as good men by the mult.i.tude - as for instance Purana Ka.s.sapa, Makkhali Gosala, Ajita Kesakambali, Pakudha Kaccayana, Sanjaya Belatthiputta, Nigantha Nataputta. Have they all, as they themselves claim, thoroughly understood or not, or have some of them understood, and some not?"
"Let it be so, Subhadda! Trouble not yourself as to whether all or some have understood or not. I shall teach the doctrine to you. Listen and bear it well in mind. I shall speak.
"So be it Lord!" replied Subhadda.
The Blessed One spoke as follows:- "In whatever Dispensation there exists not the n.o.ble Eightfold Path, neither is the first Samana, nor the second, nor the third, nor the fourth, to be found therein. In whatever Dispensation there exists the n.o.ble Eightfold Path, there are also to be found the first Samana, the second Samana, the third Samana, and the fourth Samana. In this Dispensation there exists the n.o.ble Eightfold Path. Here indeed, are found the first Samana, the second Samana, the third Samana, and the fourth Samanas.
The other foreign schools are empty of Samanas. If, O Subhadda, the disciples live rightly, the world would not be void of Arahants. "My age was twenty-nine when I went forth as a seeker after what is good. Now one and fifty years are gone since I was ordained, O Subhadda. Outside the fold there is not a single ascetic who acts even partly in accordance with this realizable doctrine."
Subhadda then praised the Buddha for His lucid exposition of the n.o.ble Dhamma and seeking refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha, expressed his desire to receive the Lesser and the Higher Ordination.
The Buddha said:- "Whosoever, Subhadda, being already committed to the other doctrines, desires the Lesser and Higher Ordination in this Dispensation, remains on probation for four months. At the end of four months, the disciples approving, he is ordained and raised to the status of a Bhikkhu. Nevertheless, with discretion I make individual exceptions."
Subhadda agreed to abide by the regulation, but the Buddha requested the Venerable Ananda to ordain Subhadda.
In the presence of the Blessed One, Subhaddab received the Lesser and Higher Ordination and before long attained Arahants.h.i.+p.
He was the last personal convert of the Buddha.
The Last Scene The Buddha addressed Ananda and said: "It may be Ananda, that you will say thus: 'without the teacher is the sublime teaching. There is no teacher for us.' Nay, Ananda, you should not think thus. That Doctrine and Discipline taught and promulgated by me, Ananda, will be your teacher when I am gone."
The Buddha addressed the disciples and said:-"If, O disciples, there be a doubt or perplexity in any disciple with regard to the Buddha, the Doctrine, the Order, and the Practice, question me (now) and repent not afterwards thinking - We were race to face with the Teacher, yet were not able to question the Buddha in His presence." When he spoke thus, the disciples were silent. For the second and third time the Buddha addressed the disciples the same way. And for the second and third time the disciples were silent. Then the Buddha addressed the disciples and said:-"Perhaps it may be out of respect for the teacher that you do not question me. Let a friend, O disciples, intimate it to another." Still the disciples were silent.
Thereupon the Venerable Ananda spoke to the Buddha as follows:-"Wonderful, Lord! Marvelous Lord! Thus am I pleased with this company of disciples. There is not a single disciple who entertains a doubt or perplexity with regard to the Buddha, the Doctrine, the Order, and the Practice." "You speak through faith, Ananda. With regard to this matter there is knowledge in the Accomplished One, that in this company of disciples there is not a single disciple who entertains a doubt or perplexity with regard to the Buddha, the Doctrine, the Order, and Practice. Of these five hundred disciples, Ananda, he' who is the last, is a Stream-Winner, not subject to fall, but sure of, and destined for, Enlightenment."
Then the Blessed One addressed the disciples and said:- "Behold, O disciples, I exhort you. Subject to decay are all component things. Strive on with diligence." These were the last words of the Buddha.
The Buddha's Last Moment The Buddha's life was drawing to an end. For the last time He rested on the couch placed between two Sala trees in the Upavattana Sala Grove. His disciples were surrounding Him in perfect silence.
The Buddha attained to the First Ecstasy - Jhana.
Emerging from it He attained, in order, to the Second, Third, and Fourth Ecstasies.
Emerging from the Fourth Ecstasy He attained to the "Realm of Infinity of s.p.a.ce - Akasananca yatana."
Emerging from this He attained to the "Realm of Infinity of Consciousness - Vinnanancayatana." Emerging from this He attained to "The Realm of Nothingness - Akincannayatana."
Emerging from this He attained to "The Realm of Neither Perception nor Non-Perception - N'eva Sanna N'Asannayatana'o."
Emerging from this He attained to "The Cessation of Perceptions and Sensations - Sannavedayita-Nirodha."
Instantly the Venerable Ananda, who was anxiously observing the dying state of the Buddha, remarked that the Buddha had pa.s.sed away. The Venerable Anuruddha, who was distinguished for his Divine Eye, explained that the Buddha had attained to "The Cessation of Perceptions and Sensations."
Then the Buddha emerged from that State and attained in order to the Fourth, Third, Second and First Arupa Jhanas.
Emerging from these He again attained in order to the Fourth, Third, Second, and First Rupa Jhanas. Emerging from these He attained in order to the Second, Third, and Fourth Rupa Jhanas. Immediately emerging from this Fourth Ecstasy The Buddha finally pa.s.sed away.
As a man He was born. As an extraordinary man He lived. As a Buddha He pa.s.sed away.
Kamma Kamma (Sanskrit-Kamma) literally means action of deed. In its ultimate sense Kamma means good and bad volition (Kusala Akusala Cetena).
Every volitional action, except that of a Buddha or of an Arahant, is called Kamma. The Buddha and Arahants do not acc.u.mulate fresh kamma as they have destroyed all their pa.s.sion.
In other words Kamma is the law of moral causation. It is action and reaction in the ethical realm. Kamma does not necessarily mean past action only; it may be both present and past actions. It is not fate. Nor it is predestination, which is imposed on us by some mysterious unknown power to which we must helplessly submit ourselves. It is one's own doing, which react on one's, own self, and so it is possible for us to divert the course of our Kamma.
Kamma is action and Vipaka, fruit, is its reaction. It is reaction. It is the cause and the effect. Like a mango seed is Kamma, Vipaka, effect, is like the mango fruits arising from the tree. The leaves and flowers are like the Vipakanisamsa - inevitable consequences.
As we sow, we reap either in this life or in a future birth. What we reap today is what we have sown either in the present or in the past.
Kamma is a law in itself. But it does not follow that there should be a lawgiver. Ordinary laws of nature e.g. gravitation, need no lawgiver. The law of Kamma too demands no lawgiver. It operates in its own field without intervention of an external, independent ruling agency.
Inherent in Kamma is the potential of producing its due effect. The cause produces the effect; the effect explains the cause. The seed produces the fruit; the fruit explains the seed, and both are inter-related; the effect already blooms in the cause.
Kusala Kamma There are ten kinds of Kusala Kamma or meritorious actions.
They are: - 1. Generosity Dana, which yields wealth.
2. Morality - Sila, which gives birth in n.o.ble families and in states of happiness.
3. Meditation - Bhavana, which gives birth in Realms of Form and Formless Realms, and which tends to gain Higher Knowledge and Emanc.i.p.ation.
4. Reverence - Apacayana, the cause of n.o.ble parentage.
5. Service - Yeyyavaca, which tends to produce a large retinue.
6. Transference of merit - Pattidana, which serves as a cause to give in abundance in future births.
7. Rejoicing in others' merit - Pattanu Modana, which is productive of merit whenever one is born.
8. Hearing the Doctrine - Dhamma Savana, which promotes wisdom.
9. Expounding the Doctrines - Dhamma Desana, which promotes wisdom.
10. Straightening of one's own views - Ditthijju Kamma, which strengthens one's confidence.
These 10 are sometimes treated as twelve. Then praising of Others' Good Action - Pasamsa is added to rejoicing in Others' Merit; and Taking the Three Refuges- Sarana and Mindfulness - a.n.u.ssati are used instead of Straightening One's View.
Praising others' good deeds results in getting praise for oneself. The seeking of the Three Refuges results in the destruction of pa.s.sions. "Mindfulness" promotes diverse forms of happiness.
The Five Rupa Jhanas and the Four Arupa Jhanas are also regarded as Kusala Kamma pertaining to the Realms of Form and the Formless Realms respectively.
Akusala Kamma There are ten Akusala Kammas or evil actions, which are caused by deed, word, and thought. Three are caused by deed: - namely, killing-Panatipata, stealing -Adinnadana and un-chast.i.ty -Kamesu Micchacara.
Four are caused by word:- namely, lying-Musavada, slandering-Pisunavaca, harsh speech-Pharusavaca, and frivolous talk-Samphappalapa.
Three are caused by mind: - namely, covetousness-Abhijjha, ill will - Vyapada, and false views-Micchaditthi.
Killing means the destruction of any living being.. The Pali term Panna strictly means the psychophysical life pertaining to one's particular existence. The speedy destruction of this life force, without allowing it to run its due course, is Panatipara. Animals are also included in living beings, but not plants.
The following five conditions are necessary to complete this evil of killing:- i a being, ii consciousness that it is a being, iii intention of killing, iv effort, and v consequent death.