the Blessed One, addressing the Venerable Ânanda, said:
have taught the Dhamma, Ânanda, without making any distinction
between exoteric and esoteric doctrine, for in respect of the
truth, Ânanda, the Tathâgata has no such thing as
the ‘closed fist’ of a teacher who hides some essential knowledge
from the pupil.
may be, Ânanda, that in some of you the thought may arise,
‘The word of the Master is ended. We have no teacher any more.’
But it is not thus, Ânanda, that you should think.
Doctrine and the Discipline which I have set forth and laid
down for you,let them, after I am gone, be your teacher. It
may be, monks, that there may be doubts in the minds of some
brethren as to the Buddha, or the Dhamma, or the Sangha, or
the path (magga) or method (patipadâ). Inquire,
monks, 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 inquire of the Exalted One when
we were face to face with him.’ "
the Buddha had thus spoken the monks were silent.
second and a third time the Blessed One repeated these words
to the monks, and yet the monks were silent. And the Venerable
Ânanda said to the Blessed One: "How wonderful a
thing is it, Lord, how marvellous! Truly, I believe that in
this whole assembly of the monks there is not one who has any
doubt or misgivings as to the Buddha or the Dhamma or the Sangha,
or the path or the method."
Blessed One confirmed the words of the Venerable Ânanda,
adding that in the whole assembly even the most backward one
was assured of final deliverance. And after a short while the
Master made his final exhortation to those who wished to follow
his teaching now and in the future:
now, O monks, I exhort you: impermanent are all compounded things.
Work out your deliverance with mindfulness (vayadhammâ
samkhârâ, appamâdena sampâdetha)."n59
were the last words of the Buddha.
the Master entered into those nine successive stages of meditative
absorption (jhâna) which are of increasing sublimity:
first the four fine-material absorptions (rûpa-jhâna),
then the four immaterial absorptions (arûpa-jhâna),
and finally the state where perceptions and sensations entirely
cease (sañña-vedayita-nirodha). Then he
returned through all these stages to the first fine-material
absorption and rose again to the fourth one. Immediately after
having re-entered this stage (which has been described as having
"purity of mindfulness due to equanimity"), the Buddha
passed away (parinibbâyi). He realized Nibbâna
that is free from any substratum of further becoming (parinibbâna).n60
the Mahâ Parinibbâna Sutta are recorded, in moving
detail, all the events that occurred during the last months
and days of the Master’s life.
the annals of history, no man is recorded as having so consecrated
himself to the welfare of all beings, irrespective of caste,
class, creed, or sex, as the Supreme Buddha. From the hour of
his enlightenment to the end of his life, he strove tirelessly
and unostentatiously to elevate humanity regardless of the fatigue
involved and oblivious to the many obstacles and handicaps that
hampered his way. He never relaxed in his exertion for the common
weal and was never subjected to moral or spiritual fatigue.
Though physically he was not always fit, mentally he was ever
vigilant and energetic.
it is said:
wonderful is the Conqueror,
who e’er untiring strives,
for the blessings of all beings,
for the comfort of all lives."
twenty-five centuries have gone since the passing away of the
Buddha, his message of love and wisdom still exists in its purity,
decisively influencing the destinies of humanity. Forests of
flowers are daily offered at his shrines and countless millions
of lips daily repeat the formula: Buddham saranam gacchâmi,
"I take refuge in the Buddha." His greatness yet glows
today like a sun that blots out lesser lights, and his Dhamma
yet beckons the weary pilgrim to Nibbâna’s security and