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Chunda The Smith









And the Blessed One went to Pava.

When Chunda, the worker in metals, heard that the Blessed One had
come to Pava and was staying in his mango grove, he came to the
Buddha and respectfully invited him and the brethren to take
their meal at his house. And Chunda prepared rice-cakes and a
dish of dried boar's meat.

When the Blessed One had eaten the food prepared by Chunda, the
worker in metals, there fell upon him a dire sickness, and sharp
pain came upon him even unto death. But the Blessed One, mindful
and self-possessed, bore it without complaint.

And the Blessed One addressed the venerable Ananda, and said:
"Come, Ananda, let us go on to Kusinara."

On his way the Blessed One grew tired, and he went aside from the
road to rest at the foot of a tree, and said: "Fold the robe, I
pray thee, Ananda, and spread it out for me. I am weary, Ananda,
and must rest awhile!"

"Be it so, Lord!" said the venerable Ananda; and he spread out
the robe folded fourfold.

The Blessed One seated himself, and when he was seated he
addressed the venerable Ananda, and said: "Fetch me some water, I
pray thee, Ananda. I am thirsty, Ananda, and would drink."

When he had thus spoken, the venerable Ananda said to the Blessed
One: "But just now, Lord, five hundred carts have gone across the
brook and have stirred the water; but a river, O Lord, is not far
off. Its water is clear and pleasant, cool and transparent, and
it is easy to get down to it. There the Blessed One may both
drink water and cool his limbs."

A second time the Blessed One addressed the venerable Ananda,
saying: "Fetch me some water, I pray thee Ananda, I am thirsty,
Ananda, and would drink."

And a second time the venerable Ananda said: "Let us go to the
river."

Then the third time the Blessed One addressed the venerable
Ananda, and said: "Fetch me some water, I pray thee, Ananda, I am
thirsty, Ananda, and would drink."

"Be it so, Lord!" said the venerable Ananda in assent to the
Blessed One; and, taking a bowl, he went down to the streamlet.
And lo! the streamlet, which, stirred up by wheels, had become
muddy, when the venerable Ananda came up to it, flowed clear and
bright and free from all turbidity. And he thought: "How
wonderful, how marvelous is the great might and power of the
Tathagata!"

Ananda brought the water in the bowl to the Lord, saying: "Let
the Blessed One take the bowl. Let the Happy One drink the water.
Let the Teacher of men and gods quench his thirst."

Then the Blessed One drank of the water.

Now, at that time a man of low caste, named Pukkusa, a young
Malla, a disciple of Alara Kalama, was passing along the high
road from Kusinara to Pava.

And Pukkusa, the young Malla, saw the Blessed One seated at the
foot of a tree. On seeing him, he went up to the place where the
Blessed One was, and when he had come there, he saluted the
Blessed One and took his seat respectfully on one side. Then the
Blessed One instructed, edified, and gladdened Pukkusa, the young
Malla, with religious discourse.

Aroused and gladdened by the words of the Blessed One, Pukkusa,
the young Malla, addressed a certain man who happened to pass by,
and said: "Fetch me, I pray thee, my good man, two robes of cloth
of gold, burnished and ready for wear."

"Be it so, sir!" said that man in assent to Pukkusa, the young
Malla; and he brought two robes of cloth of gold, burnished and
ready for wear.

And the Malla Pukkusa presented the two robes of cloth of gold,
burnished and ready for wear, to the Blessed One, saying: "Lord,
these two robes of burnished cloth of gold are ready for wear.
May the Blessed One show me favor and accept them at my hands!" 9

The Blessed One said: "Pukkusa, robe me in one, and Ananda in the
other."

And the Tathagata's body appeared shining like a flame, and he
was beautiful above all expression.

And the venerable Ananda said to the Blessed One: "How wonderful
a thing is it, Lord, and how marvellous, that the color of the
skin of the Blessed One should be so clear, so exceedingly
bright! When I placed this robe of burnished cloth of gold on the
body of the Blessed One, lo! it seemed as if it had lost its
splendor!"

The Blessed One said: "There are two occasions on which a
Tathagata's appearance becomes clear and exceeding bright. In the
night, Ananda, in which a Tathagata attains to the supreme and
perfect insight, and in the night in which he passes finally away
in that utter passing away which leaves nothing whatever of his
earthly existence to remain."

And the Blessed One addressed the venerable Ananda, and said:
"Now it may happen, Ananda, that some one should stir up remorse
in Chunda, the smith, by saying: 'It is evil to thee, Chunda, and
loss to thee, that the Tathagata died, having eaten his last meal
from thy provision.' Any such remorse, Ananda, in Chunda, the
smith, should be checked by saying: 'It is good to thee, Chunda,
and gain to thee, that the Tathagata died, having eaten his last
meal from thy provision. From the very mouth of the Blessed One,
O Chunda, have I heard, from his own mouth have I received this
saying, "These two offerings of food are of equal fruit and of
much greater profit than any other: the offerings of food which a
Tathagata accepts when he has attained perfect enlightenment and
when he passes away by the utter passing away in which nothing
whatever of his earthly existence remains behind--these two
offerings of food are of equal fruit and of equal profit, and of
much greater fruit and much greater profit than any other. There
has been laid up by Chunda, the smith, a karma redounding to
length of life, redounding to good birth, redounding to good
fortune, redounding to good fame, redounding to the inheritance
of heaven and of great power." In this way, Ananda, should be
checked any remorse in Chunda, the smith."

Then the Blessed One, perceiving that death was near, uttered
these words: "He who gives away shall have real gain. He who
subdues himself shall be free, he shall cease to be a slave of
passions. The righteous man casts off evil; and by rooting out
lust, bitterness, and illusion, do we reach Nirvana."





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Previous: The Buddha Announces His Death



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