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Metteyya









The Blessed One proceeded with a great company of the brethren to
the sala grove of the Mallas, the Upavattana of Kusinara on the
further side of the river Hirannavati, and when he had arrived he
addressed the venerable Ananda, and said: "Make ready for me, I
pray you, Ananda, the couch with its head to the north, between
the twin sala trees. I am weary, Ananda, and wish to be down."

"Be it so, Lord!" said the venerable Ananda, and he spread a
couch with its head to the north, between the twin sala trees.
And the Blessed One laid himself down, and he was mindful and
self-possessed.

Now, at that time the twin sala trees were full of bloom with
flowers out of season; and heavenly songs came wafted from the
skies, out of reverence for the successor of the Buddhas of old.
And Ananda was filled with wonder that the Blessed One was thus
honored. But the Blessed One said: "Not by such events, Ananda,
is the Tathagata rightly honored, held sacred, or revered. But
the brother or the sister, the devout man or the devout woman,
who continually fulfils all the greater and the lesser duties,
walking according to the precepts, it is they who rightly honor,
hold sacred, and revere the Tathagata with the worthiest homage.
Therefore, O Ananda, be ye "constant in the fulfilment of the
greater and of the lesser duties, and walk according to the
precepts; thus, Ananda, will ye honor the Master."

Then the venerable Ananda went into the vihara, and stood leaning
against the doorpost, weeping at the thought: "Alas! 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 me--he who
is so kind!"

Now, the Blessed One called the brethren, and said: "Where, O
brethren, is Ananda?"

And one of the brethren went and called Ananda. And Ananda came
and said to the Blessed One: "Deep darkness reigned for want of
wisdom; the world of sentient creatures was groping for want of
light; then the Tathagata lit up the lamp of wisdom, and now it
will be extinguished again, ere he has brought it out."

And the Blessed One said to the venerable Ananda, as he sat there
by his side: 7

"Enough, Ananda! Let not thy self be troubled; do not weep! Have
I not already, on former occasions, told you that it is in the
very nature of all things most near and dear unto us that we must
separate from them and leave them?

"The foolish man conceives the idea of 'self,' the wise man sees
there is no ground on which to build the idea of 'self,' thus he
has a right conception of the world and well concludes that all
compounds amassed by sorrow will be dissolved again, but the
truth will remain.

"Why should I preserve this body of flesh, when the body of the
excellent law will endure? I am resolved; having accomplished my
purpose and attended to the work set me, I look for rest!

"For a long time, Ananda, thou hast been very near to me by
thoughts and acts of such love as never varies and is beyond all
measure. Thou hast done well, Ananda! Be earnest in effort and
thou too shalt soon be free from the great evils, from
sensuality, from selfishness, from delusion, and from ignorance!"1

And Ananda, suppressing his tears, said to the Blessed One: "Who
shall teach us when thou art gone?"

And the Blessed One replied: "I am not the first Buddha who came
upon earth, nor shall I be the last. In due time another Buddha
will arise in the world, a Holy One, a supremely enlightened One,
endowed with wisdom in conduct, auspicious, knowing the universe,
an incomparable leader of men, a master of angels and mortals. He
will reveal to you the same eternal truths which I have taught
you. He will preach his religion, glorious in its origin,
glorious at the climax, and glorious at the goal, in the spirit
and in the letter. He will proclaim a religious life, wholly
perfect and pure; such as I now proclaim."

Ananda said: "How shall we know him?"

The Blessed One said: "He will be known as Metteyya, which means
'he whose name is kindness.'"





Next: The Buddha's Final Entering Into Nirvana

Previous: Chunda The Smith



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Buddha's Gospels