The Buddha's Farewell Address





When the Blessed One had remained as long as he wished at

Ambapali's grove, he went to Beluva, near Vesali. There the

Blessed One addressed the brethren, and said: "O mendicants, take

up your abode for the rainy season round about Vesali, each one

according to the place where his friends and near companions may

five. I shall enter upon the rainy season here at Beluva."



When the Blessed One had thus entered upon the rainy season there

fell upon him a dire sickness, and sharp pains came upon him even

unto death. But the Blessed One, mindful and self-possessed, bore

his ailments without complaint.



Then this thought occurred to the Blessed One, "It would not be

right for me to pass away from life without addressing the

disciples, without taking leave of the order. Let me now, by a

strong effort of the will, subdue this sickness, and keep my hold

on life till the allotted time have come."



And the Blessed One, by a strong effort of the will subdued the

sickness, and kept his hold on life till the time he fixed upon

should come. And the sickness abated.



Thus the Blessed One began to recover; and when he had quite got

rid of the sickness, he went out from the monastery, and sat

down on a seat spread out in the open air. And the venerable

Ananda, accompanied by many other disciples, approached where the

Blessed One was, saluted him, and taking a seat respectfully on

one side, said: "I have beheld, Lord, how the Blessed One was in

health, and I have beheld how the Blessed One had to suffer. And

though at the sight of the sickness of the Blessed One my body

became weak as a creeper, and the horizon became dim to me, and

my faculties were no longer clear, yet notwithstanding I took

some little comfort from the thought that the Blessed One would

not pass away from existence until at least he had left

instructions as touching the order."



And the Blessed One addressed Ananda in behalf of the order,

saying:



"What, then, Ananda, does the order expect of me? I have preached

the truth without making any distinction between exoteric and

esoteric doctrine; for in respect of the truth, Ananda, the

Tathagata has no such thing as the closed fist of a teacher, who

keeps some things back.



"Surely, Ananda, should there be any one who harbors the thought,

'It is I who will lead the brotherhood,' or, 'The order is

dependent upon me,' he should lay down instructions in any matter

concerning the order. Now the Tathagata, Ananda, thinks not that

it is he who should lead the brotherhood, or that the order is

dependent upon him.



"Why, then, should the Tathagata leave instructions in any matter

concerning the order?



"I am now grown old, O Ananda, and full of years; my journey is

drawing to its close, I have reached the sum of my days, I am

turning eighty years of age.



"Just as a worn-out cart can not be made to move along without

much difficulty, so the body of the Tathagata can only be kept

going with much additional care.



"It is only, Ananda, when the Tathagata, ceasing to attend to

any outward thing, becomes plunged in that devout meditation of

heart which is concerned with no bodily object, it is only then

that the body of the Tathagata is at ease.



"Therefore, O Ananda, be ye lamps unto yourselves. Rely on

yourselves, and do not rely on external help.



"Hold fast to the truth as a lamp. Seek salvation alone in the

truth. Look not for assistance to any one besides yourselves.



"And how, Ananda, can a brother be a lamp unto himself, rely on

himself only and not on any external help, holding fast to the

truth as his lamp and seeking salvation in the truth alone,

looking not for assistance to any one besides himself?



"Herein, O Ananda, let a brother, as he dwells in the body, so

regard the body that he, being strenuous, thoughtful, and

mindful, may, whilst in the world, overcome the grief which

arises from the body's cravings.



"While subject to sensations let him continue so to regard the

sensations that he, being strenuous, thoughtful, and mindful,

may, whilst in the world, overcome the grief which arises from

the sensations.



"And so, also, when he thinks or reasons, or feels, let him so

regard his thoughts that being strenuous, thoughtful, and mindful

he may, whilst in the world, overcome the grief which arises from

the craving due to ideas, or to reasoning, or to feeling.



"Those who, either now or after I am dead, shall be lamps unto

themselves, relying upon themselves only and not relying upon any

external help, but holding fast to the truth as their lamp, and

seeking their salvation in the truth alone, and shall not look

for assistance to any one besides themselves, it is they, Ananda,

among my bhikkhus, who shall reach the very topmost height! But

they must be anxious to learn."





The Buddha Replies To The Deva The Buddha's Father facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Feedback