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The Buddha Announces His Death

Said the Tathagata to Ananda: "In former years, Ananda, Mara, the

Evil One, approached the holy Buddha three times to tempt him.

"And now, Ananda, Mara, the Evil One, came again today to the

place where I was, and, standing beside me, addressed me in the

same words as he did when I was resting under the shepherd's

Nigrodha tree on the bank of the Neranjara river: 'Be greeted,

thou Holy One. Thou hast
ttained the highest bliss and it is

time for thee to enter into the final Nirvana.'

"And when Mara had thus spoken, Ananda, I answered him and said:

'Make thyself happy, O wicked one; the final extinction of the

Tathagata shall take place before long.'"

And the venerable Ananda addressed the Blessed One and said:

"Vouchsafe, Lord, to remain with us, O Blessed One! for the good

and the happiness of the great multitudes, out of pity for the

world, for the good and the gain of mankind!"

Said the Blessed One: "Enough now, Ananda, beseech not the


And again, a second time, the venerable Ananda besought the

Blessed One in the same words. And he received from the Blessed

One the same reply.

And again, the third time, the venerable Ananda besought the

Blessed One to live longer; and the Blessed One said: "Hast thou

faith, Ananda?"

Said Ananda: "I have, my Lord!"

And the Blessed One, seeing the quivering eyelids of Ananda, read

the deep grief in the heart of his beloved disciple, and he asked

again: "Hast thou, indeed, faith, Ananda?"

And Ananda said: "I have faith, my Lord."

Than the Blessed One continued: "If thou hast faith, Ananda, in

the wisdom of the Tathagata, why, then, Ananda, dost thou trouble

the Tathagata even until the third time? Have I not formerly

declared to you that it is in the very nature of all compound

things that they must be dissolved again. We must separate

ourselves from all things near and dear to us, and must leave

them. How then, Ananda, can it be possible for me to remain,

since everything that is born, or brought into being, and

organized, contains within itself the inherent necessity of

dissolution? How, then, can it be possible that this body of mine

should not be dissolved? No such condition can exist! And this

mortal existence, O Ananda, has been relinquished, cast away,

renounced, rejected, and abandoned by the Tathagata."

And the Blessed One said to Ananda: "Go now, Ananda, and assemble

in the Service Hall such of the brethren as reside in the

neighborhood of Vesali."

Then the Blessed One proceeded to the Service Hall, and sat down

there on the mat spread out for him. And when he was seated, the

Blessed One addressed the brethren, and said:

"O brethren, ye to whom the truth has been made known, having

thoroughly made yourselves masters of it, practise it, meditate

upon it, and spread it abroad, in order that pure religion may

last long and be perpetuated, in order that it may continue for

the good and happiness of the great multitudes, out of pity for

the world, and to the good and gain of all living beings!

"Star-gazing and astrology, forecasting lucky or unfortunate

events by signs, prognosticating good or evil, all these are

things forbidden.

"He who lets his heart go loose without restraint shall not

attain Nirvana; therefore, must we hold the heart in check, and

retire from worldly excitements and seek tranquillity of mind.

"Eat your food to satisfy your hunger, and drink to satisfy you

thirst. Satisfy the necessities of life like the butterfly that

sips the flower, without destroying its fragrance or its texture.

"It is through not understanding and grasping the four truths,

brethren, that we have gone astray so long, and wandered in this

weary path of transmigrations, both you and I, until we have

found the truth.

"Practise the earnest meditations I have taught you. Continue in

the great struggle against sin. Walk steadily in the roads of

saintship. Be strong in moral powers. Let the organs of your

spiritual sense be quick. When the seven kinds of wisdom

enlighten your mind, you will find the noble, eightfold path that

leads to Nirvana.

"Behold, O brethren, the final extinction of the Tathagata will

take place before long. I now exhort you, saying: 'All component

things must grow old and be dissolved again. Seek ye for that

which is permanent, and work out your salvation with diligence.'"0