The Buddha's father takes ill; the Buddha goes to visit and stays with him until he attains Arahatship and passes away

On the fifth year after the enlightenment, according to the Pathamasambodhi, the Buddha was staying in the Great Forest near the city of Vesali, when he heard news that his father King Suddhodana was gravely ill and aged and wished to see the Buddha and the monks who had been Sakyan princes and relatives, such as Venerable Ananda, Venerable Nanda, and Rahula the novice.

The Buddha instructed Ananda to inform the Order that he would be going to Kapilavatthu once more.

It is a tradition that before the Buddha went anywhere he would leave word with the monks who were nearby to inform the Order where and when he was to be traveling so that any monk who wanted to accompany him could prepare himself in time.

It appears that the Buddha's visit to Kapilavatthu to visit his dying father was his last visit there.

Arriving at Kapilavatthu, the Buddha went straight to see his father, who was already in a grave condition. The Buddha gave him a teaching about the impermanence of conditioned phenomena. The Pathamasambodhi cites one part of the Buddha's teaching on that occasion as follows;

"Your Majesty, human life is very short. It does not appear for long; like a flash of lightning, it appears and then is gone."

King Suddhodana was at that time a Non-Returner (anagami), and after listening to the teaching in full attained Arahatship in the very evening of his life. Seven days later he passed away.

The Buddha stayed to perform the funerary rites for his father together with the Order and the complete circle of Sakyan relatives.

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