The next morning, coming back from alms round, the Buddha turns to view Vesali for the last time

After the Buddha had refused Venerable Ananda's invitation to extend his life span a little longer, and not to pass away, he, together with Ananda, journeyed on to Kutagarasala in the Great Forest in Vesali.

Kutagarasala was a hall with a gabled roof, like a palace. The Great Forest was a very big virgin forest. Many of the Buddhist scriptures are in agreement in that this forest covered a huge area. To the north it extended to the Himalayas. In the Buddha's time the forest was the habitat of many ascetics, sages and monks. The Buddha and the monks had lived here before and had visited here many times. On this occasion, when the Buddha reached the forest he called a meeting of the Order, because by that time the news of his renouncing the remainder of his life span had already spread. The Buddha gave a teaching to the monks who had not yet become enlightened to strive with diligence, not to be heedless and leave themselves open to regret when later the Buddha was no longer with them.

"All people, young and old, wise and foolish, rich and poor, must die in the end. All clay pots that come from the potter's wheel, large and small, baked or raw, regardless of size, inevitably go to destruction. Thus are the lives of people and all kinds of beings in this world."

These are the words spoken by the Buddha to the monks at the Great Forest.

The next morning the Buddha and Venerable Ananda went for alms round in the town of Vesali. As they were leaving the town the Buddha did something he had never done before in any town, and that was to turn around and take a look at the town of Vesali.

He said, "Ananda, this vision of Vesali is the last for me. I will be seeing it no more."

Then he said, "Let us journey on to Bhandagama."

Bhandagama was a small district on the way to Kusinara, which was the town the Buddha was to pass away in.

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