Venerable Ananda stands holding the door bolt and cries over the Blessed One

Ananda was the Buddha's personal attendant. Many other monks had filled this position before him, but none of them had performed that duty for very long before taking leave of the Buddha. The monk who attended on the Buddha for the longest time, up to the time of his passing away, was Ananda.

In terms of their bloodlines, Ananda was related to the Buddha as a younger cousin, as his father was, in ordinary parlance, the younger brother of the Buddha's father.

Throughout the time he had served the Buddha, Ananda had accompanied him everywhere, attending to his needs faultlessly. It was for this reason that he had no time to attend to his own practice. All the monks who had ordained with him (except for Devadatta) had become Arahats already, but Ananda had only attained Stream Entry.

As the Buddha came closer to passing away, Ananda's duties had increased. He was tired both physically and mentally, and he felt confused. When he heard the Buddha telling the Order about his passing away, Ananda couldn't contain his sadness and sorrow at losing the Buddha, so he stole away from the Buddha's presence, went into a nearby dwelling (vihara), and stood at the door of the building, his hand holding the door bolt, and cried, wailing that he was still only a low-level noble one [had attained only a low level of enlightenment], had not yet attained Arahatship, and here the Buddha, who was both his Teacher and his older cousin, was leaving him.

The Buddha noticed that Ananda had disappeared from the crowd in attendance, so he asked the monks about him. Knowing where he had gone, the Buddha sent for him and gave him a Dhamma teaching, admonishing Ananda not to grieve.

At one time the Buddha said to Ananda, "You are one with merit. Do not be heedless. Not long after I have passed away, you will attain enlightenment." (Venerable Ananda attained enlightenment three months after the Buddha's passing away.)
 

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