The Buddha exalts the Teaching and Disciple as the teacher after him, gives his final teaching, and passes away
Just before passing away-i.e., after accepting Subhadda the wanderer-the Buddha gave a teaching to the Order. That teaching comprised his last words. It dealt with many things. One of the subjects of the teaching was the irregularities that existed in the way monks referred to each other, using the words "avuso" and "bhante." Avuso is equal to the Thai word "khun" [a form of address to equals], while bhante is equal to the Thai word "tahn" [a form of address to superiors].
The Buddha said that those monks who were older in age in terms of the number of their years in the Order were to call those monks ordained after them "avuso" [khun], while those who were younger in age in terms of years in the Order were to call those ordained before them "bhante" [tahn].
Then the Buddha gave permission for all the monks to ask about any remaining doubts they may have about the teaching so that they would not be disappointed later, saying they had no chance to ask.
It seems, according to the Mahaparinibbana Sutta, that not one monk had a doubt to put to the Buddha.
Before passing away, the Buddha had not appointed any monk to be the leader of the Order after him like leaders of other religions did. None of the monks had asked the Buddha about this, but the Buddha left word with the monks clearly before passing away that no monk should understand that after the Buddha had passed away the religion would have no leader (sasada).
The Buddha said to Ananda, "Listen Ananda, the Dhamma (Teaching) and Vinaya (Discipline) that I have explained and established, they are to be your leader after the Tathagata passes away."
Then the Buddha gave his final words: Monks, I now warn you. All things that arise in this world are of the nature to decay and pass away. You must all apply yourselves to your tasks for the benefit to yourself and the benefit of others and bring them to completion with heedfulness."
After that the Buddha spoke no further words until his passing away at the end of the night of the 15th day of the waxing moon, on the sixth lunar month, or the month of visakha, underneath the twin sal trees in full blossom.
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