Dona the brahmin divides the relics to the brahmins and lords of eight cities

The news that the Buddha had passed away and that the Mallian lords and Order of monks had already performed the cremation spread to the kings of the neighboring cities. The kings of those cities immediately sent messengers with royal decrees to the city of Kusinara.

There were altogether seven ambassadorial parties from seven cities, both large, such as Rajagaha in Magadha, where the Buddha had first spread his teaching, and smaller, such as Kapilavatthu, the place of the Buddha's birth. All seven parties on arriving in Kusinara presented their royal decrees to the lords of Malla. The subject of those decrees was that the kings of those seven cities were asking for a portion of the relics to be taken and placed into large stupas for worship in their cities. The Mallian lords answered firmly that they would not give them because the Buddha had passed away in their own town. Thus the relics belonged to them.

Since the Mallian lords refused to share the relics, the kings of those seven cities refused to accept their refusal, and were determined to get their shares. It looked as if a war was going to erupt over the distribution of the Buddha's relics. Fortunately a brahmin named Dona put an end to the contention. Dona lived in Kusinara. According to his biography he was a clever speaker and was held in high esteem by the people of the city. He was well known for his honor, performing a duty something like the secretary of the United Nations nowadays-i.e., he put a timely stop to imminent war, by saying at the meeting:

"The Buddha was one who praised patience and harmony. So why are we going to argue, fight and go to war over his relics? Let us divide them equally. Then the Buddha's relics will be spread widely and lead to benefit for a great number of people."

The meeting accepted his words, and Dona the brahmin performed the duty of dividing up the Buddha's relics into eight equal portions, using a tumba, a golden scale, to measure them. He gave the kings of the seven cities seven of the portions, while another portion went to the lords of Kusinara. Then all those kings and lords took the relics and put them into reliquaries to be taken and placed in stupas in their respective cities. Dona the brahmin, who did the dividing, asked for the scale used to divide the relics as a memento, and put it into another stupa. Thus the division of the Buddha's relics was carried out successfully.

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