Then He crossed over the river Kakudh and, having rested for some time, proceeded to the river Hiraavat, within the town of Kusinr. After that He continued His journey to the Sla Grove. There He asked nanda to spread a bed-cloth underneath a pair of Sla trees, with the head failing North. On this bed He lay down on His right side, with His mind secure y established by Mindfulness, deciding thereby never to get up again. It was therefore to be His final rest. But, even in such a posture and condition, He still undertook to instruct the Bhikkhus who assembled there. At night there was a mendicant named Subhadda who, having learnt about the news of the Buddha's impending passing away, came to see Him. The Buddha allowed the mendicant to ask whatever questions he had in mind and then answered them all, to the delight of the mendicant, who asked for ordination. The Buddha granted his wish and told nanda to have him ordained there at that moment, thus exempting him from the disciplinary procedure that a monk of any other tradition be required to undergo a three-month period of probation. This was to test the person's sincerity and behaviour before being admitted into the Order. Now Subhadda, having been ordained, put forth his utmost efforts towards the development of Insight and before long was able to attain the Arahatship, being thereby the last contemporary Arahant disciple, of the Buddha.
Then the Buddha gave the assembled Bhikkus His final instruction, saying, "I remind you, O Bhikkhus. All conditioned things are of the nature to decline and decay. May you all fulfil your duties with heedfulness." Henceforth He did not utter anything more, but remained conscious within, reviewing the nine Attainments until He passed away in the last watch of the fullmon night of the Veskha month.
morning that followed, Venerable nanda
made known the Buddha's passing away to the Malla Princes in the town of
Kusinr. This was later known all away over the
town, The Mall Princes and the people paid obeisance to the Buddha and
conducted the funeral ceremony in the manner of one traditionally performed
for a universal King. This in accordance with what the Buddha had earlier
told nanda. Seven days later the Buddha's Remains were
moved to a place called Makutabandhana Cetya
On that day Venerable Mahkassapa, a senior Elder, was on his way with his Bhikkhus to see the Buddha, not knowing that the Master had already passed away. He met an jvaka (a kind of monks) on the way and learned from him about the fact. They were shocked by the news, those with their Defilements eradicated (i.e. the Arahants) contemplating with Detachment the nature of the conditioned, whereas others still worldlings abandoning themselves to grief and lamentation. Of those Bhikkhus, there was an aged one named Subhadda who was callously indifferent of the Buddha's passing away. Speaking from his mind he said, "It is a good thing, Brethren, that the Buddha has passed away. There will be from now on no one to order us about, saying we should do this and not do that. Do not be grieved." Such remarks of debasing ingratitude deeply moved Venerable Mahkassapa since it was inconceivable for him that any Bhikkhu should give such an attitude towards his own Master. However, he kept the feeling to himself and hurried on with his Bhikkhus. They arrived in time to pay obeisance to the Buddha's Remains when the cremation rites were about to start.
|After the cremation the Malla Princes of Kusinr collected the remaining Relics and had them most carefully preserved within the assembly hall of the town, thereby worshipping them all the appropriate kinds of ceremony and celebration. Of course, news of this event spread rapidly to other states, large and small. And as a result the Kings and Brahmins ruling over seven states, including King Ajtasattu of Magadha, sent forth their envoys followed by mighty armies, demanding their shares for the Relics, But the Malla Princes flatly refused, resolving to have all the Relics for themselves. This generated a bitter, emotional tension and war was on the verge of breaking out when a far-sighted Brahmin of Kusinr named Dona, sensing the critical situation, mediated the dispute and proposed a settlement by which the Relics would be divided into 8 equal parts. The proposal being accepted, Dona was assigned the responsibility of measuring, with a golden cup, the Buddha's Relics for all concerned so that they could be enshrined within the sanctuary of each kingdom. He himself asked only for the golden measuring cup as his own, to be enshrined within his village. After this, however, the Moriya Princes of the town of Pipphalivana, having learnt about the event later than others, sent their envoys to Kusinr, asking for a share. Since there was now no more of the Relics left to be given, they were given the remaining ashes on the funeral pyre so that they could have them enshrined in their own country.|
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