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Short Stories

      Story of Parinibbana

Buddha started his last journey from the Gijjhakuta hill of Rajgir with a large gathering of priests. Moving through Ambalatthika and Nalanda he reached near the village of Pataligama. Those days Patali was a village which was to become the capital of the Mauryans. There the Buddha predicted and made a forecast on the future greatness of the city. From Patali he crossed the river Ganga and then travelling through Kotigama and Vaishali he stopped his journey in the park of Ambapali. On the next day, he accepted the meals from the courtesan Ambapali by turning down the invitations from the Licchavi nobles. Moreover, he accepted the park donated by Ambapali for the use of the priests. Then, leaving the priests in Vaishali he continued to Beluva to spend the rainy season. At Beluva he had suffered from a terrible illness. Then he told Ananda of his awaiting death. Later on, upon his come back to Vaishali after the hang about during the rainy season he made the declaration of his death once again before all the priests, who had assembled there.

In additional, passing through Hatthigama, Ambagama, Jambugama and Bhoganagara he reached to Pava. There, staying in the mango-grove of Chunda, a smith, he ate some food, which made him ill once again. Moreover, the Pali-English Dictionary (T.W.Rhys David's & William Stede pp.721; 518-19) reads maddava as “soft”; and “withered”. So, it is rather likely that the food, which the Buddha had eaten, was the parched rice. Also, the Buddha had positively destined the profession of the meat-butcher Chunda Sukarika, who had died mumbling like a pig for seven days before his death because of his nasty career; and was tormented in the fire of the hell.  Last but not least, the rules for the acceptance of the food in the Buddhist order were very strict. For example, Sariputta was allowed to take the garlic only for the medical reason.

Handling the illness, the Buddha then continue to move on to Kusinara, now called Kushinagar and rested on the foot of a tree. There he drank the water of Kakuttha river brought by Ananda. There Pakkusa, a Mallana visited him and offered him a gold-coloured robe. Putting on the robes the Buddha told Ananda that the Buddhas used the gold tone just on the night before Enlightenment; and also during the night which was there before the death. He then added that he would die in Kusinara.

The Buddha then took bath in the Kakuttha river; and then after taking some rest continued further and reached Upavattana Sal Grove. There, Ananda prepared a bed for him with the head at north. It is said that the trees there blossomed and showered flowers on his body. The heavenly mandavara flowers and sandal wood powder rained from the sky. The wind played the divine music and sound. The Sal Grove stood stooped fanning him with all the branches of the trees, which was later asked by the celestial beings to move back from blocking the view of the dying Buddha. It was then that the Buddha gave instructions to Ananda with regard to the burial rites. Hurted, Ananda then tried to convince the Buddha not to die in Kusinara as it was a muddy and wattled village. But the Buddha praised the place because once it was the capital of Maha Sudassana.

When the news of the Buddha’s awaiting death was spread, the Mallas of Kusinara and many others were assembled on the same place. The Buddha then intended Subhadda who Ananda had prevented to come near the sick Buddha. The Master then asked his priests to put any questions or doubts for clarification. But no priest asked any question. He then encouraged the priests:

"Decomposing is natural in all complex things; Work out your relief with firmness."

These were his last words. Then passing through several stages of Samadhi he achieved Parinibbana on the full-moon night of Vishakha month in the age of eightieth year. The Mallas ignited the pyre. When the pyre was completely burnt, they made barrier on the spot with lance and observed the memorial occasion for seven days.

After the Parinibbana of the Buddha several pretender of the ruins appeared; and there was a possibility of the war. Finally, the quarrel was resolved; and the ruins were divided into eight equal parts among Ajatasattu, the king of Magadha; the Sakiyans of Kapilavatthu; the Koliyans of Ramagama; the Licchavi of Vesali; Bulls of Allakappa; a brahmin of Vellapattha; the delegates of Pava; and the Mallas of Kusinara. Dona, who had played an important role in the distribution of the ruins was allowed to keep only the measuring vessel. The Moriyas of Pipphalivana could carry only the ashes owing to their late arrival.