28. The Last Days of the Buddha
his 55th year, many incidents in the life of the Buddha were
recorded without an exact indication of the year in which
they happened. However, the incidents occurring in his eightieth
year were dated and recorded in the Maha Parinibbana Sutta.
Buddha reached his eightieth year, he felt that his days in
this world were coming to an end. Although he had suffered
the sicknesses and effects of old age like any other man,
he was different from ordinary men. With his mental powers,
developed through advanced mental training, he was able to
overcome certain painful feelings of the body. His mind was
always sparkling like a radiant diamond, even though his body
was beginning to weaken.
last year of his life, he decided to spend his last days in
the peaceful and simple surroundings of Kusinaga, a small
village in northern India. He preferred to leave behind him
the large and prosperous cities such as Rajagaha and Savatthi
with their crowds, their merchants and kings.
point of his journey to the country was Rajagaha, the capital
of Magadha. He journeyed on foot, accompanied by Venerable
Ananda and many disciples. It was a long journey and the party
travelled through many cities and villages on their way. By
this time, Venerable Rahula and Yasodhara had already passed
away, and so had the Buddha's two chief disciples, Venerable
Moggallana and Venerable Sariputta.
the journey, the Buddha's thoughts turned to the welfare of
the order of monks. Many of his teachings were concerned with
advising on how the monks should behave to ensure that the
order would carry on after his death. He reminded his disciples
to practice all the truths that he had taught them.
he gave reminded the disciples to practise the seven factors
of enlightenment. Another teaching was on the four ways to
check whether a teaching was a true teaching of the Buddha
or not, by comparing it with the
Vinaya (the disciplinary rules for the order) and the suttas
(discourses of the Buddha).
was one teaching which the Buddha gave again and again during
the many stops on his last journey. It was a sermon on the
fruits of following the three divisions of the Noble Eightfold
Path morality, concentration and wisdom which
would help his disciples put an end to all sufferings.