Kamanita 24 :The Bad News

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Kamanita 24 :The Bad News

Postby yawares » Thu Aug 23, 2012 4:43 am

Dear Members,

:heart: Kamanita And Vasitthi :heart:
[By KARL GJELLERUP]


THE BAD NEWS

MY LACK OF STRENGTH did not allow us to
undertake long daily journeys and made it necessary
sometimes to take a day for rest, so it took us a whole
month to reach Vesāli. We knew that the Master had
made a lengthy stay there, but he had been gone now
for about six weeks.


We had learned a short time before, in a village in
which lived many faithful followers of the Blessèd One,
that the Venerables Sāriputra and Moggallāna had passed
away.
The thought moved me deeply that these two great
disciples — the Generals of the Dharma as we named
them — no longer dwelt on earth. Of course we all knew
well that these great ones, as even the Buddha himself,
were merely human beings just as we, but the idea that
they could leave us had never been allowed to arise in our
minds. Sāriputra, who had so often in his deliberate way
solved difficult questions for me, had passed away. He
was the disciple most like the Master in wisdom, and he
stood, as did the Master, in his eightieth year. Was it
possible that even the Buddha himself could be approach‐
ing the end of his life on earth?


Perhaps the uneasiness which was caused by this
fear fanned some smouldering remnant of my past fever
again into a blaze. Be that as it may, I arrived in Vesāli sick
and exhausted. In the town there lived a rich woman, a
follower of the Buddha, who made it her special care to
minister in every possible way to the needs of the monks
and nuns passing through. When she learned that a sick
nun had arrived she at once sought me out, brought
Medinī and myself to her house, and tended me there with
great care.
Moved by her kindness, I soon gave expression to
the fear that was troubling me, and asked whether she
thought it possible that the Master, who was of the same
age as Sāriputra, would also soon leave us.
At that she burst into a flood of tears and, in a
voice broken by sobs, exclaimed:
"Then you don't know yet? Here, in Vesāli —
about two months ago — the Master himself foretold that
he would enter Final Nirvāna in three months' time. And
just to think! If only Ānanda had possessed understanding
enough and had spoken at the right moment, it would
never have taken place and the Buddha would have lived
on to the end of the æon!"


I asked what the good Ānanda had had to do with
it, and in what way he had deserved such blame.
"In this way," answered the woman, "one day the
Master went with Ānanda outside of the town, to meditate
in the neighbourhood of the Cāpāla temple. In the course
of their conversation the Master told Ānanda that whoso‐
ever had developed the spiritual powers within himself to
perfection could, if he so desired, remain alive through a
whole æon. Oh, that simpleton Ānanda, that he didn't at
once, even with this plain hint, say — 'Please Lord, remain
alive throughout this æon for the blessing, the welfare
and the happiness of the manyfolk'! His heart must have
been possessed by Māra, the Evil One, seeing that he only
proffered his request when it was too late."
"But how could it be too late," I asked, "seeing that
the Master is still alive?"
"Forty‐five years ago, when the Master had awakened
to Buddhahood in Uruvelā, and was enjoying the possession
of a sacred calm of spirit after his six years of fruitless
ascetic practices, he sat in meditation under the Nigrodha
tree of the goat‐herds, and there Māra, the Evil One, drew
near to him, very much disturbed on account of the danger
that threatened his kingdom in the person of the
Buddha.
"In the hope of hindering the spread of the
Dharma, he said: 'Lord! The time has come for the Blessèd
One to enter into Final Nirvāna.' But the Buddha answered
— 'Evil One, I will not enter Final Nirvāna until I have
monks, nuns and lay‐disciples who are accomplished,
trained, skilled, learned, knowers of the Dharma, correctly
trained and walking in the path of the Dharma, who will
pass on what they have learned from their Teacher, teach
it, declare it, establish it, expound it, analyse it and make it
clear; until they shall be able by means of the Dharma to
refute false teachings that have arisen, and teach the
Dharma of wondrous effect. I shall only enter into Final
Nirvāna, Evil One, when the Kingdom of Truth stands on
firm foundations: when this holy life has been successfully
established and flourishes, is widespread, well‐known far
and wide, and well‐proclaimed amongst humanity every‐
where.'


"But after the Master had spoken thus to Ānanda
— and, without his comprehending the hint, he had gone
away — then Māra, the Evil One, approached the Master
and said to him — 'Lord! The time has at last come for the
Master to enter into Final Nirvāna. All that the Master
formerly spoke of under the Nigrodha tree of the goat‐
herds at Uruvelā, as necessary for his entering Final
Nirvāna, has now been fulfilled. The Kingdom of Truth
rests on sure foundations. I trust that the Master will now
enter into Final Nirvāna.' Then the Buddha answered
Māra, the Evil One, thus: 'Fear not, Evil One. The
Tathāgata's final passing will soon take place. Three
months from now the Tathāgata will enter into Final
Nirvāna.' At these words there rolled great peals of thun‐
der, and the earth trembled and shook violently, as you
will probably have noticed."

**********to be continued***********
Edited by yawares :heart:
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