Great decease  



During the early part of his ministry, the Buddha lived as a trav-
el ing monk and did not have any fixed abode. It was towards
the last twenty years or so that he chose to reside at Savat hi, in
the Jetavana Grove which was donated to him and his monks by
the very rich householder Anathapindika.
At the age of eighty he travel ed northwards from Rajagriha
to Vesali where he became seriously il . Upon recovering the
Buddha proceeded to a small town cal ed Pava where he stayed
in the grove of Cunda, the smith, who upon hearing of his
arrival, offered him and his fol owers a meal. is was to be the
last meal that he ate for one of the dishes diligently prepared
by Cunda and which the Buddha later specifical y instructed
was for himself to eat only, caused him to suffer sharp dysentery
pains. e Buddha later assured Cunda through Ananda that
his pains were not any fault of his and that it was a meritorious
act to offer the Buddha his last meal.
e Buddha bore it calmly and, despite his il ness, set forth for
Kushinagara where he laid down between two Sala trees with
his head pointing to the north. e Buddha was described in the
Scriptures to have "laid himself down on his right side, with one
leg resting on the other, mindful and self-possessed". e Sala
trees then burst into bloom out of season and fragrance fil ed the
air in homage of the Buddha.


At this moment his former at endant, the venerable Upavana,
came forward to fan the Buddha but was asked to step aside.
Ananda then asked the Buddha why he had turned down the
monk's service and the Buddha replied that Devas had assem-
bled in great numbers to see the Tathagata and they were rather
displeased that their view was concealed by Upavana.
Sakyamuni Buddha then told Ananda that after his death faith-
ful fol owers should revere four places which have been made
sacred by his association:
1. e place of his birth (Lumbini).
2. e place where he attained Enlightenment (Buddha Gaya).
3. e place where he preached his first sermon (Sarnath).
4. e place where he attained Parinirvana (Kusinagara).
e Buddha further added that those who should die while mak-
ing such a pilgrimage would be reborn in a heavenly state.
e dying Buddha then asked the monks around him three times
whether there were any remaining questions or doubts about his
teachings, but all kept silent. Turning to Ananda he said, "What
I have taught and laid down, Ananda, as Dharma and Vinaya,
this will be your Master when I am gone." en turning to the
assembly of monks he made this final pronouncement:
". .transient are all conditioned things. ry to ac omplish
your aim with diligence".

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