The World’s Echo

12. And when the Blessed One had passed away, simultaneously with his Parinibbana there came a tremendous earthquake, dreadful and astounding, and the thunders rolled across the heavens.

13. And when the Blessed One had passed away, simultaneously with his Parinibbana, Brahma Sahampati[60] spoke this stanza:

All must depart — all beings that have life
Must shed their compound forms. Yea, even one,
A Master such as he, a peerless being,
Powerful in wisdom, the Enlightened One, has passed away.

14. And when the Blessed One had passed away, simultaneously with his Parinibbana, Sakka, king of the gods,[61] spoke this stanza:

Transient are all compounded things,
Subject to arise and vanish;
Having come into existence they pass away;
Good is the peace when they forever cease.

15. And when the Blessed One had passed away, simultaneously with his Parinibbana, the Venerable Anuruddha spoke this stanza:

No movement of the breath, but with steadfast heart,
Free from desires and tranquil — so the sage
Comes to his end. By mortal pangs unshaken,
His mind, like a flame extinguished, finds release.

16. And when the Blessed One had passed away, simultaneously with his Parinibbana, the Venerable Ananda spoke this stanza:

Then there was terror, and the hair stood up, when he,
The All-accomplished One, the Buddha, passed away.

17. Then, when the Blessed One had passed away, some bhikkhus, not yet freed from passion, lifted up their arms and wept; and some, flinging themselves on the ground, rolled from side to side and wept, lamenting: “Too soon has the Blessed One come to his Parinibbana! Too soon has the Happy One come to his Parinibbana! Too soon has the Eye of the World vanished from sight!”

But the bhikkhus who were freed from passion, mindful and clearly comprehending, reflected in this way: “Impermanent are all compounded things. How could this be otherwise?”

18. And the Venerable Anuruddha addressed the bhikkhus, saying: “Enough, friends! Do not grieve, do not lament! For has not the Blessed One declared that with all that is dear and beloved there must be change, separation, and severance? Of that which is born, come into being, compounded and subject to decay, how can one say: ‘May it not come to dissolution!’? The deities, friends, are aggrieved.”

“But, venerable sir, of what deities is the Venerable Anuruddha aware?”

“There are deities, friend Ananda, in space and on the earth who are earthly-minded; with dishevelled hair they weep, with uplifted arms they weep; flinging themselves on the ground, they roll from side to side, lamenting: ‘Too soon has the Blessed One come to his Parinibbana! Too soon has the Happy One come to his Parinibbana! Too soon has the Eye of the World vanished from sight!’ But those deities who are freed from passion, mindful and clearly comprehending, reflect in this way: ‘Impermanent are all compounded things. How could this be otherwise?'”

19. Now the Venerable Anuruddha and the Venerable Ananda spent the rest of the night in talking on the Dhamma. Then the Venerable Anuruddha spoke to the Venerable Ananda, saying: “Go now, friend Ananda, to Kusinara, and announce to the Mallas: ‘The Blessed One, Vasetthas, has passed away. Do now as seems fitting to you.'”

“So be it, venerable sir.” And the Venerable Ananda prepared himself in the forenoon, and taking bowl and robe, went with a companion into Kusinara.

20. At that time the Mallas of Kusinara had gathered in the council hall to consider that very matter. And the Venerable Ananda approached them and announced: “The Blessed One, Vasetthas, has passed away. Do now as seems fitting to you.”

And when they heard the Venerable Ananda speak these words, the Mallas with their sons, their wives, and the wives of their sons, were sorely grieved, grieved at heart and afflicted; and some, with their hair all dishevelled, with arms upraised in despair, wept; flinging themselves on the ground, they rolled from side to side, lamenting: “Too soon has the Blessed One come to his Parinibbana! “Too soon has the Happy One come to his Parinibbana! Too soon has the Eye of the World vanished from sight!”

 

“Maha-parinibbana Sutta: Last Days of the Buddha” (DN 16), translated from the Pali by Sister Vajira & Francis Story. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 30 November 2013
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