For 45 years
He had wandered around, explaining to anyone
who could understand and who would listen, what
He had found beneath the Bodhi tree on the night
of His Enlightenment. Now, here He was, about
to pass away in a forest near the town of Kusinagara.
News of His impending demise had spread, and
His disciples had come from far and wide to
see their beloved Master for the last time.
Most of them were sad at the thought of losing
the mainstay of their lives, but those who had
understood deeply what He had indicated, and
those who were enlightened themselves thereby,
were calm and composed.
His favorite disciple and personal attendant,
was greatly distressed that his Master was about
to leave him—he, who had still to find
enlightenment—but the Buddha consoled
him, saying: "Enough, Ananda, do not grieve
and weep, for have I not taught you that it
is in the nature of things near and dear to
us that we should be separated and cut off from
them? How could it be that this body of mine,
having been born should not die? For a long
time, Ananda, you have served me faithfully
in thought, word and deed, graciously, pleasantly,
with a whole heart, and without measure. Great
good have you gathered, Ananda. Now you should
put forth energy, and soon, you too, will be
one who is free!"