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.

Ananda, 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!"


compounded things

are impermanent.

work out your

own salvation



The last words of the Buddha.

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