Rediscovering the Buddha: Legends of the Buddha and Their Interpretation

By Hans H. Penner | Go to book overview

14
The Buddha’s Last Days

It was well known throughout the land that both Sariputta and Moggallana were the most powerful intellects of the Buddhist monastic community. The Buddha often asked them to take his place during evening teaching sessions; this was especially so during evenings when his backaches became severe.

One day while staying at Vultures Peak in Rajagaha, and after speaking to the assembly of monks about the mode of living that is conducive to their welfare, he told Ananda that they should all travel to Nalanda, the home of Sariputta, to visit him. When Sariputta was told of their visit, he immediately went to the grove to see the Buddha. Seated to one side, he said, “It is clear to me, Lord, that there never has been, will be, or is not another ascetic or Brahmin who is better or more enlightened than the Lord.”

“You have spoken rather boldly, Sariputta, like a lion’s roar of certainty. Why? Have all the Perfected Ones of the past appeared to you and were all their minds open to you?”

“No, Lord,” Sariputta replied.

“Well, then, Sariputta, have you also perceived all the minds of the Perfected Ones who will appear in the future as to their virtue, teaching, wisdom, and liberation?”

“No, Lord.”

“Well, then, Sariputta, you certainly know me as a Perfected One, a Buddha, and do you also know, ‘The Lord is of such and such virtue, wisdom and such is his liberation?’“

-91-

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