Senin, 22 Juli 2013

Cremating the Buddha's body (sutra)

Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly; Sister Vajira and Francis Story (DN 16: 6.30-43)
Modern memorial mound (stupa) and tower (pagoda), Thailand (Anekphoto/flickr.com)
The Bone-Relics of the Buddha
The Last Days of the Buddha (Long Discourses of the Buddha, Sutra 16)
Sanchi stupa (discoverthetrip.com/D.M. Razdan)
...30. Ven. Maha Kassapa approached the pyre of [the Buddha] the Blessed One at the Memorial of the Mallas in Kusinara. 
 
He arranged his upper robe on one shoulder, and with clasped hands raised in salutation, he circumambulated three times the pyre, keeping his right side toward the Blessed One's body, and he paid homage at the feet of the Blessed One.

The large number of monastics with him did the same.
 
When homage had been paid by Ven. Maha Kassapa and the monastics, the pyre of the Blessed One burst into flames by itself [as if set alight by the devas/fairies who had previously been preventing it from being lit].
 
31. And it came about that when the body of the Blessed One had been cremated, no ashes or particles were to be seen of what had been skin, tissue, flesh, sinews, and fluid; only bones remained

Just as when purified ghee or oil is burned, it leaves no particles or ashes behind, even so when the body of the Blessed One had been burned, no ashes or particles were to be seen of what had been skin, tissue, flesh, sinews, and fluid; only bones remained. And of the many linen wrappings, only two were not consumed, the innermost and the outermost.

[Where these venerable "Shrouds of Kusinara" are is unknown, whereas the slightly fire damaged "Shroud of Turin," which may or may not be authentic, is housed and venerated in Turin, Italy. Now Science Shines New Light on Shroud.]

The Buddha's last words to the nuns, monks, devas, lay followers, and other well wishers gathered around him in rural Kusinagar. (NOTE: Monastic is here improperly translated only as "monk" as if to suggest only male disciples were present.)
 
32. When the body of the Blessed One had been cremated, water rained down from the sky and extinguished the pyre of the Blessed One, and from the sal trees water came forth, and the Mallas of Kusinara brought water scented with many kinds of perfumes, and they too extinguished the pyre of the Blessed One.
 
The Mallas of Kusinara laid the relics of the Blessed One in their council hall and surrounded them with a lattice-work of spears and encircled them with a fence of bows. There for seven days they paid homage to the relics of the Blessed One with dance, song, music, flower-garlands, and perfume, and showed respect, honor, and veneration to the relics of the Blessed One. 

Partition of the Relics
Fire spirit (archive.coasttocoastam.com)
33. Then King Ajatasattu of Magadha, son of the Videhi queen, came to know that at Kusinara the Blessed One had passed away. And he sent a message to the Mallas of Kusinara: "The Blessed One was of the warrior caste, and I am too. I am worthy to receive a portion of the relics of the Blessed One. I will erect a memorial mound over the relics of the Blessed One and hold a festival in their honor."
 
34. And the Licchavis of Vesali came to know that at Kusinara the Blessed One had passed away. And they sent a message to the Mallas of Kusinara: "The Blessed One was of the warrior caste, and we are too. We are worthy to receive a portion of the relics of the Blessed One. We will erect a memorial mound over the relics of the Blessed One and hold a festival in their honor."
 
35. And the Shakyas of Kapilavastu (Sakyas of Kapilavatthu) came to know that at Kusinara the Blessed One had passed away. And they sent a message to the Mallas of Kusinara: "The Blessed One (Shakyamuni) was the greatest of our clan. We are worthy to receive a portion of the relics of the Blessed One. We will erect a memorial mound over the relics of the Blessed One and hold a festival in their honor."
 
36. And the Bulis of Allakappa... We will erect a memorial mound over the relics of the Blessed One and hold a festival in their honor."
 
37. And the Kolis of Ramagama... We will erect a memorial mound over the relics of the Blessed One and hold a festival in their honor."
 
38. And the VethadipaBrahmin came to know that at Kusinara the Blessed One had passed away. And he sent a message to the Mallas of Kusinara: "The Blessed One was of the warrior caste, and I am a Brahmin. I am worthy to receive a portion of the relics of the Blessed One. I will erect a memorial mound over the relics of the Blessed One and hold a festival in their honor."
 
39. And the Mallas of Pava...We will erect a memorial mound over the relics of the Blessed One and hold a festival in their honor."

The Mallas of Kusinara built this memorial mound (stupa), but it may not be the original if "Kusinara" (Kushinagar) is in fact situated far to the west as Dr. Ranajit Pal claims.
 
40. But when they heard these words, the Mallas of Kusinara addressed the assembly: "The Blessed One has passed away in our township. We shall not part with any portion of the relics of the Blessed One." Then the Brahmin Dona spoke to the assembly:
 
One word from me, I beg you, sirs, to hear!
Our Buddha taught us ever to forbear; 
Unseemly would it be should strife arise 
And war and bloodshed, over the custody 
Of his remains, who was the best of humans! 
Let us all, sirs, in friendliness agree
To share eight portions -- so that far and wide
Mounds may rise, and seeing them, humankind 
Confidence in the All-Enlightened One will find!
 
"So be it, Brahmin! Divide the relics into eight equal portions yourself."
 
And the Brahmin Dona said to the assembly: "So be it, sirs." And he divided justly into eight equal portions the relics of the Blessed One. Having done so, he addressed the assembly: "Let this urn, sirs, be given to me. Over this urn I will erect a memorial mound, and in its honor I will hold a festival." And the urn was given to the Brahmin Dona. [This could very well be the urn uncovered in the National Geographic documentary "Bones of the Buddha" assuming they were recovered in what was once ancient Vethadipa, India.]

Could this be the urn upon which Dona the Brahmin erected a mound? (Nat Geo/PBS)
41. Then the Moriyas of Pipphalivana came to know that at Kusinara the Blessed One had passed away. And they sent a message to the Mallas of Kusinara: "The Blessed One was of the warrior caste, and we are too. We are worthy to receive a portion of the relics of the Blessed One. We will erect a memorial mound over the relics of the Blessed One and hold a festival in their honor."
 
The Mallas of Kusinara replied: "There is no portion of the relics of the Blessed One remaining; the relics of the Blessed One have all been divided. But take from here the ashes." And they took from there the ashes.
 
42. And King Ajatasattu of Magadha, son of the Videhi queen, erected a memorial mound over the relics of the Blessed One at Rajagaha, and in their honor held a festival. 
 
The Licchavis of Vesali... The Shakyas of Kapilavastu... The Bulis of Allakappa... The Kolis of Ramagama... The Brahmin of Vethadipa... The Mallas of Pava... The Mallas of Kusinara... The Brahmin Dona erected a memorial mound over the urn [of bone relics], and in its honor held a festival [in Vethadipa]. And the Moriyas of Pipphalivana erected a memorial mound over the ashes at Pipphalivana, and in their honor held a festival.
 
So it came about that there were eight memorial mounds for the relics, a ninth for the urn, and a tenth for the ashes. And thus it was in the days of old.
 
The Ramagama relics enshrined in a stupa (memorial reliquary mound) in Ruwanweli Maha Seya, Sri Lanka island (dipa), off the southern tip of India (Walkalia/wiki)
  
43. Eight portions there were of the relics of
The All-Seeing One, the greatest of humans. 
Seven in Jambudipa are honored, and 
One in Ramagama by kings of the Naga race.
One tooth is honored in the
One in the realm of Kalinga[?],
And one by the Naga kings.
Through their brightness this bountiful Earth
With its most excellent gifts is endowed; 
For thus the relics of 
The All-Seeing One are best honored 
By those who are worthy of honor -- by devas and Nagas
And lords of humans, by the highest of humankind. 
Give honor with clasped hands! For hard indeed it is 
Through hundreds of ages to meet an All-Enlightened One!
  • Commentary ascribes these verses to the "Elders of Tambapanni Island" (Sri Lanka).

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