Rabu, 24 Juli 2013

The Buddha's relics found? (documentary)

Dhr. Seven, Mara Schaeffer, Wisdom Quarterly; MrGiakoumisCY, National Geographic; Sister Vajira and Francis Story, The Last Days of the Buddha (DN 16: 6.12-29)
The Buddha's cremation ceremony (people.opposingviews.com)
"Bones of the Buddha" - American documentary investigating the possible discovery of a portion of the Buddha's cremation relics a century ago in India.
 
Ancient stupa in Sanchi, India
12. And when the Buddha had passed away, simultaneously with his final-peace (parinirvana) there came a tremendous earthquake, dreadful and astounding, and thunder rolled across the sky.
  
13. ...Brahma Sahampati [a high divinity living in the Brahma world, who originally along with Sakka, king of the devas, appealed to the newly enlightened Buddha not to go into seclusion but to teach the Dharma to the world (MN 26)] uttered this stanza:
 
All must depart; all beings living
Must shed their compound forms.
Yes, even one, a master such as he, 
A peerless being, powerful in wisdom, 
The Enlightened One, has passed away.
 
14. ...Sakka, king of the devas, uttered this stanza:
 
Transient are all compounded-things, 
Subject to constant arising and falling; 
Having come into existence, they pass away; 
Good is the peace when [this painful process] ceases.
 
15. ...Ven. Anuruddha [the elder brother of Ven. Ananda, who possessed the supernormal power of reading minds] uttered this stanza:
 
No movement of the breath, but with steadfast heart, 
Free from any trace of craving and tranquil --
So the Sage comes to the end. 
By mortal pangs unshaken, 
Mind (heart), like a flame extinguished, finds release.
16. ...Ven. Ananda [who was not yet enlightened but at most a stream enterer] uttered this stanza:
 
Then there was terror, 
And hair stood on end when he, 
The All-Accomplished One, 
The Buddha, passed away.
 
17. Then when the Blessed One had passed away, some ascetic disciples not yet freed from passion lifted up their arms and wept; some, flinging themselves on the ground, rolled from side to side and wept, lamenting: "Too soon has the Blessed One come to final-peace (nirvana)! Too soon has the Happy One come to final-peace! Too soon has the Eye of the World vanished from sight!"
 
But others who were (enlightened and thus) freed from passion, mindful and clearly comprehending, reflected in this way: "Impermanent are all compounded-things. How could it be otherwise?"
 
18. Ven. Anuruddha addressed his fellow monastics: "Enough, friends! Do not grieve, do not lament! For has the Blessed One not 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 (fabricated, composed of parts, put together), and therefore being subject to decay, how can one say: 'May it not come to dissolution!'? The devas, friends, are aggrieved."
 
"But, venerable sir, of what devas is Ven. Anuruddha aware?"
 
"There are devas, friend Ananda, in space and on Earth who are worldly-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 final-peace! Too soon has the Happy One come to final-peace! Too soon has the Eye of the World vanished from sight!' But those devas who are freed from passion, mindful and clearly comprehending, reflect in this way: 'Impermanent are all compounded-things. How could it be otherwise?'"
 
19. Ven. Anuruddha and Ven. Ananda spent the rest of the night talking about the Dharma. Then Anuruddha said to Ananda: "Go now, friend Ananda, to Kusinara, and announce to the Mallas: 'The Blessed One, Vasetthas, has passed away. Do now as you see fit.'"
 
"So be it, venerable sir." Ananda prepared himself in the forenoon and, taking his 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 Ananda approached them and announced: "The Blessed One, Vasetthas, has passed away. Do now as you see fit."
 
And when they heard these words, the Mallas with their children, their spouses, and the spouses of their children, were sorely aggrieved, aggrieved at heart and afflicted; 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 final-peace! "Too soon has the Happy One come to final-peace! Too soon has the Eye of the World vanished from sight!"

Homage to the Remains 
21. Then the Mallas of Kusinara gave orders: "Gather now all the perfumes, flower-garlands, and musicians in Kusinara." And the Mallas, with these, and with many sets of cloth, went to the Sal Tree Grove, the resort of the Mallas, and approached the body of the Blessed One. 
 
The devas join hte Mallas (Wisdom Matrix)
Having approached, they honored the body of the Blessed One with dance, song, music, flower-garlands, and perfume. And erecting canopies and pavilions, they spent the day showing respect, honor, and veneration to the body of the Blessed One. 
 
Then the thought came to them: "Now the day is too far spent for us to cremate the body of the Blessed One. Tomorrow we will do it."
 
For a second day, and a third, fourth, fifth, and sixth day, they paid homage to the body of the Blessed One with dance, song, music, flower-garlands, and perfume. And erecting canopies and pavilions, they spent the day showing respect, honor, and veneration to the body of the Blessed One.
 
But on the seventh day the thought came to them: "We have paid homage to the body of the Blessed One with dance, song, music, flower-garlands, and perfume, and have shown respect, honor, and veneration; let us now carry the body of the Blessed One southward to the southern part of the town and beyond, and let us there cremate the body of the Blessed One south of town."
 
And eight Mallas from the foremost families bathed from the crown of their heads. Wearing new clothes they thought, "We will lift the body of the Blessed One" and tried to do so, but they could not.

22. Then the Mallas consulted Anuruddha, saying: "What is the cause, Ven. Anuruddha, what is the reason that these eight Mallas...cannot lift the body?"
 
"Vasetthas, you have one purpose, but the devas have another."
 
"Then what, venerable sir, is the purpose of the devas?"

"Vasetthas, your purpose is this: 'We have paid homage to the body of the Blessed One...now let us carry it southward to the southern part of town and beyond, and let us cremate the body of the Blessed One south of town.' 
 
"'But the purpose of the devas, Vasetthas, is this: 'We have paid homage to the body of the Blessed One with celestial dance, song, music, flower-garlands, and perfume, and have shown respect, honor, and veneration; let us now carry the body of the Blessed One northward to the northern part of town; and having carried it through the northern gate, let us go through the center of town, and then eastward to the east of town; and having passed through the east gate, let us carry it to the Makuta-bandhana Memorial (cetiya) of the Mallas, and there let us cremate the body of the Blessed One.'"
 
"As the devas wish, venerable sir, so let it be."
 
23. Thereupon the whole of [the village of] Kusinara, including the dust bins and rubbish heaps, were covered knee-deep in [extraterrestrial, celestial, heavenly] mandarava flowers. And homage was paid to the body of the Blessed One by the devas as well as the Mallas of Kusinara. 

With dance, song, music, flower-garlands, and perfume, both divine and human, respect, honor, and veneration were shown. And they carried the body of the Blessed One northward to the northern part of town; and having carried it through the north gate, they went through the center of town, and then eastward to the east of town; and having passed through the east gate, they carried the body of the Blessed One to the Memorial of the Mallas, and there laid it down.
 
Amaravati, Andra Pradesh, India, stele (Musee Guimet)
24. Then the Mallas of Kusinara said to Ananda: "How should we act, Ven. Ananda, respecting the body of the Tathagata?"
 
"After the same manner, Vasetthas, as toward the body of a universal monarch."
 
"But how, Ven. Ananda, do they act respecting the body of a universal monarch?"
 
"The body of a universal monarch, Vasetthas, is first wrapped round with new linen, and then with teased cotton wool. And again it is wrapped round with new linen, and again with teased cotton wool, and so it is done up to 500 (read "a large number") layers of linen and 500 of cotton wool. When that is done, the body of the universal monarch is placed in an iron oil-vessel, which is enclosed in another iron vessel and a funeral pyre is built of all kinds of perfumed woods, and so the body of the universal monarch is cremated. And at a crossroads a burial mound (stupa) is raised for the universal monarch. So it is done, Vasetthas, with the body of a universal monarch.
 
"And even, Vasetthas, as with the body of a universal monarch, so should it be done with the body of the Tathagata [the Buddha]. And at a crossroads also a memorial mound should be raised for the Tathagata. And whoever shall bring to that place garlands or incense or sandalwood paste, or pay reverence, and whose mind (heart) becomes calm there -- it will be to that being's well being and happiness for a long time."

Imaginative Burmese depiction: the funeral pyre (Dr. Donald Stadtner/archaeology.lk)
 
25. Then the Mallas gave orders: "Gather now all the teased cotton wool of the Mallas!" And the Mallas of Kusinara wrapped the body of the Blessed One round with new linen...and they built a funeral pyre of all kinds of perfumed woods, and upon it they laid the body of the Blessed One.
 
26. Now at that time Ven. Maha Kassapa [the Buddha's great Brahmin disciple who convened the First Council as if to make of the Buddha's Dharma a formal "religion"] was journeying from Pava to Kusinara together with a large company of monastics. And on the way, he stepped aside from the highway and sat down at the foot of a tree.
 
A certain Ajivaka came by, on his way to Pava, holding a mandarava flower from Kusinara. Maha Kassapa saw the Ajivaka coming from a distance, and as he drew close he spoke to him: "Do you know, friend, anything of our teacher?"
 
"Yes, friend, I know. It is now seven days since the ascetic Gautama passed away. From there I have brought this mandarava flower."
 
27. Thereupon some monastics, not yet freed from passion, lifted up their arms and wept; some, flinging themselves on the ground, rolled from side to side and wept, lamenting...

28. At that time, Ven. Subhadda [not the wanderer who was the last to convert], who had renounced only in his old age, was seated in the assembly. [He gave vent to this wrong view:] He addressed the monastics, saying: "Enough, friends! Do not grieve, do not lament! We are well rid of that Great Ascetic. Too long, friends, have we been oppressed by his saying: 'This is fitting for you; that is not fitting for you.' Now we shall be able to do as we wish. And what we do not wish, that we shall not do."
 
Ven. Maha Kassapa then addressed them: "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, it is subject to decay. How can one say: 'May it not come to dissolution!'?" 
  • [This remark by this wayward monk later impelled Maha Kassapa to call the First Council to organize and systematically authenticate the Buddha's teachings, leading to the formation of a formal "religion."] 
29. Now at that time four Mallas of the foremost families, bathed from the crown of their heads and wearing new clothes, with the thought: "We will set alight the Blessed One's pyre," tried to do so but could not. And the Mallas spoke to Anuruddha: "What is the cause, Ven. Anuruddha, what is the reason that these four Mallas...cannot?"
 
"Vasetthas, you have one purpose, the devas [invisible fairies] have another."
 
"Then what, venerable sir, is the purpose of the devas?"
 
"The purpose of the devas, Vasetthas, is this: 'Ven. Maha Kassapa is on his way from Pava to Kusinara together with a large company of the Buddha's monastic disciples. Let not the Blessed One's pyre be set alight until Ven. Maha Kassapa has paid homage at the feet of the Blessed One.'"
 
"As the devas wish, venerable sir, so let it be." More

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