The Discourse about the Great Emancipation

[The Third Chapter for Recitation]

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[25: Ānanda's Fault at Vesālī]

At one time, Ānanda, I was living right here near Vesālī, in the Udena Shrine, I was living right here near Vesālī, in the Gotamaka Shrine, I was living right here near Vesālī, in the Seven Mangos Shrine, I was living right here near Vesālī, in the Many Sons Shrine, I was living right here near Vesālī, in the Sārandada Shrine, and here today, Ānanda, and here today, Ānanda, at the Cāpāla Shrine I addressed you, (saying):

‘Delightful, Ānanda, is Vesālī, delightful is the Udena Shrine, delightful is the Gotamaka Shrine, delightful is the Seven Mangos Shrine, delightful is the Many Sons Shrine, delightful is the Sārandada Shrine, delightful is the Cāpāla Shrine.

Whoever has developed, Ānanda, made much of, carried on, established, maintained, augmented, and properly instigated the Four Paths to Power, could, if he wanted, remain for the lifespan or for what is left of the lifespan. The Realised One has developed, Ānanda, made much of, carried on, established, maintained, augmented, and properly instigated the Four Paths to Power. If he wanted, Ānanda, the Realised One could remain for the lifespan or for what is left of the lifespan.’

But despite such a gross hint, Ānanda, being made by the Realised One, such a gross suggestion being made, you were unable to penetrate it, and did not beg the Realised One, (saying):

‘May the Gracious One remain, reverend Sir, for the lifespan; may the Fortunate One remain for the lifespan, for the benefit of many people, for the happiness of many people, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, benefit, and happiness of Divinities and men.’

If you, Ānanda, had begged the Realised One twice the Realised One might have rejected your speech, but would have accepted it on the third occasion. So, Ānanda, there is this wrong-doing for you, there is this fault for you.

* * *

Were you not warned by me when I declared: ‘There is alteration in, separation from, and changeability in all that is dear and appealing’? As far as I can see outside of this context this warning only appears in two other places, once towards the end of the Mahāsuddasanasuttaṁ (DN 17), and also in the Abhiṇhapaccavekkhitabbaṭhānasuttaṁ (AN Bk 5.57).01 How can it be otherwise, Ānanda, for that which is obtained, born, become, conditioned, subject to dissolution? It is not possible (to say) this: ‘It should not dissolve’. But this has been relinquished, cast out, let loose, abandoned by the Realised One, forsaken, the life-process that has been given up. For sure this word was spoken by the Realised One:

‘Not long now there will be the Realised One's Final Emancipation, after the passing of three months the Realised One will attain Final Emancipation.’ The Realised One cannot for the sake of life go back on that, it is not possible.