The Discourse about the Great Emancipation

[The Fifth Chapter for Recitation]

download

[34: The Visit of the Divinities]

Now at that time venerable Upavāṇa was standing in front of the Gracious One, fanning the Gracious One. Then the Gracious One dismissed venerable Upavāṇa, (saying): “Depart, monk, do not stand in front of me.”

Then venerable Ānanda thought: “This venerable Upavāṇa has been the Gracious One's attendant for a long time, Ven. Upavāṇa was one of the monks attending on the Buddha in the first twenty years after the Awakening, before Ānanda was appointed full-time to that position, so he had been attending on the Buddha for a very long time indeed.01 living near to him, within proximity. Then at the last moment the Gracious One dismisses venerable Upavāṇa, (saying): ‘Depart, monk, do not stand in front of me.’ What was the reason, what was the cause, for the Gracious One dismissing venerable Upavāṇa, (saying): ‘Depart, monk, do not stand in front of me’?”

Then venerable Ānanda said this to the Gracious One: “This venerable Upavāṇa has been the Gracious One's attendant for a long time, living near to him, within proximity. Then at the last moment the Gracious One dismisses venerable Upavāṇa, (saying): ‘Depart, monk, do not stand in front of me.’ What is the reason, reverend Sir, what is the cause, for the Gracious One dismissing venerable Upavāṇa, (saying): ‘Depart, monk, do not stand in front of me’?”

“Almost all of the Divinities, The Commentary explains that almost is said because beings without perception (asaññasattā), and those in the formless worlds (arūpadevatā) didn't come.02 Ānanda, from the ten world-elements BJT adds sahassīsu, which would mean: from the ten thousand world-elements.03 have assembled to see the Realised One, everywhere around Kusinārā and the Mallas' Sal Wood at Upavattana for as far as twelve leagues there is no place, even so much as a tip of a pricking hair, unpervaded by powerful Divinities, and the Divinities, Ānanda, are complaining, (saying): ‘We have come from afar to see the Realised One, only occasionally, infrequently, do Realised Ones, Worthy Ones, Perfect Sambuddhas arise in the world, and today during the last watch of the night will be the Realised One's Final Emancipation, and this powerful monk is stood in front concealing the Realised One, Comm: Thero kira pakatiyāpi mahāsarīro hatthipotakasadiso, so paṁsukūlacīvaraṁ pārupitvā atimahā viya ahosi; the Elder was naturally big in body, like a young elephant, and after donning his rag-robe he was like someone exceedingly big.04 and we are not able to see the Realised One at the last moment.’ ”

“But what beings and Divinities is the Gracious One thinking of?”

“There are, Ānanda, Divinities in the sky, perceiving the Earth, who, having dishevelled hair, are weeping, throwing up their arms, falling down (as though) cut down, rolling backwards and forwards as though with their feet cut off, they are crying: ‘Too quickly the Gracious One will attain Final Emancipation, too quickly the Fortunate One will attain Final Emancipation, too quickly the Visionary in the world will disappear!’

There are, Ānanda, Divinities on the Earth, perceiving the Earth, who, having dishevelled hair, are weeping, throwing up their arms, falling down (as though) cut down, rolling backwards and forwards as though with their feet cut off, they are crying: ‘Too quickly the Gracious One will attain Final Emancipation, too quickly the Fortunate One will attain Final Emancipation, too quickly the Visionary in the world will disappear!’ ”

But those Divinities who have cut off passion, mindfully, with full awareness, they endure, (thinking): ‘Impermanent are (all) processes, how can it be otherwise?’ ”