Mahāparinibbānasuttaṁ
The Discourse about the Great Emancipation

[Chaṭṭhabhāṇavāraṁ]
[The Sixth Chapter for Recitation]

[40: Tathāgatassa PacchimāAnusāsanā]
[The Last Instructions of the Realised One]

Atha kho Bhagavā āyasmantaṁ Ānandaṁ āmantesi:
Then the Gracious One addressed venerable Ānanda, (saying):

“Siyā kho pan' Ānanda tumhākaṁ evam-assa:
“It may be, Ānanda, that some of you may think in this way:

‘Atītasatthukaṁ pāvacanaṁ natthi no Satthā.’ ti
‘Past is the Teacher's word, there is now no Teacher for us.’

Na kho panetaṁ Ānanda evaṁ daṭṭhabbaṁ,
But it should not be seen like that, Ānanda,

yo vo Ānanda mayā Dhammo ca Vinayo ca desito paññatto
whatever Teaching and Discipline has been taught by me or laid down, Ānanda,

so vo mamaccayena Satthā.
that is your Teacher after my passing away.

* * *

Yathā kho pan' Ānanda etarahi bhikkhū aññamaññaṁ āvusovādena samudācaranti:
At present, Ānanda, the monks address each other with the word ‘friend’,

na kho mamaccayena evaṁ samudācaritabbaṁ.
(but) after my passing away they are not to address (one another) thus.

Theratarena Ānanda bhikkhunā navakataro bhikkhu
* The elder monk, Ānanda, should address the younger monk

nāmena vā gottena vā āvusovādena vā samudācaritabbo.
by his name or by his clan (name) or by the word ‘friend’.

Navakatarena bhikkhunā therataro bhikkhu
(But) the younger monk should address the elder monk

Bhante ti vā āyasmā ti vā samudācaritabbo.
as reverend Sir or venerable Sir.

* * *

Ākaṅkhamāno Ānanda Saṅgho mamaccayena,
Desiring (to do so), Ānanda, the Community after my passing away,

khuddānukhuddakāni sikkhāpadāni samūhanatu.
can abolish the minor and subsidiary training rules. Ānanda was greatly blamed at the First Council for not asking the Buddha what the minor and subsidiary training rules were. As there was no agreement as to the range of rules included here the decision was made at the Council not to abolish any of them.01

* * *

Channassa Ānanda bhikkhuno mamaccayena brahmadaṇḍo dātabbo.” ti
The highest penalty, Ānanda, after my passing away, is to be handed out to the monk Channa.”

“Katamo pana Bhante brahmadaṇḍo?” ti
“But what is the highest penalty, reverend Sir?”

“Channo Ānanda bhikkhu yaṁ iccheyya taṁ vadeyya
“The monk Channa, Ānanda, may say whatever he wishes

so bhikkhūhi neva vattabbo na ovaditabbo na anusāsitabbo.” ti
but he is not to be spoken to or advised or instructed by the monks.” When he found out the Brahmadaṇḍa punishment had been decreed by the Buddha before he died, Channa was humbled, and later, striving in solitude, he became a Worthy One, at which point the penalty lapsed.02

* * *

Atha kho Bhagavā bhikkhū āmantesi:
Then the Gracious One addressed the monks, (saying):

“Siyā kho pana bhikkhave ekabhikkhussa pi kaṅkhā vā vimati vā
“It may be, monks, that for one of the monks there is doubt or confusion

Buddhe vā Dhamme vā Saṅghe vā Magge vā paṭipadāya vā.
about the Buddha, or about the Teaching, or about the Community, or about the Path, or about the practice.

Pucchatha bhikkhave mā pacchā vippaṭisārino ahuvattha:
Ask, monks, do not be regretful later (thinking):

‘Sammukhībhūto no Satthā ahosi
‘The Teacher was face to face with us

na mayaṁ sikkhimhā Bhagavantaṁ sammukhā paṭipucchitun.’ ”-ti
and we didn't ask the Gracious One directly about the training.’ ”

Evaṁ vutte te bhikkhū tuṇhī ahesuṁ.
After this was said those monks were silent.

 

Dutiyam-pi kho Bhagavā bhikkhū āmantesi:
For a second time the Gracious One addressed the monks, (saying):

“Siyā kho pana bhikkhave ekabhikkhussa pi kaṅkhā vā vimati vā
“It may be, monks, that for one of the monks there is doubt or confusion

Buddhe vā Dhamme vā Saṅghe vā Magge vā paṭipadāya vā.
about the Buddha, or about the Teaching, or about the Community, or about the Path, or about the practice.

Pucchatha bhikkhave mā pacchā vippaṭisārino ahuvattha:
Ask, monks, do not be regretful later (thinking):

‘Sammukhībhūto no Satthā ahosi
‘The Teacher was face to face with us

na mayaṁ sikkhimhā Bhagavantaṁ sammukhā paṭipucchitun.’ ”-ti
and we didn't ask the Gracious One directly about the training.’ ”

Dutiyam-pi kho te bhikkhū tuṇhī ahesuṁ.
For a second time those monks were silent.

 

Tatiyam-pi kho Bhagavā bhikkhū āmantesi:
For a third time the Gracious One addressed the monks, (saying):

“Siyā kho pana bhikkhave ekabhikkhussa pi kaṅkhā vā vimati vā
“It may be, monks, that for one of the monks there is doubt or confusion

Buddhe vā Dhamme vā Saṅghe vā Magge vā paṭipadāya vā.
about the Buddha, or about the Teaching, or about the Community, or about the Path, or about the practice.

Pucchatha bhikkhave mā pacchā vippaṭisārino ahuvattha:
Ask, monks, do not be regretful later (thinking):

‘Sammukhībhūto no Satthā ahosi
‘The Teacher was face to face with us

na mayaṁ sikkhimhā Bhagavantaṁ sammukhā paṭipucchitun.’ ”-ti
and we didn't ask the Gracious One directly about the training.’ ”

Tatiyam-pi kho te bhikkhū tuṇhī ahesuṁ.
For a third time those monks were silent.

 

Atha kho Bhagavā bhikkhū āmantesi:
Then the Gracious One addressed the monks, (saying):

“Siyā kho pana bhikkhave Satthu gāravena pi na puccheyyātha,
“It may be, monks, that out of respect for the Teacher you do not ask,

sahāyako pi bhikkhave sahāyakassa ārocetū.” ti
then one friend, monks, can inform another friend (about his doubts).”

Evaṁ vutte te bhikkhū tuṇhī ahesuṁ.
After this was said those monks were silent.

 

Atha kho āyasmā Ānando Bhagavantaṁ etad-avoca:
Then venerable Ānanda said this to the Gracious One:

“Acchariyaṁ Bhante abbhutaṁ Bhante,
“It is wonderful, reverend Sir, it is marvellous, reverend Sir,

evaṁ pasanno ahaṁ Bhante imasmiṁ bhikkhusaṅghe
I am confident, reverend Sir, that in this Community of monks

natthi ekabhikkhussa pi kaṅkhā vā vimati vā
there is not one of the monks in this Community of monks who has doubt or confusion

Buddhe vā Dhamme vā Saṅghe vā Magge vā paṭipadāya vā.” ti
about the Buddha, or about the Teaching, or about the Community, or about the Path, or about the practice.”

“Pasādā kho tvaṁ Ānanda vadesi,
“Out of confidence, Ānanda, you speak,

ñāṇam-eva hettha Ānanda Tathāgatassa
but the Realised One, Ānanda, has knowledge that

natthi imasmiṁ Bhikkhusaṅghe ekabhikkhussa pi kaṅkhā vā vimati vā
there is not one of the monks in this Community of monks who has doubt or confusion

Buddhe vā Dhamme vā Saṅghe vā Magge vā paṭipadāya vā.
about the Buddha, or about the Teaching, or about the Community, or about the Path, or about the practice.

Imesaṁ hi Ānanda pañcannaṁ bhikkhusatānaṁ,
For amongst these five hundred monks, Ānanda,

yo pacchimako bhikkhu so sotāpanno avinipātadhammo,
he who is the last monk, is a Stream-Enterer, no longer subject to falling (into the lower realms),

niyato sambodhiparāyano.” ti
and has a fixed destiny ending in Final Awakening.” According to the Commentary the last monk the Buddha was referring to was Ānanda himself, and this was said to encourage his efforts.03

* * *

Atha kho Bhagavā bhikkhū āmantesi:
Then the Gracious One addressed the monks, (saying):

“Handa dāni bhikkhave āmantayāmi vo vayadhammā saṅkhārā,
“Come now, monks, for I tell you (all) conditioned things are subject to decay,

appamādena sampādethā!” ti
strive on with heedfulness!”

Ayaṁ Tathāgatassa pacchimā vācā.
These were the last words of the Realised One. Commentary: Saṅgītikārakānaṁ vacanaṁ; the words of those who held the (First) Council.04