Mahāparinibbānasuttaṁ
The Discourse about the Great Emancipation

[Chaṭṭhabhāṇavāraṁ]
[The Sixth Chapter for Recitation]

[44: Sarīravibhāgo]
[The Distribution of the Relics]

Assosi kho Rājā Māgadho Ajātasattu Vedehiputto:
The Magadhan King Ajātasattu, the son of Lady Wisdom, heard:

“Bhagavā kira Kusinārāyaṁ parinibbuto.” ti
“The Gracious One, it seems, has attained Final Emancipation in Kusinārā.”

Atha kho Rājā Māgadho Ajātasattu Vedehiputto,
Then the Magadhan King Ajātasattu, the son of Lady Wisdom,

Kosinārakānaṁ Mallānaṁ dūtaṁ pāhesi:
sent a message to the Mallas of Kusinārā, (saying):

“Bhagavā pi Khattiyo aham-pi Khattiyo,
“The Gracious One was a Noble, and I also am a Noble,

aham-pi arahāmi Bhagavato sarīrānaṁ bhāgaṁ,
I am worthy of a share of the Gracious One's bodily relics,

aham-pi Bhagavato sarīrānaṁ Thūpañ-ca mahañ-ca karissāmī.” ti
I will make a Shrine and hold a festival for the bodily relics.”

Assosuṁ kho Vesālikā Licchavī:
Then the Licchavīs of Vesālī heard:

“Bhagavā kira Kusinārāyaṁ parinibbuto.” ti
“The Gracious One, it seems, has attained Final Emancipation in Kusinārā.”

Atha kho Vesālikā Licchavī
Then the Licchavīs of Vesālī

Kosinārakānaṁ Mallānaṁ dūtaṁ pāhesuṁ:
sent a message to the Mallas of Kusinārā, (saying):

Bhagavā pi Khattiyo mayam-pi Khattiyā,
“The Gracious One was a Noble, and we also are Nobles,

mayam-pi arahāma Bhagavato sarīrānaṁ bhāgaṁ,
we are worthy of a share of the Gracious One's bodily relics,

mayam-pi Bhagavato sarīrānaṁ Thūpañ-ca mahañ-ca karissāmā.” ti
we will make a Shrine and hold a festival for the bodily relics.”

 

Assosuṁ kho Kāpilavatthavā Sakyā:
Then the Sakyas of Kapilavatthu heard:

“Bhagavā kira Kusinārāyaṁ parinibbuto.” ti
“The Gracious One, it seems, has attained Final Emancipation in Kusinārā.”

Atha kho Kāpilavatthavā Sakyā
Then the Sakyas of Kapilavatthu

Kosinārakānaṁ Mallānaṁ dūtaṁ pāhesuṁ:
sent a message to the Mallas of Kusinārā, (saying):

“Bhagavā amhākaṁ ñātiseṭṭho,
“The Gracious One was our foremost relative,

mayam-pi arahāma Bhagavato sarīrānaṁ bhāgaṁ,
we are worthy of a share of the Gracious One's bodily relics,

mayam-pi Bhagavato sarīrānaṁ Thūpañ-ca mahañ-ca karissāmā” ti.
we will make a Shrine and hold a festival for the bodily relics.”

 

Assosuṁ kho Allakappakā Bulayo:
Then the Bulas of Allakappa heard:

“Bhagavā kira Kusinārāyaṁ parinibbuto.” ti
“The Gracious One, it seems, has attained Final Emancipation in Kusinārā.”

Atha kho Allakappakā Bulayo
Then the Bulas of Allakappa

Kosinārakānaṁ Mallānaṁ dūtaṁ pāhesuṁ:
sent a message to the Mallas of Kusinārā, (saying):

“Bhagavā pi Khattiyo mayam-pi Khattiyā,
“The Gracious One was a Noble, and we also are Nobles,

mayam-pi arahāma Bhagavato sarīrānaṁ bhāgaṁ,
we are worthy of a share of the Gracious One's bodily relics,

mayam-pi Bhagavato sarīrānaṁ Thūpañ-ca mahañ-ca karissāmā.” ti
we will make a Shrine and hold a festival for the bodily relics.”

 

Assosuṁ kho Rāmagāmakā Koliyā:
Then the Koliyas of Rāmagāma heard:

“Bhagavā kira Kusinārāyaṁ parinibbuto.” ti
“The Gracious One, it seems, has attained Final Emancipation in Kusinārā.”

Atha kho Rāmagāmakā Koliyā
Then the Koliyas of Rāmagāma

Kosinārakānaṁ Mallānaṁ dūtaṁ pāhesuṁ:
sent a message to the Mallas of Kusinārā, (saying):

“Bhagavā pi Khattiyo mayam-pi Khattiyā,
“The Gracious One was a Noble, and we also are Nobles,

mayam-pi arahāma Bhagavato sarīrānaṁ bhāgaṁ,
we are worthy of a share of the Gracious One's bodily relics,

mayam-pi Bhagavato sarīrānaṁ Thūpañ-ca mahañ-ca karissāmā.” ti
we will make a Shrine and hold a festival for the bodily relics.”

 

Assosi kho Veṭhadīpako brāhmaṇo:
Then the brahmin Veṭhadīpaka heard:

“Bhagavā kira Kusinārāyaṁ parinibbuto.” ti
“The Gracious One, it seems, has attained Final Emancipation in Kusinārā.”

Atha kho Veṭhadīpako brāhmaṇo
Then the brahmin Veṭhadīpaka

Kosinārakānaṁ Mallānaṁ dūtaṁ pāhesi:
sent a message to the Mallas of Kusinārā, (saying):

“Bhagavā pi Khattiyo aham-asmi brāhmaṇo,
“The Gracious One was a Noble, and I am a brahmin,

aham-pi arahāmi Bhagavato sarīrānaṁ bhāgaṁ,
I am worthy of a share of the Gracious One's bodily relics,

aham-pi Bhagavato sarīrānaṁ Thūpañ-ca mahañ-ca karissāmī.” ti
I will make a Shrine and hold a festival for the bodily relics.”

 

Assosuṁ kho Pāveyyakā Mallā:
Then the Mallas of Pāvā heard:

“Bhagavā kira Kusinārāyaṁ parinibbuto.” ti
“The Gracious One, it seems, has attained Final Emancipation in Kusinārā.”

Atha kho Pāveyyakā Mallā Kosinārakānaṁ Mallānaṁ dūtaṁ pāhesuṁ:
Then the Mallas of Pāvā sent a message to the Mallas of Kusinārā, (saying):

“Bhagavā pi Khattiyo mayam-pi Khattiyā,
“The Gracious One was a Noble, and we also are Nobles,

mayam-pi arahāma Bhagavato sarīrānaṁ bhāgaṁ,
we are worthy of a share of the Gracious One's bodily relics,

mayam-pi Bhagavato sarīrānaṁ Thūpañ-ca mahañ-ca karissāmā.” ti
we will make a Shrine and hold a festival for the bodily relics.”

 

Evaṁ vutte Kosinārakā Mallā te saṅghe gaṇe etad-avocuṁ:
After this was said, the Mallas of Kusinārā said this to their community and group:

“Bhagavā amhākaṁ gāmakkhette parinibbuto,
“The Gracious One has attained Final Emancipation in the area of our village,

na mayaṁ dassāma Bhagavato sarīrānaṁ bhāgan.”-ti
(but) we will not see a share of the Gracious One's bodily relics.”

Evaṁ vutte Doṇo brāhmaṇo te saṅghe gaṇe etad-avoca:
After this was said, the brahmin Doṇa said this to their community and group: The name Doṇa means Measurer, and is therefore a mythical name. The Commentary records that before he spoke the verses below, he recited another (spontaneous?) poem, which became known as Doṇagajjitaṁ, Doṇa's Roar. It is said to have been 500 verses long (dvibhāṇavāra). Unfortunately there appears to be no record of this poem.01

“Suṇantu Bhonto mama ekavākyaṁ:
“Listen, dear Sirs, to a sentence of mine:

Amhāka' Buddho ahu khantivādo
Our Buddha was one who spoke about forebearance

Na hi sādhu yaṁ Uttamapuggalassa
* It is not good that there should be a battle

Sarīrabhāge siyā sampahāro.
About sharing the relics of the Best Man.

 

Sabbe va bhonto sahitā samaggā,
* Let us united, in concord, dear Sirs,

Sammodamānā karomaṭṭhabhāge,
With joyful minds, make eight shares (of the relics),

Vitthārikā hontu disāsu Thūpā
And set up Shrines in every direction

Bahū janā Cakkhumato pasannā.” ti
(So that) many people may gain faith in the Visionary One.”

“Tena hi brāhmaṇa tvañ-ñeva Bhagavato sarīrāni
* “Now, brahmin, you must divide the Gracious One's bodily relics

aṭṭhadhā samaṁ suvibhattaṁ vibhajāhī.” ti
in eight equal divisions.”

“Evaṁ bho,” ti kho Doṇo brāhmaṇo,
“Certainly, dear Sir,” said Doṇa the brahmin,

tesaṁ saṅghānaṁ gaṇānaṁ paṭissutvā,
after replying to that community and group,

Bhagavato sarīrāni aṭṭhadhā samaṁ suvibhattaṁ vibhajitvā,
and dividing the Gracious One's bodily relics in eight equal divisions,

te saṅghe gaṇe etad-avoca:
he said this to that community and group:

“Imaṁ me bhonto tumbaṁ dadantu,
“Please give me this urn, dear Sirs,

aham-pi tumbassa Thūpañ-ca mahañ-ca karissāmī.” ti
and I also will make a Shrine and hold a festival for the urn.” The Commentary tells a rather embarrassing story here. It says that Doṇa stole the right eye-tooth of the Buddha while the others were distracted and put it into his turban, but Sakka then stole it and enshrined it in the Cūḷāmaṇi shrine in Tāvatiṁsa Heaven. Realising that it had gone Doṇa then asked for the urn!02

Adaṁsu kho te Doṇassa brāhmaṇassa tumbaṁ.
They gave the urn to Doṇa the brahmin.

 

Assosuṁ kho Pipphalivaniyā Moriyā:
Then the Moriyā of Pepper Wood heard:

“Bhagavā kira Kusinārāyaṁ parinibbuto.” ti
“The Gracious One, it seems, has attained Final Emancipation in Kusinārā.”

Atha kho Pipphalivaniyā Moriyā
Then the Moriyā of Pepper Wood

Kosinārakānaṁ Mallānaṁ dūtaṁ pāhesuṁ:
sent a message to the Mallas of Kusinārā, (saying):

“Bhagavā pi Khattiyo mayam-pi Khattiyā,
“The Gracious One was a Noble, and we also are Nobles,

mayam-pi arahāma Bhagavato sarīrānaṁ bhāgaṁ,
we are worthy of a share of the Gracious One's bodily relics,

mayam-pi Bhagavato sarīrānaṁ Thūpañ-ca mahañ-ca karissāmā.” ti
we will make a Shrine and hold a festival for the bodily relics.”

“Natthi Bhagavato sarīrānaṁ bhāgo vibhattāni,
“There are no more portions of the Gracious One's relics,

Bhagavato sarīrāni ito aṅgāraṁ harathā.” ti
(instead) take the ashes from the Gracious One's body.”

Te tato aṅgāraṁ hariṁsu.
Therefore they took away the ashes.

* * *

Atha kho Rājā Māgadho Ajātasattu Vedehiputto,
Then the Magadhan King Ajātasattu, the son of Lady Wisdom,

Rājagahe Bhagavato sarīrānaṁ Thūpañ-ca mahañ-ca akāsi.
made a Shrine for the Gracious One's bodily relics at Rājagaha and held a festival. Comm: Kusinārato yāva Rājagahaṁ pañcavīsati yojanāni ... evaṁ dhātuyo gahetvā āgacchantānaṁ sattavassānisatta māsāni sattadivasāni vītivattāni; from Kusināra to Rājagaha is 25 leagues ... while the relics were being brought, 7 years, 7 months, and 7 days passed by.03

Vesālikā pi Licchavī
The Licchavīs from Vesālī

Vesāliyaṁ Bhagavato sarīrānaṁ Thūpañ-ca mahañ-ca akaṁsu.
made a Shrine for the Gracious One's bodily relics at Vesālī and held a festival.

Kāpilavatthavā pi Sakyā
The Sakyas from Kapilavatthu

Kapilavatthusmiṁ Bhagavato sarīrānaṁ Thūpañ-ca mahañ-ca akaṁsu.
made a Shrine for the Gracious One's bodily relics at Kapilavatthu and held a festival.

Allakappakā pi Bulayo
The Bulas of Allakappa

Allakappe Bhagavato sarīrānaṁ Thūpañ-ca mahañ-ca akaṁsu.
made a Shrine for the Gracious One's bodily relics at Allakappa and held a festival.

Rāmagāmakā pi Koliyā
The Koliyas of Rāmagāma

Rāmagāme Bhagavato sarīrānaṁ Thūpañ-ca mahañ-ca akaṁsu.
made a Shrine for the Gracious One's bodily relics at Rāmagāma and held a festival.

Veṭhadīpako pi brāhmaṇo
The Veṭhadīpaka brahmin

Veṭṭhadīpe Bhagavato sarīrānaṁ Thūpañ-ca mahañ-ca akāsi.
made a Shrine for the Gracious One's bodily relics at Veṭṭhadīpa and held a festival.

Pāveyyakā pi Mallā
The Mallas of Pāvā

Pāvāyaṁ Bhagavato sarīrānaṁ Thūpañ-ca mahañ-ca akaṁsu.
made a Shrine for the Gracious One's bodily relics at Pāvā and held a festival.

Kosinārakā pi Mallā
The Mallas of Kusinārā

Kusinārāyaṁ Bhagavato sarīrānaṁ Thūpañ-ca mahañ-ca akaṁsu.
made a Shrine for the Gracious One's bodily relics at Kusinārā and held a festival.

Doṇo pi brāhmaṇo
Doṇa the brahmin

Tumbassa Thūpañ-ca mahañ-ca akāsi.
made a Shrine for the urn and held a festival.

Pipphalivaniyā pi Moriyā
The Moriyās of Pepper Wood

Pipphalivane aṅgārānaṁ Thūpañ-ca mahañ-ca akaṁsu.
made a Shrine for the ashes at Pepper Wood and held a festival.

Iti aṭṭha sarīratthūpā navamo Tumbathūpo dasamo Aṅgārathūpo,
Thus there were eight Shrines for the bodily relics, the Urn Shrine was the ninth, and the Ashes Shrine was the tenth,

evam-etaṁ bhūtapubban ti.
and so it was in former times. The Commentary says these words were added at the 3rd Council. It also tells how Ven. Mahākassapa later collected most of the relics together again and that King Ajātasattu built a shrine for them. This was rediscovered by King Asoka who had them enshrined in the 84,000 monasteries he built throughout Jambudīpa. The story is obviously told to try to reconcile the two traditions.04

 

 

Aṭṭhadoṇaṁ Cakkhumato sarīraṁ,
(There were) eight measures of the Visionary's relics, The following verses, which the Commentary says were added in Tambapaṇṇi (Śri Laṅkā), also record the growing dispersion of the relics. They should be compared with the even more advanced last chapter of Buddhavaṁsa, one of whose verses is quoted verbatim below and another of which seems to be paraphrased.05

Sattadoṇaṁ Jambudīpe mahenti,
Seven measures are honoured in Jambudīpa,

Ekañ-ca doṇaṁ purisavaruttamassa
One measure of the most Noble Man

Rāmagāme Nāgarājā maheti.
The King of the Dragons honours in Rāmagāma.

 

Ekā hi dāṭhā Tidivehi pūjitā, Compare this verse with Buddhavaṁsa 29.6: Ekā dāṭhā Tidasapure, ekā Nāgapure ahu, ekā Gandhāravisaye, ekā Kaliṅgarājino.06
One tooth is worshipped in the Heavens,

Ekā pana Gandhārapure mahīyati,
And one is honoured in the city of Gandhāra,

Kāliṅgarañño vijite punekaṁ,
A further one in the realm of the Kaliṅga King,

Ekaṁ puna Nāgarājā maheti.
And the King of the Dragons honours one more.

 

Tasseva tejena ayaṁ Vasundharā
Through the power (of these relics) this Lovely Earth

Āyāgaseṭṭhehi Mahī alaṅkatā.
Is decorated like a most excellent hall.

Evaṁ imaṁ Cakkhumato sarīraṁ,
Thus this body of the Visionary One,

Susakkataṁ sakkatasakkatehi.
(Is) well esteemed by those who respect the respectable.

 

Devindanāgindanarindapūjito,
Honoured by Lords of Divinities, Lords of Dragons, and Kings,

Manussaseṭṭhehi tatheva pūjito,
(The relics are) honoured by true Lords of Men,

Taṁ vandatha pañjalikā bhavitvā,
Worship those (relics) after holding up your hands,

Buddho have kappasatehi dullabho ti.
A Buddha is rare even in a hundred aeons.

 

Cattāḷīsasamā dantā kesā lomā ca sabbaso
Altogether forty even teeth, the hair, and body hair (relics) were

Devā hariṁsu ekekaṁ Cakkavāḷaparamparā. ti This verse is also found at Bv. 29.7.07
Carried off successively by the Divinities to the (various) Universes.

 

Mahāparinibbānasuttaṁ Niṭṭhitaṁ Tatiyaṁ.
The Discourse about the Great Emancipation,
The Third (in the Mahāvagga section of the Long Discourses) is Finished.