Maps of Ancient Buddhist Asia

Tathāgatassa Pacchimā Cārikā
The Realised One’s Last Tour

The Realised One’s Last Tour

The map shown above is approx. 550 km from East to West and 400 km from North to South

There is a video of an hour-long talk I gave using this map as a basis to explain more about the last year of the Buddha’s life.
It can be seen on YouTube

Some of the modern place names, where they differ, are given here: Rājagaha = Rajgir; Pāṭaligāma = Patna; Koṭigāma = Hajipur; Vesālī = Vaishali; Pāvā = Fazilnagar and Kusinārā = Kushinagar. Other places are uncertain or unidentified.

The last year of the Buddha’s life is recorded in the Mahāparinibbānasutta of the Dīghanikāya (DN 16), which records his last walking tour in the Middle Country (Majjhimadesa). Before the beginning of the Rains Retreat (Vassāna) the Buddha walked from Rājagaha to Vesālī (approx. 90 km) where he stayed for a number of months. Eventually the Buddha left Vesālī and started walking North and attained Complete Emancipation (Parinibbāna) at Kusinārā (approx. 270 km, quite a walk when 80 years old and ill).

Looking at the map it very much appears as though the Buddha was actually heading for his home town of Kapilavatthu but succumbed to his illness on the way. The Buddha fell ill with dysentery in Pāvā and according to the very sad story in the Commentary, on the last day of his tour he actually had to sit down and rest no less than 25 times before reaching Kusinārā in the evening.