The Great Chronicle of Buddhas

by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw | 1990 | 1,044,401 words

This page describes The Buddha discoursed on the Mahasudassana Sutta contained within the book called the Great Chronicle of Buddhas (maha-buddha-vamsa), a large compilation of stories revolving around the Buddhas and Buddhist disciples. This page is part of the series known as the Buddha Declared the Seven Factors of Non-Decline for Rulers. This great chronicle of Buddhas was compiled by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw who had a thorough understanding of the thousands and thousands of Buddhist teachings (suttas).

Part 44 - The Buddha discoursed on the Mahāsudassana Sutta

After the Buddha had extolled the virtues of Venerable Ānanda, Ānanda said to the Buddha: “Venerable Sir, pray do not realize Parinibbāna in this insignificant small town

(Kusināgara). Venerable Sir, there are many other great cities, such as Campā, Rājagaha, Sāvatthi, Sāketa, Kosambī and Bārāṇasī. Let the Bhagavā realize Parinibbāna in one of them. In these great cities, there are many rich nobles, many rich brahmins and many rich householders who are devoted to the Tathāgata. They will carry out the task of honouring the relics of the Tathāgata.”

“Do not say so, Ānanda. Do not say: ‘This insignificant small town’, Ānanda.”

“Ānanda, as it happened in the long, long past, there was a king named Mahāsudassana, a Universal Monarch, a Righteous Ruler over the four quarters of the earth, i.e. the four Island Continents bounded by four oceans, conqueror of all enemies, holding unchallenged sway over his territory, and endowed with the seven Treasures, the customary boon of the Universal Monarch. And Ānanda, this Kusināgara town was then King Sudassana’s capital city named Kusāvatī. From east to west, it was twelve yojanas long, and from north to south, it was seven yojanas broad.

“Ānanda, the capital city of Kusāvati was prosperous and flourishing, populous and thronging with all sons of people, and well provisioned. Just as, Ānanda, the celestial city of Āḷakamandā, the seat of King Vessavaṇṇa (of the Four Great Kings) was prosperous and flourishing, populous with devas and thronging with all sorts of yakkhas, and well provisioned. So, Ānanda, the capital city of Kusāvatī was prosperous and flourishing, populous and thronging with all sorts of people and well-provisioned.

“The capital city of Kusāvatī, Ānanda, was never silent by day nor by night, (resounding) with ten sounds, namely, the noise of elephants, of horses, of carriages, the sound of big drums, of tabors, of lutes, of singing, of conches, of music-beats (with little gongs and cymbals), and of cries of ‘Eat, drink, and chew.’ ”

(The ten sounds signify the peace and prosperity of Kuāvatī. In some other towns, instead of the ten sounds, there were unpleasant sounds such as, ‘Dispose of the garbage, bring pick axes, bring baskets; or let us move to some other place, bring provisions, bring cooked meals; or make ready your shields and weapons, prepare yourselves for war! But in Kusāvatī such unpleasant sounds were never heard. Only pleasant welcome sounds of invitation to feasts and festivals were heard there.)

The Buddha discoursed on Kusāvatī, the royal city, by beginning with, “Ānanda, the royal city of Kusāvatī was surrounded by seven rings of fortifications, etc.”, which, lasted for two recitals at the Council (Refer to Dīgha Nikāya Mahāvagga).

Having concluded this long discourse on the grandeur of Kusāvatī, the Buddha said to Venerable Ānanda:

“Go you, Ānanda, enter Kusināra and announce to the Malla princes of Kusināra: ‘O Vāseṭṭhas (Clan name of Mallas), tonight, in the third watch of the night, the Parinibbāna of the Tathāgata will take place. Come, Vāseṭṭhas, come! Do not let yourselves regret later with the thought: ‘The Tathāgata passed away in our territory, and yet we failed to take the opportunity of paying our respect at His last hour.’ ”

“Very well, Venerable Sir,” assented Ānanda, and went into Kusināra with a bhikkhu companion.

(In this connection, it might be asked: “Did the Malla princes not know about the arrival of the Bhagavā at Kusināra?” The answer is: They knew it, of course. For, wherever the Buddha went, there were always some devas who were devoted to Him and lay disciples, heralding the glad tidings that resounded in the neighbourhood. On that particular evening, the Malla princes were engaged in a meeting so that they could not go and welcome the Buddha. The Buddha sent Ānanda at that late hour because there was no monastery built for Him in the Sal grove, and the Malla princes would have to provide shelter for the big company of bhikkhus there. There was also the consideration that the Malla princes might, if not informed at that late hour, feel sad later that they had no news of the Buddha at His last moments.)

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