Here Sangharakshita recounts one of the stories from the Mahaparinibbana Sutta, that of The Episode of Untimely Flowers. Reflections based around the Buddha’s Parinirvana (‘death’), stress the importance of impermanence.
The Buddha’s Parinirvana marks the final passing of the Buddha two and a half millennia ago. It is an opportunity not just to contemplate on impermanence, but also to rejoice in the example of the Buddha’s life and in the precious opportunity our own lives present us with.
The Maha Parinirvana Sutra contains a fairly detailed account of the Buddha’s last months of his earthly life. It follows him step by step – where he went, who he met, how he discoursed, what teaching he gave. By the time he embarked on his last journey he knew he was going to pass away. Being the Enlightened One, he remained calm, reflecting on his last words, his last teaching.
There is something profoundly natural and ordinary about death, and yet something quite mysterious. Where do we go? What actually happens? Who or what are we when alive? Nothing changed, from the Buddha’s point of view. Vimalavajri offers reflections on the ultimate unknown, the ultimate mystery, death, inspired by the glimpses of awakening depicted in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta.
Chintamani Retreat Centre is a strikingly beautiful venue for Dharma practice in any season. And as we move towards November celebrations around the Day of the Dead here in México, the 2019 Pan-American Order Convention is underway, calling us to dwell on the impermanence of things, the impermanence of us.
Fittingly for a place built from scratch 15 years ago on old sugar cane fields and surrounded by sugar cane hills, our beautiful shrine is adorned...
As we head towards celebrating the life of Ratnasuri with her funeral here at Taraloka on the 10th October 2019. This is a link to an interview with Ratnasuri, aged 90, by Samantabhadri on the retreat ‘Facing Death, Embracing Life’ at Taraloka November 2013.
An alert, thoughtful Ratnasuri chats about inspiration, old age, her death and re-birth, Bhante, Taraloka, Amitabha and Vajrayogini.