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.
“The growth of the bhikkhus is to be expected, not their decline, bhikkhus, so long as they assemble frequently and in large numbers; meet and disperse peacefully and attend to the affairs of the Sangha in concord..”