In Rājagaha the Well-Farer lectured
On wisdom, concentration, morality…
The monks listened, devoutly, calmly,
To the message replete with practicality.
On to Ambaliṭṭikā they journeyed,
To Nālandā and Pāṭaligāma as well.
The Buddha continued to spread the Dhamma--
Or teachings--at which he was known to excel.
After passing over the Ganges,
To Koṭigāma they made their way.
The Buddha repeated the Four Noble Truths
That still guide many people today.
At Nādikā the Teacher referred to the Mirror
Of Dhamma and said to always begin
By looking first at yourself to discover
The truth that lies deep within.
On to Vesālī the ascetics wandered,
Where their Master continued to share
The power and value of mindful living--
The importance of being clearly aware.
During the rains the Awakened One rested
In Beluva, where he postponed his trek.
While staying there he grew ill, but he knew
It was NOT his time, so it kept it in check.
"Live as islands," he said to Ānanda,
"With truth as a refuge. And grasp not, for I
Have always told you that all things dear to us--
Whatever is born--eventually will die."
After the rains, the group traveled
To the Great Forest--to the Gabled Hall,
And the Buddha repeated the Eightfold Path--
A message of wisdom pertaining to all.
Bhoganagara was their next stop,
And then to Pāvā the wayfarers did go.
Their host, Cunda, served "pig's delight."
The Buddha grew ill. Why? We don't know.
Despite his illness, he continued
To Kusinārā and lay down to rest.
Music sounded and flowers fell
From the sky to honor the One-Who-Is-Blessed.
"The Dhamma will now be your teacher.
Strive on untiringly. My time has passed."
After entering deep concentration
The Great One died. Those words were his last.
Thunder sounded and the ground shook--
As it does when any great teacher "goes to sleep."
The Buddha is Dhamma; the Dhamma is the Buddha.
Because of that there's no reason to weep.
The compassionate Buddha's Teachings have spread
For over two thousand five hundred years.
His Message of living in wisdom and compassion
And loving mindfulness perseveres.
- by Bob B