Nirvana Sutra

Appreciation of the "Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra"

"Nirvana Sutra" Continued (Z 32)


The Buddha said to Ananda: "In this forest of sal trees, there is a Brahmacarin named Subhadra, who is 120 years old. He possesses the five miraculous powers. But he is not away from [i.e. has not yet overcome] arrogance. He has attained the stage of thoughtlessness-non-thoughtlessness dhyana. He has arrived at All-Knowledge and has a mental image of Nirvana. Go to him and say: "The Buddha's appearance in the world is like that of the udumbara. He will, this [very] midnight, attain Parinirvana. If you wish to act, act immediately. Do not have regret in the days to come!" O Ananda! He will believe what you say. Why? Because, in the course of 500 years, you were once Subhadra's son. The taint of the loving mind has not yet left him. For this reason, he will believe what you say."

Then, at these words of the Buddha, Ananda went to Subhadra and said: "Know that the Tathagata appears in the world as rarely as the [blossoming of the] udumbara. This night he will enter Parinirvana. If you wish to act, act meet to the occasion. Do not have any regrets for later days."

Subhadra said: "Well said, O Ananda! I shall now go to the place of the Tathagata."

Then Ananda went back to the place of the Buddha, accompanied by Subhadra.

Then, on arriving, Subhadra spoke thus: "O Gautama! I now wish to ask a question. Answer me as [i.e. in the spirit of how] I mean to ask."

The Buddha said: "O Subhadra! It is now time. I shall answer you. I shall employ the means and answer you."