About the Book:
This long discourse is unlike any other. It is not a single Dhamma talk at one location, but an account of the last year or so of the Buddha’s life. This discourse contains the Buddha’s final instructions, thus it is very important for the preservation of the Buddha’s dispensation. Every Buddhist should know about the important teachings contained in this Sutta. The Sutta begins when the Blessed One was dwelling on Vultures’ Peak near Rājagaha, it describes his journey to Pāṭaligāma, which would become the new capital city of King Ajātasattu of Magadha. There, the Buddha crossed the Ganges with the Saṅgha by using his psychic powers, and proceeded towards Vesāli on the north bank of the Ganges. The Buddha entered the Rains Retreat for the last time near the village of Beḷuva, accompanied only by Venerable Ānanda, while the other monks took up residence for the Rains in the vicinity of Vesāli. At the end of the Rains, Māra approached the Buddha and asked him to pass away there and then. The Buddha refused, but announced that his demise would take place in three months. Thereupon there was a great earthquake. The remainder of the discourse describes the Buddha's journey to Kusinārā, his last meal, the ordination of his last disciple, Subhadda, and his demise in the Sal grove. Finally, the discourse describes the cremation, the partition of the Buddha’s relics, and the building of Ten Pagodas in different regions.
About the Author:
Bhikkhu Pesala received higher ordination in 1979, at the Oakenholt Buddhist Centre, near Oxford, UK, with the late Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw as his preceptor. Since then, he has devoted his life to studying and teaching the Dhamma-Vinaya, and the practice of insight meditation, in monasteries in Burma, Thailand, and England, UK. He has endeavoured to share his understanding of the Dhamma through writing, editing, and translating many Dhamma books, chiefly by famous meditation masters of the Burmese Insight tradition. On its website, "The Association for Insight meditation" hosts these publications and links to other useful resources on Buddhism. Bhikkhu Pesala's first publication was "The Debate of King Milinda, "which was first published in 1990, and reprinted by Motilal Banarsidass in 1991, 1998, and 2022.