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If the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas
are all already doing their best
to skilfully guide us to Buddhahood,
all that remains is for us to do our best
in heeding their teachings as advised.

Stonepeace | Books

On one occasion Ananda, I was resting under the goat herd’s Nigrodha tree on the bank of the river Neranjara immediately after having reached the great enlightenment. Then Mara, the Evil One, came, Ananda, to the place were I was, and standing beside me he addressed me in the words: ‘Pass away now, Lord, from existence! Let the Exalted One now “die” [enter Parinirvana; relinquishing of body]! Now is the time for the Exalted One to pass away!’

And when he had thus spoken, Ananda, I addressed Mara, the Evil One, and said: ‘ I shall not pass away, O Evil One! Until not only the brethren and sisters of the Order [of the Sangha of monks and nuns], but also the lay disciples of either sex shall have become true hearers, wise and well-trained, ready and learned, carrying the doctrinal books in their memory, masters of the lesser corollaries that follow from the larger doctrine, correct in life, walking according to the precepts—until they, having thus themselves learned the doctrine, shall be able to tell others of it, preach it, make it known, establish it, open it, minutely explain it and make it clear—until they, when others start vain doctrine, easy to be refuted by the truth, shall be able in refuting it to spread the wonder-working truth abroad, I shall not die until this pure Dharma of mine shall have become successful, prosperous, widespread, and popular in all its full extent–until in a word, it shall have been well proclaimed among men!’

[Notes: This reminds us that the Buddha taught the Dharma perfectly and completely already in his time. This also means that any subsequent declining quality of the Dharma as taught, learnt, practised and realised by non-Buddhas is entirely due to later generations’ misgivings, including ours. However, the enlightened (Bodhisattvas and Arhats) were instructed by the Buddha (e.g. in the Surangama Sutra) to continue skilfully manifesting (without disclosing their identities), even in this Dharma Ending Age to teach. Yet, there is a limit to how much this can be done as attitudes to spirituality decline. As such, we must do our best to learn, practise and share the pure Dharma well now.]

Dialogues Of The Buddha II, 120-121)
Translated By Rhys Davids

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