Did The Buddha Die Of Food-Poisoning In Old Age?

Question: How is it that the Buddha could have died at 80 years old due to eating spoiled pork?

Answer: Since the Buddha already announced the date of his passing at least 3 months in advance, he did not die of ageing or sickness, as he was in total control. The Buddha’s last meal was truffles called ‘pig’s delight’ as pigs like to sniff and dig to eat it, which is still the case today. It was misinterpreted by some to be a dish made with pork. The Buddha gradually advocated Maha-Veganism too.

Under the Bodhi tree at the age of 35, once Buddhahood was attained, the Buddha already transcended the cycle of birth, ageing, sickness and death. Thus, it is impossible for him to die after. The relinquishing of his form by entering parinirvana was planned after ensuring all crucial teachings have been taught to the established fourfold assembly of monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen.

Even the Buddha’s so-called sickness in his old age from ‘bad food’ was manifested to remind all of the impermanence of our lives, so that we will treasure our limited time left in this life, to diligently learn and practise his teachings, for progressing towards liberation.

Being fully enlightened, he knew the last meal offered to him by Cunda the blacksmith was accidentally ‘problematic’. Yet, out of compassion to let him create merits, he gladly received his sincere offering, though asking it to be buried after partaking part of it, to prevent others from accidentally eating it.

We must be mindful not to, as some do, ‘overly-humanise’ or overly-simplify the nature of the Buddha, forgetting that he is with immeasurable meritorious virtues and wisdom; never just an ordinary human being. If he was just like one of us, there would be no point to take refuge in him or his teachings. He would be neither spiritually nor physically perfect!

Related Articles:

Is The Buddha Just A Man?
How The Buddha Relieved Cunda’s Remorse
How Should All Aspiring For Buddhahood Eat & Drink?

1 Comment

  • Re: Of course the Buddha grew old and died corresponding to his reported age of 80 years. He was not an immortal or god. First he was a human being carried by his body and his spiritual attainment was conducive to good health. I refer you to the suttas SN XLVIII.41 and DN 16. They both refer to the Buddha’s old body and Ananda helping him. Take a look yourself.

    Reply: The Buddha did not grew old and die. He already transcended the cycle of birth, ageing, sickness and death under the Bodhi Tree by realising Buddhahood (Ultimate Nirvana), which makes him no longer merely human. Having realised eternal transcendence of rebirth, he did not die at 80 – he only manifested Parinirvana. In Mahayana and Vajrayana perspectives, he merely manifested ageing and sickness as skilful reminders for us to treasure our time, and to be diligent with our practice, as explained by himself. He is not a god, but ‘Teacher Of Humans And Gods’, as he transcended all ordinary beings. There are no immortal gods too. More can be seen with sutra references at https://thedailyenlightenment.com/2018/10/how-the-buddha-is-gone-yet-not-gone-for-good/

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