Bequeathed Teachings Sutra

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Bequeathed Teachings Sutra is a brief Mahayana sutra containing the final instructions left by the Gautama Buddha before His demise.


  • Those who maintain pure discipline must not engage in commerce and trade. They must not own fields and houses, or keep slaves or domestic animals. They must stay far away from all forms of wealth and property, as if avoiding a fiery pit. They must not cut down plants or till the soil. They must not engage in compounding medicines or doing prognostication and augury. They must not engage in gazing at the constellations or plotting the movements [of the stars] through the sky.
    • as translated by J. C. Cleary, in Apocryphal Scriptures (BDK: 2005)

The Bequeathed Teachings Sutra[edit]

Translated from Sanskrit by: Dharma Master Kumarajiva, then Translated from Chinese by: The Buddhist Text Translation Society (full text online)

  • All of you Bhikshus, after my Nirvana, you should revere and honor the Pratimoksha. It is like finding a light in darkness, or like a poor person obtaining a treasure. You should know that it is your great teacher, and is not different from my actual presence in the world.
  • If you have wisdom, you will be without greed or attachment. Always examine yourselves, and do not allow yourselves to have faults, for it is in this way that you will be able to obtain liberation within my Dharma.
  • One with true wisdom is a secure boat for crossing over the ocean of old age, sickness, and death. He is also like a great bright lamp in the darkness of ignorance, a good medicine for all kinds of illnesses , and a sharp axe for cutting down the tree of afflictions.
  • You should increasingly benefit yourselves by acquiring hearing, contemplating , and cultivating wisdom. Even though a person only has flesh eyes, if he has illuminating wisdom, he has clear understanding.
  • If you have all sorts of idle discussions, your mind will be scattered, and even though you have left the home life, you will not attain liberation... you should quickly renounce and distance yourself from having a scattered mind and idle discussions. If you wish to be one who attains the bliss of still Extinction, you only need to be skillfully eliminate the peril of idle discussions.
  • If you have doubt about suffering and the other Four Truths, you may quickly ask about them now. Do not harbor doubts and fail to clear them up.
  • When those in this assembly who have not yet done what should be done, see the Buddha cross over to Extinction, they will certainly feel sorrow. Those who have newly entered the Dharma and heard what the Buddha taught, will all cross over. They have seen the Way, like a flash of lightning in the night.
  • The Dharma for benefiting oneself and others is complete. If I were to live longer it would be of no further benefit. All of those who could be crossed over, whether in the heavens above or among humans, have already crossed over, and all of those who have not yet crossed over have already created the causes and conditions for crossing over. From now on all of my disciples must continuously practice. Then the Thus Come One' s Dharma body will always be present and indestructible.
  • You should know therefore, that everything in the world is impermanent. Meetings necessarily have separations, so do not harbor grief. Every appearance in the world is like this, so you should be vigorous and seek for an early liberation. Destroy the darkness of delusion with the brightness of wisdom. The world is truly dangerous and unstable, without any durability. My present attainment of Nirvana is like being rid of a malignant sickness. The body is a false name, drowning in the great ocean of birth, sickness, old age and death. How can one who is wise not be happy when he gets rid of it,
  • All of you Bhikshus, you should always singlemindedly and diligently seek the way out of all the moving and unmoving dharmas of the world, for they are all decaying, destructible, insecure appearances. All of you, stop; there is nothing more to say. Time is passing away, and I wish to cross over to Nirvana. These are my very last instructions.

Gautama Buddha's Last Sermon[edit]

  • Before his demise, the Buddha gave His last sermon. It has eight main points:
  1. The more desires one has, the more they will suffer. Our mere existence is suffering. In our life we distinguish pleasure from suffering and tend to cling to pleasure. This is our inherent nature. But suffering is inseparable from pleasure, for one is never found without the other. Therefore, the more we seek pleasure and avoid suffering, the more entangled we become in the duality of pleasure and suffering.
  2. Be content with our state of being. If we are not satisfied with our state of being we will be slaves to the five desires which stem from the five senses.
  3. When the self and the external world become one, eternal serenity is enjoyed... Become one with no barrier between the self and the outside world.
  4. Without any interruption, practice meditation. Meditation includes not only sitting. Every moment of one's life is meditation. This means to experience the oneness of yourself, time, and place.
  5. Do not forget what the Buddha taught. As Buddha was dying, he told his disciples to forget about him and his belongings. The important thing was to remember his teachings.
  6. When we enter samadhi and understand impermanence, we are unshaken. Everything is constantly changing, including ourselves.
  7. Nonattachment (detachment) is the essential wisdom. Because all existence is fleeting, attachment to them is wasteful.
  8. When we reach enlightenment we and the world become one, and there is no duality.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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