Before his famous lecture in Chicago, Swami Vivekananda had spent few days in Boston. During his stay in Boston he discussed Indian Philosophy with many American scholars.
Few American scholars mentioned to him that they liked everything about Buddha but did not like the way Buddha had died; they expected Buddha to die like Jesus Christ. However that did not stop them to write a letter of introduction which helped Swami Vivekananda to obtain a time slot to deliver his message in Chicago. The gist of the letter was like this: “The bearer of this letter, a Hindu Monk from India has the wisdom which exceeds the combined wisdom of all the scholars in America.” This clearly shows that American scholars not only possessed great wisdom but were also very noble in character.
However, Buddha’s death was no less significant than that of Jesus Christ.
Buddha was invited for alms by many people, royals as well as common because Buddhist monks survived on alms only.
Chunda, a metal worker gave the last invitation to Buddha, who went to have food in his house with his followers. The items were simple, sweet rice, cakes and dried pork (‘sukara maddave’ in Sanskrit). Buddha realized immediately that the pork should not be eaten by others because they could fall sick. He instructed his followers to eat the sweet rice and cakes and he ate the pork as much as he could and whatever he could not, he buried under a hole. Immediately after that he had dysentery and started having sharp stomach ache &C. which lasted till his death.
Lest Chunda suffer from mental agony that the food he had provided caused Buddha’s sufferings and death, Buddha sent one of his followers, Ananda, to convey a message that Chunda acquired special merit as the giver of Buddha’s last meal like the giver of the first.
[There is a slight debate among scholars whether it was dried pork or mushrooms which grew under swine feet or soft bamboo trampled upon by swine.]
Author: Mintu Ghoshal
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