The Four Boys’ Absorption

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Toh 136

The Four Boys’ Absorption

The Four Boys’ Absorption narrates the Buddha Śākyamuni’s passing away (or parinirvāṇa) in the Yamakaśāla Grove near Kuśinagara. Ānanda has a portentous dream that is confirmed by the Buddha to be an indication that he will soon die. Widespread panic spreads through the various realms of this world system, and as gods and other beings converge on the forest grove near Kuśinagara, tragic scenes of mourning ensue. Then, when the Buddha lies down, the narrative suddenly shifts to recount how four bodhisattvas from distant buddha fields in the four directions are reborn as four infants in prominent households in the major cities of the Gangetic Plain, announce their intention to see the Buddha Śākyamuni, and with expansive entourages proceed to the forest grove in the country of the Mallas where the Buddha’s parinirvāṇa will take place. Their appearance is marked by various miracles, whereupon the Buddha explains their arrival and consoles his grieving followers with teachings on the limitless numbers of buddhas. He confers responsibility on his attendant Ānanda and his son Rāhula, and then manifests a variety of spectacular miracles. Toward the end of the sūtra, while still appearing to lie upon the lion couch, the Buddha visits the various hells and some god realms, where he sets countless beings on the path to awakening. The text culminates in his final passing.

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The Four Boys’ Absorption



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