DN16.21. The Elephant Look

Mahaparinibbāna Sutta ("The Great Discourse on the Buddha’s Extinguishment")

Then the Buddha robed up in the morning and, taking his bowl and robe, entered Vesālī for alms. Then, after the meal, on his return from alms-round, he turned his whole body, the way that elephants do, to look back at Vesālī. He said to Venerable Ānanda: “Ānanda, this will be the last time the Realized One sees Vesālī. Come, Ānanda, let’s go to Bhaṇḍagāma.”

“Yes, sir,” Ānanda replied.

Then the Buddha together with a large Saṅgha of mendicants arrived at Bhaṇḍagāma, and stayed there. There the Buddha addressed the mendicants:

“Mendicants, not understanding and not penetrating four things, both you and I have wandered and transmigrated for such a very long time. What four? Noble ethics, immersion, wisdom, and freedom. These noble ethics, immersion, wisdom, and freedom have been understood and comprehended. Craving for continued existence has been cut off; the attachment to continued existence is ended; now there are no more future lives.”

That is what the Buddha said. Then the Holy One, the Teacher, went on to say:

“Ethics, immersion, and wisdom,
and the supreme freedom:
these things have been understood
by Gotama the renowned.

And so the Buddha, having insight,
explained this teaching to the mendicants.
The teacher made an end of suffering,
seeing clearly, he is extinguished.”

And while staying there, too, he often gave this Dhamma talk to the mendicants:

“Such is ethics, such is immersion, such is wisdom. When immersion is imbued with ethics it’s very fruitful and beneficial. When wisdom is imbued with immersion it’s very fruitful and beneficial. When the mind is imbued with wisdom it is rightly freed from the defilements, namely, the defilements of sensuality, desire to be reborn, and ignorance.”

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