The Parinirvana

About the age of eighty, the Buddha’s teaching career finally came to an end. It was long, it was productive, but eventually came to an end. He gave his last teaching to the monks laid down between two trees, and passed gently from the cycle of death and rebirth.

Buddhists call this event Parinirvana, his complete Nirvana, the fulfillment of everything that he had set out to accomplish when he saw the four sights in the park outside his palace. (Read about his early life).

The Buddha enters into Parinirvana

I said earlier that the Buddha’s didn’t begin with his birth, you can also that it didn’t end with his death. Before he died he told his disciples to cremate his body and to distribute his relics.

So, after he died, the disciples of the Buddha distributed relics and established a cult that venerated his physical form. They also passed on his teachings in ways that were important to later generations of Buddhists.

I think it is enough for us to say that we clearly know from this story that the Buddha was a human being, not a god, not a manifestation of god, but simply a human being like ourselves who confronted the fundamental problems of life and attempted to find a solution .

As he did this, he located himself in a tradition of Indian asceticism, but also brought that tradition into a distinctive form that then was available to other cultures in Asia.

This article is part of the series about The Life of the Buddha.

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