15. Dabba enters Nirvāṇa
Translation of BZA 015. First version published in Buddhist Studies Review vol. 23-1 (2006).
Thus have I heard, once, the Buddha was staying in Rājagaha in the Bamboo Grove of Jialantuo.
At that time the monk Dabba went to where the Buddha was. Among a great number of people, he paid homage to his feet and said: ‘World-honored One! I am to enter Nirvāṇa now, please allow me to do so in your presence’. Having been asked in this way three times, the Buddha answered: ‘Enter Nirvāṇa then, I do not hinder you’. There the monk Dabba displayed the eighteen kinds of magical transformation. He rose up in the air, appeared in the East in all four postures, turning green, yellow, red, white etc. One moment he appeared like water, then like a mass of fire. [He made] his upper body emit water and his lower body fire, [then he made] his upper body emit fire and his lower body water. One moment his body appeared huge, covering the sky, then it appeared minute. He passed over water as if over earth, he passed through earth as if through water. The same he displayed in the South, West and North. Having finished, still hovering in the sky, he entered fire-blaze samādhi. Bursting into flames in a great mass of fire he entered Nirvāṇa, leaving nothing behind. Like fine oil burning cleanly away without remainder.
There the World-honored One spoke this verse:
As from a glowing iron / under the hammer sparks do fly; //
looking for them, once dispersed, extinguished / no one knows where they have gone. //
To attain true liberation / is just like this: //
once rid of afflictions / the quicksand of desires //
no one knows whither he went / which direction he took. //
When the Buddha had finished, the monks, having listened to what he had said, were happy and practised accordingly.
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