Like a flame…..
Photo credit Dimitar Nechev
A group of the Hallowed Brethren came before the Buddha. And the Blessed One thus addressed them, “Those who only believe, call me Gotama, but you call me the Buddha, the Blessed One, the Teacher. And this is right, for I have in this life entered nirvana, while the life of Gotama has been extinguished.
“Self has disappeared and the truth has taken its abode in me. This body of mine is Gotama's body and it will be dissolved in due time, and after its dissolution no one will see Gotama again. But the truth remains. The Buddha will not die; the Buddha will continue to live in the hallowed body of the laws of The Way and in its hallowed Brotherhood. It shall live until the coming of the Seventh; and his number shall be ten. Perchance it will live beyond that time should he be successful. Should he fail, then truth shall turn from mankind, and all shall stand lost.
“The extinction of the Blessed One will be by that passing away in which nothing remains that could tend to the formation of another self. Nor will it be possible to point out the Blessed One as being here or there. But it will be like a flame in a great body of blazing fire. That flame has ceased; it has vanished, and it cannot be said that it is here or there. In the body of The Way, the continuance of the Brotherhood of Nazarenes, and the grace of those two who are yet to come after me, I shall be known; the Blessed One can be pointed out, for the Dharma has been preached to me and by me.
“Ye are my children, I am your father; through me have ye been released from your spiritual sufferings. I myself, having reached the other shore, help others to cross the stream; I myself having attained the knowledge that shall lead mankind to his salvation.
“I am a saviour of others; being comforted, I comfort others and show them The Way, and that Way will lead them to the places of final refuge. I shall fill with joy all the beings whose limbs languish; I shall give happiness to those who are dying from distress; I shall extend to them succour and deliverance.
“I, like them and those gone before in this great purpose, was born into the world as the King of Truth, for the salvation of the world. The subject on which I meditate is truth; the practice to which I devote myself is truth; the topic of my conversation is truth; my thoughts are always in the truth,”for lo! my self has become like truth.”
(Chapter: To the Places of Final Refuge)