Preached between the twin Sāla trees in
Upavattana, the grove of the Mallas. Ananda
asks the Buddha not to die in the "little wattle
and daub" town of Kusināra, but in some
important city, such as Campā,
Sāvatthi. The Buddha tells him that Kusinārā was once Kusāvatī, the royal
city of King Mahāsudassana, and was surrounded by seven ramparts, a city
containing all the characteristics of a great capital.
Mahāsudassana possessed the seven treasures of a
- the cakka ratana,
- the hatthi ratana (named Uposatha),
- the assa ratana (named Valāhaka),
- the mani ratana,
- the itthi ratana (pearl among women),
- the gahapati ratana, and
- the parināyaka ratana.
He also possessed four iddhi powers: he was handsome, long lived, free from
disease, and beloved by all classes of people. He had lotus ponds made all over
his kingdom, food and clothing being placed on their banks for any who might
require them. With the money brought to the king by the people, Vissakamma,
under Sakka's orders, built the Dhammapāsāda Palace, filled with all splendour
and luxury. The king possessed a gabled hall called Mahāvyūha, where he spent
the hot part of the day. In front of the Dhammapāsāda was the Dhammapokkharanī.
Having realized that his power and glory were the result of past good deeds,
Mahāsudassana practiced generosity, self conquest and self-control, and
developed the four jhānas, suffusing all quarters with thoughts of love and pity
and sympathy and equanimity.
Mahāsudassana had eighty four thousand cities, the chief of which was
Kusāvatī; eighty four thousand palaces, the chief being Dhammapāsāda; eighty
four thousand gabled houses, the chief being Mahāvyūha; eighty four thousand
state elephants, led by Uposatha; and eighty four thousand horses, led by
Valāhaka. He had eighty four thousand chariots led by Vejayanta, and eighty four
thousand wives, of whom Subbaddā was the chief. One day, the king realized that
his death was approaching, and, when Subhaddā visited him to try and induce him
to enjoy his pleasures, he stopped her, telling her to speak to him of the
impermanence of things and the need for giving up all desire. While she talked
to him of these things, he died and was reborn in the Brahma world. For eighty
four thousand years be bad been a prince, a viceroy and a king respectively, and
later, for forty eight thousand years, a devout layman in the Dhammapāsāda.
Mahāsudassana is identified with the Buddha (D.ii.169 99; the story is also
referred to at S. iii.144).
In the time of Kassapa Buddha, Sudassana had been a forester. He met a monk
in the forest and built a hut for him. He also requested the monk to receive
alms every day at his house or, at least, to eat there. The monk agreed, and
Sudassana made his hut comfortable in every way, constructing walks, bathing
places, gardens, etc., outside. He also gave him innumerable gifts, of various
kinds and descriptions. DA.ii.631f.