(3) In Pali Kusinara. It got its name from the Kusa grass (the poa cynosuroides); and its ruins are still extant, near Kusiah, 180 N.W. from Patna; “about,” says Davids, “120 miles N.N.E. of Benares, and 80 miles due east of Kapilavastu.”
(4) The Sala tree, the Shorea
robusta, which yields the famous teak
(5) Confounded, according to Eitel,
even by Hsuan-chwang, with the
Hiranyavati, which flows past the city on the south.
(6) A Brahman of Benares, said to have been 120 years old, who came to learn from Buddha the very night he died. Ananda would have repulsed him; but Buddha ordered him to be introduced; and then putting aside the ingenious but unimportant question which he propounded, preached to him the Law. The Brahman was converted and attained at once to Arhatship. Eitel says that he attained to nirvana a few moments before Sakyamuni; but see the full account of him and his conversion in “Buddhist Suttas,” p. 103-110.
(7) Thus treating the dead Buddha as if he had been a Chakravartti king. Hardy’s M. B., p. 347, says:—“For the place of cremation, the princes (of Kusinara) offered their own coronation-hall, which was decorated with the utmost magnificence, and the body was deposited in a golden sarcophagus.” See the account of a cremation which Fa-hien witnessed in Ceylon, chap. xxxix.
(8) The name Vajrapani is explained as “he who holds in his hand the diamond club (or pestle=sceptre),” which is one of the many names of Indra or Sakra. He therefore, that great protector of Buddhism, would seem to be intended here; but the difficulty with me is that neither in Hardy nor Rockhill, nor any other writer, have I met with any manifestation of himself made by Indra on this occasion. The princes of Kusanagara were called mallas, “strong or mighty heroes;” so also were those of Pava and Vaisali; and a question arises whether the language may not refer to some story which Fa-hien had heard,—something which they did on this great occasion. Vajrapani is also explained as meaning “the diamond mighty hero;” but the epithet of “diamond” is not so applicable to them as to Indra. The clause may hereafter obtain more elucidation.
(9) Of Kusanagara, Pava, Vaisali,
and other kingdoms. Kings, princes,
brahmans,—each wanted the whole relic; but they agreed to an
eightfold division at the suggestion of the brahman Drona.
(10) These “strong heroes” were the chiefs of Vaisali, a kingdom and city, with an oligarchical constitution. They embraced Buddhism early, and were noted for their peculiar attachment to Buddha. The second synod was held at Vaisali, as related in the next chapter. The ruins of the city still exist at Bassahar, north of Patna, the same, I suppose, as Besarh, twenty miles north of Hajipur. See Beal’s Revised Version, p. lii.