Be A Light Unto Yourself – Buddha
The last statement of the Buddha to his disciples was
“Be a light unto yourself.”
The disciples were crying and weeping. It was only natural since the master was leaving and they had lived with him for forty years, some the whole time.
These forty years were of tremendous joy encompassing many great experiences. These forty years had been the most beautiful time humanly possible. These forty years had been days of paradise on earth. And now the master was leaving! It was natural that they began to cry and weep.
Buddha opened his eyes and said, “Stop crying and weeping! Have you not listened to me yet? Why are you crying?”
His chief disciple, Ananda, said, “Because you are leaving because our light is leaving. We see we feel darkness descending upon us. I have not yet become enlightened and you are leaving. If I could not become enlightened while you were alive, what is the hope for me now when you will be gone? I am in great despair, my anguish is incalculable, I have wasted these forty years. I have been following you like a shadow, it was tremendously beautiful to be with you, but now you are leaving. What is going to happen to us?”
“If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your path.” “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” ~Buddha
Buddha said, “You are crying because you have not heard me yet. I have been telling you again and again: ‘Don’t believe in me.’ but you have not listened. Because you have believed in me, and now I am dying, your whole structure is falling apart. Had you listened to me, had you created a light into your being rather than becoming knowledgeable through me if you had experienced your own self there would have been no need to cry.”
“Look at Manjushree!” he said.
Manjushree was another disciple of Buddha, one of the greatest. He was sitting under a tree just close by, with closed eyes, so serene, so quiet, so utterly blissful, that Buddha said, “Look at Manjushree! Go and ask him why he is not crying.”
“There is not enough darkness in all the world to put out the light of even one small candle.” ~Robert Alden
They asked Manjushree. He laughed and said, “What reason is there to cry? Buddha has helped me to know my own light. I am thankful, I am grateful, but there is no darkness descending. And how can Buddha die? I know I cannot die — how can Buddha die? He will be here. Just as a river disappears in the ocean he will disappear into the cosmos. But he will be here! He will be spread all over the cosmos. It is going to be something tremendously beautiful.
Buddha was confined to a small body; now his fragrance will be released, he will permeate the whole of existence. I am tremendously happy that now Buddha will be spread all over space. I will be able to see him rising in the sun and I will be able to see him flying in a bird and I will be able to see him in the waves of the ocean… and I will be able to see him everywhere.
He is simply leaving his body. It was a confinement. And how do I know it? I know it because I have known my own soul. I listened to him and you have not listened to him — that’s why you are crying.”
Buddha said, “Let me repeat again: APPA DIPO BHAVA — be a light unto yourself.”
“You think I can make you enlightened – that’s why these forty-two years have gone by and you have not attained. Perhaps after my death, within twenty-four hours you may become enlightened. For these forty-two years, there was a hope that I would do something.
Nobody can do anything.
Buddha then closed his eyes and disappeared into the cosmos. Buddhas-last-words: All things must pass. Last-and-First-Teaching-of-Buddha