Based on extracts from The Gospel of Buddha,
complied from Ancient Records by Paul Carus, 1883
LD: The term ‘Tathagata’ is a title of the Buddha. (See endnote). Ananda, the Buddha’s cousin, was also his closest and most devoted disciple.
“SEEK YE FOR THAT WHICH IS PERMANENT
AND WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION WITH DILIGENCE.”
I am now grown old, O Ananda, and full of years; my journey is drawing to its close. I have reached the sum of my days, I am almost eighty years old.
Just as a worn-out cart cannot be made to move along without difficulty, so the body of the Tathagata can only be kept going with much additional care.
Therefore, O Ananda, be ye lamps unto yourselves. Rely on yourselves, and do not rely on external help.
Hold fast to the truth as a lamp. Seek salvation alone in the truth. Look not for assistance to anyone besides yourselves.
We must separate ourselves from all things near and dear to us, O Ananda, and must leave all behind; for everything that is born and comes into being contains within itself the seeds of its own dissolution.
This mortal existence, O Ananda, must now be relinquished, cast away, renounced, rejected, and abandoned by the Tathagata.
Practise the earnest meditations I have taught you. Continue in the great struggle against sin. Walk steadily on the path of saintship.
Behold, O brethren, the final extinction of the Tathagata! It will take place soon, it will come before long.
I now exhort you, saying: ‘All component things must grow old and be dissolved again. Seek ye for that which is permanent, and work out your own salvation with diligence.’