Those last dying words of his always thrilled through my heart. He was old, he was suffering, he was near his death, and then came the despised outcaste—he lives on carrion, dead animals; the Hindus would not allow them to come into cities—one of these invited him to a dinner and he came with his disciples, and the poor Chanda, he wanted to treat this great teacher according to what he thought would be best; so he had a lot of pig’s flesh and a lot of rice for him, and Buddha looked at that.
The disciples were all [hesitating], and the Master said: ‘Well, do not eat, you will be hurt.’ But he quietly sat down and ate. The teacher of equality must eat the [outcaste] Chanda’s dinner, even the pig’s flesh. He sat down and ate it.
He was already dying. He found death coming on, and he said, ‘Spread for me something under this tree, for I think the end is near.’
And he was there under the tree, and he laid himself down; he could not sit up any more. And the first thing he did, he said: ‘Go to that Chanda and tell him that he has been one of my greatest benefactors; for his meal, I am going to Nirvana.’
And then several men came to be instructed, and a disciple said, ‘Do not go near now, the Master is passing away.’
And as soon as he heard it, the Lord said, ‘Let them come in.’
And somebody else came and the disciples would not [let them enter]. Again they came, and then the dying Lord said: ‘And O, thou Ananda, I am passing away. Weep not for me. Think not for me. I am gone. Work out diligently your own salvation. Each one of you is just what I am. I am nothing but one of you. What I am today is what I made myself. Do you struggle and make yourselves what I am. …’
These are the memorable words of Buddha: ‘Believe not because an old book is produced as an authority. Believe not because your father said [you should] believe the same. Believe not because other people like you believe it. Test everything, try everything, and then believe it, and if you find it for the good of many, give it to all.’ And with these words, the Master passed away.