The illustrations in this Burmese paper folding book depict the last year of the Buddha’s life.
What is depicted here?
The richly painted scene on folio 18 captures the story of the Buddha’s death. The Buddha lay down on a couch between two sal trees and all the gods, lay men and women, and Mala kings came to pay their respects and honoured him. The Buddha consoled his weeping disciple Ananda, his cousin and assistant and then he praised him for the good work he had done for him. For the last time, Buddha addressed the bhikkhus and preached the Mahasudasana Sutta and one last convert. Then the Buddha attained parinibbāna or total escape from the cycle of rebirth and death on the full moon day of the month of Vesakha (May), in the Sal Grove of the Mallas, near Kusinara, at the age of eighty. The Buddha’s body was taken by the Mala kings for cremation. The sacred relics of the Buddha were divided and enshrined across Asia in monuments called stupas.