On the final evening of the Buddha’s earthly existence, a few hours before his passing, the Buddha was lying down between two sāla trees, mindful and fully aware.  According to the story, the trees then scattered, sprinkled and strewed blossoms on the Buddha’s body out of veneration for him.  And then thing got even more spectacular, “heavenly mandārava flowers and heavenly sandalwood powder fell from the sky and were scattered and sprinkled and strewn over the Blessed One’s body out of veneration for him. And heavenly music was played and heavenly songs were sung in the sky out of veneration for him.”

The Buddha then turned to his attendant Ānanda and said, “This is all good, but it is not how the Buddha is honored, respected, revered, venerated or reverenced: rather it is the monastic or the lay follower, who lives according to the Dhamma (the teachings), who enters upon the proper way, who walks in the Dhamma, that honors, respects, reveres and venerates the Buddha with the highest veneration of all.”

He continued, “Therefore, Ānanda, train thus: ‘We will live in the way of the Dhamma, entering upon the proper way and walking in the Dhamma.’ ”

Later that evening, the Buddha passed.  His very last words to the monks were, “Monks, all conditioned things are of a nature to decay — strive on untiringly.”


Reference: Digha Nikaya #16