Parinibbana of Mahamoggallana
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The paranibbana of Mahamoggallana occurred six months before that of Gautama Buddha. He, along with Sariputta, the other chief disciple of the Buddha, died within two weeks of one another. Of the five chief disciples of the Buddha ( the others being Ananda, Anuruddha and Mahakasyapa), Mahamoggallana was the only one to meet a violent end. He was beaten to death by bandits. This was attributed to negative karma accrued in a past life in which he clubbed his parents to death.
In a previous life, Mahamoggallana was the only son born to his family. He was dutiful, and took care of all the household duties. As his parents aged, this increased his workload. His parents urged him to find a wife to help him, but he persistently refused, insisting on doing the work himself. After persistent urging from his mother, he eventually married.
His wife looked after his elderly parents, but after a short period became hostile to them. She complained to her husband, but he paid no attention to this. One day, when he was outside the house, she scattered rubbish around and when he returned, blamed it on his blind parents. After continual complaints, he capitulated and agreed to deal with his parents. Telling his parents that their relatives in another region wished to see them, he led his parents onto a carriage and began driving the oxen cart through the forest. While in the depths of the forest, he dismounted and walked along with the carriage, telling his parents that he had to watch out for robbers, who were common in the area. He then impersonated the sounds and cries of thieves, pretending to attack the carriage. His parents told him to fend for himself, as they were old and blind, and implored the "thieves" to leave their son. While they were crying out, he beat and killed his parents, and threw their bodies into the forest before returning home.
Mahamoggallana died a fortnight after Sariputta, on the new-moon day of the month Kattika (October/November), in the autumn. The paranibbana of Gautama Buddha took place in the full-moon night of the month Vesakha (May), half a year after the death of the two chief disciples, both of whom were 84.
The Jains of Magadha, believing him to be responsible for their loss of public esteem and support, wanted to get rid of him. Unwilling to commit a murder themselves, they hired bandits to do a contract killing.
At that time, Mahamoggallana dwelled alone in a forest hut at Kalasila. After an encounter with Mara he foresaw that his days were numbered, and felt the body to be just an obstruction and burden. He had no wish to use supernormal powers to keep his body alive for much longer. Despite this, when he saw the bandits approaching, he made himself vanish with these powers. The bandits found an empty hut, and although they searched everywhere, found nobody. They left and returned on the following day, for six consecutive days, with Mahamoggallana escaping from them in the same way. According to Buddhist teachings, he did so not to protect his own body, but to save the bandits from the frightening negative karma of such a deed as killing an arahant. On the seventh day Mahamoggallana suddenly lost the supernormal powers he had long wielded. Mahamoggallana realized that he was now unable to escape. The bandits entered, beat him repeatedly and left him lying in his blood. Being keen on quickly getting their payment, they left at once.
Mahamoggallana's great physical and mental strength was such that he was able to regain consciousness and was able to journey to the Buddha. There, Moggallana breathed his last. This is often cited in Buddhists teaching to show that the effects of karma have greater power than the supernormal powers, and that nobody can escape their karma.