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As the title, Buddha died of Bloody diarrhea? Because it is confusing that Buddha died in cancer here but I cannot manage to find any source. The only reference I found is Mahāparinibbānasutta and it does not specify that any cancer or cancer related disease in pali text. And Buddha clearly mentioned that the last deadly cause was not because of last meal (neither pork nor mushroom) in that sutta.

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  • Where did you get the idea of the Buddha suffering from cancer?
    – ruben2020
    Nov 16, 2021 at 15:41
  • @ruben2020 The OP references this comment which says that it's a rumour.
    – ChrisW
    Nov 16, 2021 at 15:51

3 Answers 3

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Birth is always the cause of death, good householder. That's the teaching of the Sublime Buddha. What ever compound comes into being is subject to decay.

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The pork of the last meal was indeed deadly:

DN16:4.19.3: I don’t see anyone in this world—with its gods, Māras, and Brahmās, this population with its ascetics and brahmins, its gods and humans—who could properly digest it except for the Realized One.”

But, the Buddha surrendered the life force before he ate the last meal:

DN16:3.37.4: So today, just now at the Cāpāla tree shrine, mindful and aware, I surrendered the life force.”

Notably, before the Buddha surrendered the life force, he gave Ananda a remarkable opportunity:

DN16:3.3.2: The Realized One has developed and cultivated the four bases of psychic power, made them a vehicle and a basis, kept them up, consolidated them, and properly implemented them. If he wished, the Realized One could live on for the eon or what’s left of the eon.”

However, once the life force was surrendered, that opportunity vanished:

DN16:3.40.8: If you had begged me, I would have refused you twice, but consented on the third time.
DN16:3.40.9: Therefore, Ānanda, the misdeed is yours alone, the mistake is yours alone.

Here, the pivotal event is surrendering the life force, not the meal. This may sound strange, but it is a fact that people tend to die on specific days (i.e., close to their birthday). Cancer cells don't really care about birthdays, so something else is involved. Let's just call it "the life force".

So, although the pork was deadly, the life force was surrendered before the meal.

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Why does this matter to you? If this question is based in some attraction to lurid information, it's not really consistent with Buddhist practice. Would Buddhist teachings be 'better' if we discovered that the Buddha had been (say) eaten alive by wild hyenas, or drowned in a river, or tossed out a window by an angry king, or just died peacefully in his sleep? Would that change his teaching, or the practice, or anything else?

An unfocused mind is easily distracted by bright and vulgar thoughts. Don't worry about the thought, but recognize the distraction for what it is.

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  • This does not answer the question at all. But for you question, for me at least, why I'm reading this, is curiosity. I'm always happy to learn something about Buddha. Is this really so bad? Basically, I agree with your last sentence, but between first and last sentence it sounds rather speculative and insinuating to me. How do you arrive at such conclusions from only this question?
    – AleGra
    Nov 16, 2021 at 17:45
  • @AleGra: Well... I think you'll agree with me that the question is a tabloid question. We can go to a supermarket checkout stand and discover all sorts of curious and interesting factoids about royals and celebrities; that scratches a particular and peculiar mental itch. But it doesn't tell us anything useful or important about them or their work in life. It just make us feel better about ourselves. If you want to treat Buddha like a celebrity or a royal, I suppose that's your business, but it won't get you anything but a fleeting sense of macabre satisfaction. Nov 16, 2021 at 18:08
  • @AleGra: As a rule, I don't feel committed to giving people the answer they want. I give people the answer I think is best, and in this case the best response is to draw attention back to what's meaningful and important. Sorry if that doesn't satisfy... Nov 16, 2021 at 18:11
  • Actually, this question led me to discover the Mahāparinibbānasutta and I will keep going back to it, as there's massive teachings inside. I think calling it a tabloid question is exaggerating, and I still fail to see a direct connection to vulgar thoughts and gossip magazine stands. I see interest in the question, and consider curiosity a good thing, as it drives us to want to learn more. And I see a new guy, asking the first question, receiving a harsh answer.
    – AleGra
    Nov 16, 2021 at 19:34
  • Your answer would be appropriate in a certain context, to the right person at the right time, and maybe you're even right with your assumptions and this is the context. But I'm not as convinced of either this or that as you seem to be. Of course you have all right to give answers as you please and the way you like. Sorry if I gave you the impression that I questioned that.
    – AleGra
    Nov 16, 2021 at 19:36

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