Death of Buddha
The death of Gautama Buddha is known as Parinirvana i.e. Complete Nirvana among the Buddhist tradition. Death of Buddha is one of the most important day in history of Buddhism all over the world, and this event lead to other important events in Buddhism i.e. Ananda attained Nirvana, and beginning of Buddhist councils that shaped the present situation of Buddhism in the present world. Gautama Buddha attained Parinirvana after preaching the teachings of Buddha for around 45 years at the age of 80.
Buddha and his Illness
Being eighty years old, Gautama Buddha have been passing down his knowledge of Nirvana for 45 years and travelling for most of the time, he became ill. Only Gautama Buddha cousin and Buddha disciples Ananda knew about it and while other Buddhist monks were sent to other places. Even with the great pain, Gautama Buddha started meditation, one of the important Buddhist practices and found great comfort. Then Gautama Buddha gave advice to Ananda who was in great grieved about the illness of Lord Buddha.
"Now I am frail, Ananda, old, aged, far gone in years. This is my eightieth year, and my life is spent. My body is like an old cart, barely held together.
Therefore, Ananda, be islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves, seeking no other refuge; with the Dharma as your island, the Dharma as your refuge, seeking no other refuge." – Taken from the Maha-Parinibbana Sutra
Re-appearance of Mara
During their stay in Capala Shrine, Gautama Buddha was still teaching Ananda who have yet to attained Nirvana, while Ananda was unable to understand the true meaning behind Lord Buddha's word. Mara Demon who appeared in front of Lord Buddha was about to attain Enlightenment appeared once again in front of Gautama Buddha. The main reason behind Mara Demon appearance was to tell Gautama Buddha to give up his life and enter and attained Complete Nirvana.
But Lord Buddha assured him that he would do so but only after three months. After seeing Gautama Buddha will to live, the earth beneath Lord Buddha responded with earthquake and Demon Mara leave the shrine and thus Gautama Buddha and Ananda continued their journey to Kushinagar.
Kushinagar is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the world along with Lumbini, Bodh Gaya, and Sarnath. After their encounter with Mara Demon, their journey to Kushinagar came to break when Cunda invited Lord Buddha and Ananda to dinner. But Gautama Buddha asked Cunda that only he would eat the food. Thus Cunda only served food to Gautama Buddha. It is still proved that what Cunda gave to Gautama Buddha i.e. pig's soft food, or mushroom. It is believed that food given by Cunda contained poison thus Gautama Buddha was in great pain along with dysentery. He comfort the pain through the meditation but it triggered the death of Buddha.
During their journey from Cunda house to Kushinagar, Lord Buddha asked Ananda not to blame Cunda since it was not intentional. When the two reached Kushinagar, he asked Ananda to prepare a couch between two trees. Ananda prepared it without delay and Lord Buddha layed down on the couch with one leg above the other and rest his head with his right hand.
After resting and realizing his time, Lord Buddha advised all the Buddhist monks to take and keep the order of the monks and assured all the Buddhist monks that they would attained Enlightenment and passed to Parinirvana.
After the death of Buddha, Buddhist council was formed to turn the teachings of Enlightenment of Buddha into written scriptures. Through Buddhist various Buddhist tradition were formed leading to number of Buddhist tradition i.e. Mahayana Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism Newar Buddhism etc. The position of Buddha attaining Parinirvana is known as reclining Buddha and is very popular among Nepali Buddha Statues as well as Tibetan Buddha statues. Due to the importance of reclining position, Nepal Tibet Buddha statues are quite famous all over the world especially, monasteries, museums etc.