Is this translantion any clearer?:
2.24. Then the Lord, having recovered from his sickness, as soon as he felt better, went outside and sat on a prepared seat in front of his dwelling. Then the Venerable Ānanda came to him, saluted him, sat down to one side and said: 'Lord, I have seen the Lord in comfort, and I have seen the Lord's patient enduring. And, Lord, my body was like a drunkard's. I lost my bearings and things were unclear to me because of the Lord's sickness. The only thing that was some comfort to me was the thought: "The Lord will not attain final Nibbāna until he has made some statement about the order of monks."'
2.25. 'But, Ānanda, what does the order of monks expect of me? I have taught the Dhamma, Ānanda, making no "inner" and "outer"26
: the Tathāgata has no "teacher's fist" in respect of doctrines. If there is anyone who thinks: "I shall take charge of the order"27
, or "The order should refer to me", let him make some statement about the order, but the Tathāgata does not think in such terms. So why should the Tathāgata make a statement about the order?
'Ānanda, I am now old, worn out, venerable, one who has traversed life's path, I have reached the term of life, which is eighty 28
. Just as an old cart is made to go by being held together with straps 29
, so the Tathāgata's body is kept going by being strapped up. It is only when the Tathāgata with¬draws his attention from outward signs 30
, and by the cessa¬tion of certain feelings 31
, enters into the signless concentra¬tion of mind 32
, that his body knows comfort.
2.26. "Therefore, Ānanda, you should live as islands unto yourselves, being your own refuge, with no one else as your refuge, with the Dhamma as an island 33
, with the Dhamma as your refuge, with no other refuge. And how does a monk live as an island unto himself,... with no other refuge? Here, Ānan-da, a monk abides contemplating the body as body, earnestly, clearly aware, mindful and having put away all hankering and fretting for the world, and likewise with regard to feelings, mind and mind-objects. That, Ānanda, is how a monk lives as an island unto himself,... with no other refuge. And those who now in my time or afterwards live thus, they will become the highest 34
, if they are desirous of learning.'
26. A famous statement, implying that there is no 'esoteric' teaching in Buddhism, at least as originally taught by the Founder. There is no contradiction with the parable of the simsapā leaves at SN 56.31. [back]
27. Pariharissāmi: 'I will take care of'. [back]
28. The idea that the Buddha died at the age of eighty has, for some reason, been considered implausible. We might as well query the fact that Wordsworth died shortly after his eightieth birthday, the year of his death, too, bearing the suspiciously 'round' figure of 1850! See n.400. [back]
29. Vegha-missakena. The precise meaning of the expression seems to be unknown, but it remains a vivid image! [back]
30. Sabba-nimittānam amanasikārā: 'not attending to any signs', i.e. ideas. [back]
31. I.e. mundane feelings (DA). [back]
32. The concentration attained during intensive insight-meditation' (AA, quoted in LDB). [back]
33. Dīpa = Skt. dvīpa 'island' rather than Skt. dīpa 'lamp'. But we do not really know whether the Buddha pronounced the two words alike or not! In the absence of such knowledge, it is perhaps best not to be too dogmatic about the meaning. In any case, it is just 'oneself' that one has to have as one's 'island' (or lamp), not some 'great self' which the Buddha did not teach (cf. n.363, end). [back]
34. Tamatagge. The meaning of this is rather obscure, to say the least. It seems to mean something like 'the highest', even if scholars cannot agree as to how this meaning is reached. See the long note (28) in LDB. [back]http://www.palicanon.org/en/sutta-pitak ... -days.html