[Following verses  were uttered by the Buddha in the Sal Grove of the Malla princes near Kusinara, just before the parinibbana (passing away) of the Buddha, in reply to the questions raised by Subhadda, the wandering ascetic (paribbajaka).]

Subhadda the wandering ascetic was staying at Kusinara.

when he heard that the parinibbana of Gotama Buddha would take place in the last watch of that night.

Subhadda had three questions which had been troubling him for a long time.

He had already put these questions to other religious leaders, namely, Purana Kassapa, Makkhali Gosala, Ajita Kesakambala, Pakudha Kaccayana, Sancaya Belatthaputta and Nigantha Nataputta, but their answers did not satisfy him.

He had not yet asked Gotama Buddha, and he felt that only the Buddha could answer his questions.

So, he hurried off to the Sal Grove, but the Venerable Ananda did not allow him to see the Buddha, because the Buddha was by that time very weak.

The Buddha overheard their conversation and consented to see Subhadda.

Subhadda asked three questions. They are:

(1) Are there any tracks in the sky?

(2) Are there any ariya bhikkhus (samanas) outside the Teaching of the Buddha?

(3) Is there any conditioned thing (sankhara) that is permanent?

The Buddha’s answer to all the above questions was negative.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

“In the sky there is no track;
outside the Buddha’s Teaching there is no ariya bhikkhu (samana).
All beings take delight in fetters
(i.e., craving, pride and wrong view) that prolong samsara; all the Buddhas are free from these fetters.

In the sky there is no track; outside the Buddha’s Teaching there is no ariya bhikkhu (samana).
There is no conditioned thing that is permanent; all the Buddhas are unperturbed (by craving, pride and wrong view).”

At the end of the discourse Subhadda attained Anagami Fruition and as requested by him the Buddha admitted him to the Order of the bhikkhus.

Subhadda was the last one to become a bhikkhu in the lifetime of the Buddha. Eventually, Subhadda attained arahatship.