He said to them, ‘Know this! Now I am old and decrepit. I shall die soon. I am leaving this good medicine here. Take it! Do not be afraid that you will not be cured!’

The Buddha gives this explanation in Chapter Sixteen of the Lotus Sūtra. It is part of the Parable of the Wise Physician in which a father finds his children have taken poison and gives them an antidote. The poison has caused some of the children to lose their right minds and not trust that the medicine will cure them. By faking his death, the father used an expedient to get the children to realize that there was no other medicine that would cure them, and summon the courage to take it. When we accept the Wonderful Dharma and put it into our lives, we are cured of our delusions and find the Buddha’s wisdom.

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