Subhadda was the last person converted by the Buddha. Once, the Buddha said: `Even if you have to carry me around on a stretcher (because of sickness or old age) there will be no change in the clarity of my wisdom. If anyone were to speak rightly of me they could say that a being not liable to delusion has appeared in the world, for the good of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the good and happiness of gods and humans' (M.I,83). In this sense the Buddha was true to his word. Only a few hours before his passing, as he lay surrounded by his disciples, the wandering ascetic Subhadda pushed his way through the crowd wanting to ask him some questions. ânanda held him back saying: `Enough Subhadda, do not disturb the Tathàgata, for he is weary.' The Buddha heard this and told ânanda to let the ascetic come to him `for whatever he will ask is because he is questing for enlightenment.' Subhadda sat before the Buddha and the two men spoke for a while. Subhadda took to heart what the Buddha said and later he attained enlightenment (D.II,149). Such was the Buddha's compassion that he taught the Dhamma almost to his last breath.
Ancient depictions of the Buddha's passing often include the image of meditating monk flanked by what looks like a tripod supporting a round object. One of the sects at the time of the Buddha was called the Tedaṇḍika, Those of the Tripod (A.III,276). The Jàtaka mention an ascetic as having a tripod (tedaṇḍa, Ja.II,3160) and this sect is referred to in some early non-Buddhist works also. It seems that these ascetics carried a three-piece staff over their shoulder on the end of which they suspended their begging bowl, water pot or water filter. When resting they assembled the staff into a tripod and used it as a stand for their accoutrements. Nowhere in the Tipiñaka is Subhadda identified as a Tedaṇḍika, but there must have been an early oral tradition that he was. Thus the meditating monk next to the tripod in scenes depicting the Buddha's passing probably represent Subhadda.