Monday, October 02, 2006

Krisha Gotami...


...was a young woman who had the fortune to live during the time of the Buddha. When her firstborn child was about a year old, it fell ill and died. Grief stricken and clutching its little body, Gotami roamed the streets, begging anyone she met for a medicine that could restore her child to life. Some ignored her, some laughed at her, some thought she was mad, but finally she met a wise man who told her that the only person in the world who could perform the miracle she was looking for was the Buddha.

So she went to the Buddha, laid the body of her child at his feet, and told him her story. The Buddha listened with infinite compassion. Then he said gently, "There is only one way to heal your affliction. Go down to the city and bring me back one mustard seed from any house in which there has never been a death."

Krisha Gotami was elated and set off at once for the city. She stopped at the first house she saw and said: "I have been told by the Buddha to fetch a mustard seed from a house that has never known death."

"Many people have died in this house, "she was told. She went to the next house. "There have been countless deaths in our family," they said. And so to a third and a fourth, until she had been all round the city and realized the Buddha's condition could not be fulfilled.

She took the body of her child and finally said goodbye to him for the last time and then returned to the Buddha. "Did you bring me the mustard seed?" he asked.

"No," she said. "I am beginning to understand the lesson you are trying to teach me. Grief made me blind and I thought that only I had suffered at the hands of death."

"Why have you come back?" asked the Buddha.

"To ask you to teach me the truth," she replied, "of what death is, what might lie behind and beyond death, and what in me, if anything, will not die."

The Buddha began to teach her:"If you want to know the truth of life and death, you must reflect continually on this: There is only one law in the universe that never changes- that all things change, and that all things are impermanent."

-adapted from "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying," by Sogyal Rinpoche

11 Comments:

Anonymous Sam said...

Truly and completely profound.
Thank You.

11:19 AM  
Blogger alissa said...

So true, so true. The only sure thing is change.

Love

9:33 PM  
Blogger Peter McAuliffe said...

Thank you for sharing this, Ben. Change and impermanance are ever inflicting and embracing us.

11:13 PM  
Anonymous lizzie hayward said...

My thoughts are with you, my heart is with you. I wish I could give you a proper hug. Soon I hope.

2:41 AM  
Blogger Sahir said...

so wise.

5:16 AM  
Blogger Un-Kaih said...

I was reading my first book on Buddhism (about ten years ago now)and when I got to this story it was like a revelation. the only thing that doesn't change is change itself. Thanx for posting it. May all beings be happy.

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