A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

A lesson on the pain of death

One of the ways that most religions teach is through the parable. Buddhism is no different. Take the parable of Kisa Gotami. She brought her recently deceased daughter to the Buddha. Distraught she told the Buddha, that as he had transcended the bonds of death surely, he could breathe life back into her only child, the Buddha seeing she was in shock, and beyond reaching with reason or logic, compassionately smiled, giving her hope. He told her he would do what he could. But he needed a handful of mustard seeds first. These mustard seeds must come from a house that has never known death. She went into the village, and knocked on the first door. Asking for a handful of mustard seeds to save her daughter, brought a willing response of help, until she mentioned the stipulation of no death known in the house. The woman apologised and said she couldn’t help Kisa, as her husband’s father had just passed away. She went to the next house, and again help was offered, until the stipulation was mentioned, a death was known to the house. Kisa went to the next house, then the one after it, till she had knocked on every house in the village. Death was known to every house. Realizing that death was common to all her neighbours, she returned to the Buddha, buried her daughter, and asked to learn the dharma


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