A Mother's Grief

Buddha taught in many different ways. To simple people and to children he taught by telling stories. To those people with high intelligence, Buddha gave detailed explanations of the path. To others, he taught without speaking any words at all. But, perhaps, his most powerful teaching was his own example, the very way he lived his life. He always acted with kindness and love. He was patient with everyone, even the most ignorant and foolish.

Very soon, many people were attracted to him and became his followers. If someone had a problem, he or she would go to Buddha and ask his advice. There was one woman, named Gotami, whose child had just died. She was so sad that she became crazy. She went everywhere trying to bring her child back to life. Her friends felt sorry for her and said, "Gotami, you should go and see the Buddha. Perhaps he can help you."

She went before Buddha still holding her child in her arms. "Please bring him back to life for me," she cried. Very gently Buddha answered her, " I can help you, Gotami, but first you must bring me something. I need one small mustard seed. However, it must come from a house where no one has ever died." Gotami quickly went out in search of a mustard seed. She asked at one home and the woman there answered, "Of course you can have a mustard seed. You can have whatever you want... But you should know that last year my husband died. "

"Oh," Gotami replied, "then I must search elsewhere" and ran off to the next house. But everywhere she went, the same thing happened. Everyone wanted to help her, but someone had died in every family she visited. One person told her, "Three years ago I lost my daughter." Another said, " my bother died her yesterday." It was always the same.

At the end of the day she returned to the Buddha. "What have you found, Gotami?" he asked. "Where is your mustard seed. ? And there is your son? You are not carrying him any longer." She answered, "Buddha, today I have discovered that I am not the only one who has lost a loved one. Everywhere people have died. I see how foolish I was to think I could have my son back. I have accepted his death, and this afternoon I buried him. Now I have returned to you to hear your teachings. I am ready to listen. " Then Buddha said, "Gotami, you have learned a great deal today. Death must come to everyone sooner or later. But if you learn the truth you can live and die in happiness. Come, I shall teach you." And so he taught her, and soon she found more peace and happiness than she had ever known before.