When the Buddha was alive, there was once a mother who gave birth to a child. Unfortunately the child died shortly after birth. Because of this, the mother became too mournful which drove her mind close to insanity.
She would carry her child’s body with her to search for anyone who would be able to bring back her dead child. Finally, she came forth to Buddha for help. The Buddha saw her mind was out of control and agreed to help revive the child, but with the condition that she must agree to go any lengths to complete the tasks that would come before her in the journey.
When she received this good news from Buddha, a light of hope appeared within. She thought to herself, “I would put in all my effort and do anything to achieve the tasks set before me.”
Buddha said to her, “Very well then, you shall ask for some mustard seeds from someone who has never suffered a death in the family.” The mustard seed is a very common food in India so she immediately accepted the task. She laid down her dead child’s body in front of the Buddha and began to enquire at every household in the town for some mustard seeds.
When she came to each household, she would always ask, “Have you ever lost someone in your family before?” Although every family she came across had mustard seeds, but she had not found one family that had not lost someone before.
She spent all day searching, but her hands were still empty of mustard seeds. With a heavy heart, once again, she came before the Buddha. The Buddha gently asked, “Did you find the mustard seeds?” “No,” she replied in sorrow, “Everyone has mustards seeds, but not one family have had not experienced bereavement.”
Buddha said, “To be born and to die are the laws of nature. Life is impermanent; the length of life can be variable. The chance to be born as a human and to live as one, has come at great affinity, so why continue to seek for life, when has already come to an end of a chapter?”
The Buddha’s words of wisdom had enlightened her and she finally came to understand that she cannot have everything to her heart’s desires in life. She realized that the child has already left this world; it is wise to accept the truth and move on with her life.
Being afraid of death and having the desire to continue to live a long-lasting life is common human nature, but every life comes to an end, doesn’t it?
People have tried to avoid dying, but none have ever succeeded. It doesn’t matter how hard you try to preserve and protect yourself, we will always need to face death in the end. So therefore, death is a very natural thing.
If only we could understand that life diminishes as time goes on, and time never wait for us. Then we would live life to the fullest, add meaning to our impermanent life by doing good deeds to create good karma, give kind blessings and gather great wisdom.
What is good karma? It is a way in which we can benefit and improve the people and the society. The common word used is “welfare” which means to aid or promote well-being ‘for the common good’.
If we are able to understand of the true meaning of life, in the matter of life and death, we will see the situation from a broader perspective. We can peacefully rise above the concept and let go of all our worries, there will be no struggle between the pain of life and death.