The Cure for Death



The Cure for Death :



What Buddha said… : Better it is to live one day comprehending the Deathless than a hundred years without ever comprehending the Deathless.

SOON AFTER GISA KOTAMI got married, she gave birth to a son whom she loved dearly. Then, one day, when he was just beginning to learn how to walk, he suddenly fell ill and died. This left Gisa Kotami deeply grieved. Unable to accept her only son’s death, she roamed the streets with him held tightly in her arms, asking whomever she came across for some medicine that could cure her son and bring him back to life. Luckily she came upon a kindly man who realized her plight and advised her to go and see the Buddha. “The Buddha alone," he told her, “has the antidote to death."

When the Buddha saw Gisa Kotami, he realized that she was too grief-stricken to listen to reason and so resorted to some skillful means to help her. He told her that he could indeed restore her son back to life if she could get him a mustard seed. “However," the Buddha warned, “the mustard seed must not come from any household where death has ever occurred. If you can bring one back to me, your child will live again."

Gisa Kotami felt great relief and was overjoyed at the prospect of having her son once more playing at her side. Full of hope, she hurriedly went from house to house, but nowhere could she find a household in which no one had ever died. At last it dawned on her that she was not alone in her grief, for everyone else had suffered the loss of a loved one at one time or another. When she realized that, she lost all attachment to the dead body of her son and understood what the Buddha was trying to teach her: nothing born can ever escape death.

Gisa Kotami then buried her son and went to tell the Buddha that she could find no family where tears had never been shed over a lost loved one. The Buddha said to her, “You have now seen that it is not only you who have ever lost a son, Gisa Kotami. Death comes to all beings, for fleeting and impermanent is the nature of all component things."

Gisa Kotami then became a nun and strove hard to eventually perceive the state of no death and no sorrow, which is the deathless state of Nibbana.

What Buddha said… : Better it is to live one day comprehending the Deathless than a hundred years without ever comprehending the Deathless.


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