Buddha’s Stories & Stomach Bugs

March 18, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Posted in Grief, silver lining | 9 Comments
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I have been having trouble writing.  In fact, I have had trouble concentrating on anything at all.  I know this is partly because I cannot seem to get the twins back on a normal schedule.  I do not know if they are off because we have been away, daylight savings time or a stomach bug.  Regardless of the reason, there have been some bumpy days (and nights) at our house.

In one of my attempts to avoid the meltdowns of 2 cranky 3 year olds I grabbed a book.  It turned out to be the Kindness A Treasury of Buddhist Wisdom for Children and Parents by Sarah Conover.  We were sent many books after Jake and then after Sawyer died.  At the time I could not read most of those books.  However, the other afternoon I found myself reading these short stories to the twins.  One of the stories was about a woman named Kisa Gotami.  The following is a cliff notes version of the story:

After losing her only child, Kisa Gotami became desperate and asked if anyone could help her. Her sorrow was so great that many thought she had already lost her mind. Someone told her to find Buddha. Buddha told her that before he could bring the child back to life, she should find mustard seeds from a family where no one had died. She desperately went from house to house, but to her disappointment, she could not find a house that had not suffered the death of a family member.

Kisa returned to speak with Buddha and he asked for the mustard seed.  Kisa replied, “I am done looking for the mustard seed.  I know that in the whole city, in the whole world, there is not one family, not one person, free from the certainty of death.  It is the way of all living things – we must at some time leave one another.”

Kisa went on to say, “I felt terribly alone in my grief, but now I know that there are many others who have lost what they most cherished.  We must help each other.”

Buddha helped Kisa come to terms with bereavement.  He taught her compassion.  I do not know that I will ever understand why Jake and Sawyer predeceased me or why Evan’s mom died so young.  Maybe it is so that I will learn to be more compassionate.  Maybe it is so that I will help others.  Maybe I will never know. 

I do know that I will keep reading this book.  Who knows, Buddha could have some wisdom to share about bumpy days/nights and stomach bugs.


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  1. Long live Buddah! Excellent cliff notes version there.

  2. What a lovely post!Thank you, Lanie, for writing it. And, maybe, reading will become the answer to your finding it so hard to write. You have more than enough reasons for finding it hard to write, so please don’t be hard on yourself.
    Love, Cornelia

  3. Wow. This gave me goose bumps. I am so happy that you found some comfort from that book.

    Love and prayers being sent to you. The memory of your precious babies has taught mommies like me how precious every single day is with our littles. Thank you for writing and for sharing your children with the world.

  4. Lanie,
    The one thing I know for sure in this journey is that I have become a more compassionate person. Perhaps this is my lesson. I’d like to think that I was before this.. but truth be told.. I had no idea. I hate that the truth is revealed in pain, but the truth is the truth. Until we walk this path we truly have no idea that there are no mustard seeds to be found.
    ps. I too have had trouble writing (and cooking) here of late. I have learned (slowly and painfully) to have patience with myself. It will all come about when the time is right.

  5. What a beautiful story and such a powerful message.

  6. That’s a beautiful message, sad, but there is strength in knowing that you are never alone.

  7. I have lost so many wonderful friends and family members. This story could not have shown this aspect of life any better than it did. Death is life, in rotation. Those who study the Talmud have always sought answers…and they are still asking….

  8. You are one of the most compassionate people I know. I’m not sure you needed to learn more compassion. But that is a beautiful story.

  9. Reblogged this on A Mourning Mom and commented:

    I know that dark days are a part of life. I know I have survived them before but recently I have forgotten how exactly I managed to get through some of those days. So, I looked back to a March 4 years ago and reread this Buddha story. It helped me then so I am hoping it will help me now.

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