Why should I grieve? He fares the way he had to tread.

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Why should I grieve? He fares the way he had to tread.

Postby cooran » Sat Dec 26, 2009 10:37 pm

Jataka No. 354 Uraga-Jataka

Once upon a time when Brahmadatta was reigning in Benares, the Bodhisatta was born in a brahmin household, in a village outside the gates of Benares, and rearing a family he supported them by field labour. He had two children, a son and a daughter. When the son was grown up, the father brought a wife home for him from a family of equal rank with his own. Thus with a female slave they composed a household of six: the Bodhisatta and his wife, the son and daughter, the daughter-in-law and the female slave. They lived happily and affectionately together. The Bodhisatta thus admonished the other five; "According as ye have received, give alms, observe holy days, keep the moral law, dwell on the thought of death, be mindful of your mortal state. For in the case of beings like ourselves, death is certain, life uncertain: all existing things are transitory and subject to decay. Therefore take heed to your ways day and night." They readily accepted his teaching and dwelt earnestly on the thought of death.

Now one day the Bodhisatta went with his son to plough his field. The son gathered together the rubbish and set fire to it. Not far from where he was, lived a snake in an anthill. The smoke hurt the snake's eyes. Coming out from his hole in a rage, it thought, "This is all due to that fellow," and fastening upon him with his four teeth it bit him. The youth fell down dead. The Bodhisatta on seeing him fall, left his oxen and came to him, and finding that he was dead, he took him up and laid him at the foot of a certain tree, and covering him up with a cloak, he neither wept nor lamented. He said, "That which is subject to dissolution is dissolved, and that which is subject to death is dead. All compound existences are transitory and liable to death." And recognising the transitory nature of all things he went on with his ploughing. Seeing a neighbour pass close by the field, he asked, "Friend, are you going home?" And on his answering "Yes," he said, "Please then to go to our house and say to the mistress, 'You are not to-day as formerly to bring food for two, but to bring it for one only. And hitherto the female slave alone has brought the food, but to-day all four of you are to put on clean garments, and to come with perfumes and flowers in your hands.'"

“All right,” he said, and went and spoke these very words to the brahmin’s wife.
She asked, “By whom, Sir, was this message given?”
“By the Brahmin, lady,” he replied.
Then she understood that her son was dead. But she did not so much as tremble. Thus showing perfect self-control, and wearing white garments and with perfumes and flowers in her hand, she bade them bring food, and accompanied the other members of the family to the field. But no one of them all either shed a tear or made lamentation. The Bodhisatta, still sitting in the shade where the youth lay, ate his food. And when his meal was finished, they all took up fire-wood and lifting the body on to the funeral pile, they made offerings of perfumes and flowers, and then set fire to it. But not a single tear was shed by any one. All were dwelling on the thought of death. Such was the efficacy of their virtue that the throne of Sakka manifested signs of heat. Sakka said, “Who, I wonder, is anxious to bring me down from my throne?” And on reflection he discovered that the heat was due to the force of virtue existing in these people, and being highly pleased he said, “I must go to them and utter a loud cry of exultation like the roaring of a lion, and immediately afterwards fill their dwelling place with the seven treasures.” And going there in haste he stood by the side of the funeral pyre and said, “What are you doing?”
“We are burning the body of a man, my lord.”
“It is no man that you are burning,” he said. “Methinks you are roasting the flesh of some beast that you have slain.”
“Not so, my lord,” they said. “It is merely the body of a man that we are burning.”
Then he said, “It must have been some enemy.”
The Bodhisatta said, “It is our own true son, and no enemy.”
“Then he could not have been dear as a son to you.”
“He was very dear, my lord.”
“Then why do you not weep??”

Then the Bodhisatta, to explain the reason why he did not weep, uttered the first stanza: -

Man quits his mortal frame, when joy in life is past,
E’en as a snake is wont its worn out slough to cast.
No friend’s lament can touch the ashes of the dead:
Why should I grieve? He fares the way he had to tread.


Sakka on hearing the words of the Bodhisatta, asked the brahmin’s wife, “How, lady, did the dead man stand to you?”
“I sheltered him ten months in my womb, and suckled him at my breast, and directed the movements of his hands and feet, and he was my grown up son, my lord.”
“Granted, lady, that a father from the nature of man may not weep, a mother’s heart surely is tender. Why then do you not weep?”
And to explain why she did not weep, she uttered a couple of stanzas: -

Uncalled he hither came, unbidden soon to go;
E’en as he came, he went. What cause is here for woe?
No friend’s lament can touch the ashes of the dead;
Why should I grieve? He fares the way he had to tread.


On hearing the words of the brahmin’s wife, Sakka asked the sister:
“Lady, what was the dead man to you?”
“He was my brother, my lord.”
“Lady, sisters surely are loving towards their brothers. Why do you not weep?”
But she to explain the reason why she did not weep, repeated a couple of stanzas:

Though I should fast and weep, how would it profit me?
My kith and kin alas! Would more unhappy be.
No friend’s lament can touch the ashes of the dead:
Why should I grieve? He fares the way he had to tread.


Sakka on hearing the words of the sister, asked his wife: “Lady, what was he to you?”
“He was my husband, my lord.”
“Woman surely, when a husband dies, as widows are helpless. Why do you not weep?”
But she to explain the reason why she did not weep, uttered two stanzas: -

As children cry in vain to grasp the moon above,
So mortals idly mourn the loss of those they love.
No friend’s lament can touch the ashes of the dead:
Why should I grieve? He fares the way he had to tread.


Sakka on hearing the words of he wife, asked the handmaid, saying, “Woman, what was he to you?”
“He was my master, my lord.”
“No doubt you must have been abused and beaten and oppressed by him and therefore, thinking he is happily dead, you weep not.”
“Speak not so, my lord. This does not suit his case. My young master was full of long-suffering and love and pity for me, and was as a foster child to me.”
“Then why do you not weep?”
And she to explain why she did not weep, uttered a couple of stanzas: -

A broken pot of earth , Ah! Who can piece again?
So too to mourn the dead is nought but labour vain.
No friend’s lament can touch the ashes of the dead:
Why should I grieve? He fares the way he had to tread.


Sakka after hearing what they all had to say, was greatly pleased and said, “Ye have carefully dwelt on the thought of death. Henceforth you are not to labour with your own hands. I am Sakka, king of heaven. I will create the seven treasures in countless abundance in your house. Ye are to give alms, to keep the moral law, to observe holy days, and to take heed to your ways.” And thus admonishing them, he filled their house with countless wealth, and so parted from them.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Master having finished his exposition of the Law, declared the Truths and identified the Birth: - At the conclusion of the Truths the landowner attained the fruit of the First Path : - “At that time Khujjuttara was the female slave, Uppalavanna the daughter, Rahula the son, Khema the mother, and I myself was the Brahmin.”
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Why should I grieve? He fares the way he had to tread.

Postby Ben » Sat Dec 26, 2009 11:12 pm

Thank you Chris.
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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Re: Why should I grieve? He fares the way he had to tread.

Postby Guy » Mon Dec 28, 2009 3:20 am

Beautiful story, thanks for sharing it!
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: Why should I grieve? He fares the way he had to tread.

Postby salty-J » Sun Jan 17, 2010 3:00 pm

good stuff... :popcorn:
"It is what it is." -foreman infamous for throwing wrenches in fits of rage
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Re: Why should I grieve? He fares the way he had to tread.

Postby devyani_mandpe » Sun Jan 17, 2010 3:04 pm

It is a very touching story but how do i become so brave as to face death of a loved one and my own death and pain so realistically?
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Re: Why should I grieve? He fares the way he had to tread.

Postby salty-J » Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:11 am

devyani_mandpe wrote:It is a very touching story but how do i become so brave as to face death of a loved one and my own death and pain so realistically?

I'd imagine you'd have to be damn near enlightened to respond to death like those folks.
"It is what it is." -foreman infamous for throwing wrenches in fits of rage
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Re: Why should I grieve? He fares the way he had to tread.

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:56 am

Greetings devyani_mandpe,

devyani_mandpe wrote:It is a very touching story but how do i become so brave as to face death of a loved one and my own death and pain so realistically?


There are suttas that can act as a basis for wise reflection on death, such as...

Snp 3.8: Salla Sutta (The Arrow)
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .irel.html

There are also contemplations on death and the body in the...

MN 10: Satipatthana Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Such practices (as well as any practice which gives attention to impermanence) will assist in this endeavour.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Why should I grieve? He fares the way he had to tread.

Postby Butrfly_Nirvana » Sat Jan 23, 2010 6:52 am

I really liked this.

When my grandfather on my mother's side passed away I was initially upset at my loss, but then almost as suddenly I was happy--my whole life growing up I knew that man was simply waiting out life to join his wife (who died about 11 months before I was born). So you can imagine that even as a young child knowing that, I felt joy for his 'release'. The same was felt when my grandmother passed (on my father's side)...she too had spent the last 8 years of her life waiting to join her husband--so I could only smile at the funeral because even though everyone else was grieving THEIR loss, I was thinking of HER gain...

The thing I have struggled with is feeling this same feeling for two members of my husband's family that were murdered (separate occasions...). How do I apply this to such circumstances? While I will admit that they each sort of "brought it on themselves" by their actions in life (drugs, gangs, etc.) they were doing better for themselves at the time of their passing...maybe the only way to view this is kamma? A bit off topic, I apologize...
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