Posted by: Michael Rickicki | 03/08/2019

None Will Escape Sickness and Death

My two year old woke up last night with a fever again. We are now turning the corner from run of the mill to slightly more concerning. And, yet, why would it not be so? Why should it be different? We are all born into this human realm with our own kamma which will ripen inexorably.

This is not to say that I’m nonchalant about it: I spent the morning reciting the Medicine Buddha mantra, dedicating the merit of my Anapanasati to get and doing tonglen. Would that it were possible to exchange her sickness for my health but that is that the way of the world. All of this had me thinking about the following account of Visakha mother of Migara which I’ll include below. Please dedicate merit to my daughter and may you be well.

Death of a Dearly Loved Grandson

The Udana

Thus have I heard. 

On a certain occasion the Blessed One dwelt at Savatthi, in the eastern monastery, in the pavilion of Visakha-Migaramata. 

Now at that time, the dearly loved grandson of Visakha-Migaramata died. And Visakha-Migaramata went at unseasonable hours, with hands and hair wet (with tears), to where the Blessed One was, and drawing near she saluted the Blessed One and sat down apart. 

And the Blessed One said to Visakha-Migaramata, as he sat there: “Wherefore, O Visakha, do you come here at unseasonable hours, with hands and hair wet (with tears)?” 

“Sire, my dearly loved grandson is dead; that is why I come here, at unseasonable hours, with hands and hair wet (with tears).” 

“Do you find, O Visakha, that there are sons and grandsons in proportion to the number of men in Savatthi?” 

“I find, Blessed One, that there are sons and grandsons in proportion to the number of men.” 

“And how many men of Savatthi, Visakha, die daily?” 

“Sometimes, Sire, ten men of Savatthi die daily, some times nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two; some times, Sire, only one man dies in the day. Of men dying in Savatthi, there is no lack, Sire.” 

“What think you, Visakha; have you found at anytime or anywhere, men whose garments have been unwetted (by tears), whose hair has been unwetted (by tears)?”

“Not so, Sire; how is that possible with so many sons and grandsons?” 

“Those, Visakha, who have a hundred dear ones, have a hundred sorrows. These who have ninety dear ones, have ninety sorrows. These who have eighty dear ones, have eighty sorrows etc. Those who have one dear one, have one sorrow. Those who have no dear one, for them there is no sorrow. These, I declare, are the griefless ones, free from human passion, without despair.” 

Whatsoever of sorrow, lamentation and pain is in the world, 
All this arises from clinging, where clinging is not, these are not. 
Therefore happy and sorrowless are those who cling not to anything in the world. 
Set not your affections on things on earth.

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Shillelagh Studies

A hub for the music, culture, knowledge, and practice of Irish stick-fighting, past and present.