It's an odd and rather dark coincidence that I write this on the day of MJ's early passing, but I figure it's as good a time as any.
I recently finished Geri Larkin's Love Dharma: Relationship Wisdom from Enlightened Buddhist Women. I adore this woman, and I think that she explains Buddhist belief in a very progressive, Western way. She was the one who first got me interested in Buddhism. This was a book my wife picked up for me, and I was a little unsure about it when I read the first two chapters, because it was obviously written for women. However, it became a pleasure to read. It had many good insights into the female practitioners of Buddhism, and I learned a lot from what I read.
There was one story in particular that moved me, and I repeat it to everyone I see. It reached me in a totally odd way.
It goes like this:
"In Buddha's time, a young woman named Kisagotami was married to a banker's son who treated her like garbage. Her in-laws were just as cruel. The only person who loved her was her little boy; then he died.
"Kisagotami went nuts-literally. She dressed the dead toddler and carried him on her hip, going door to door, asking people for medicine. An old man told her that the only person he knew who had the right medicine was Buddha.
"Kisagotami hunts him down and asks if he can cure her baby. He says yes but first she needs to get him a mustard seed from a house where nobody has died. She agrees. Going from house to house, the young mother discovers that everyone has known death - in one house it was in the past week, in another a year ago. In a third house a father had died, in another a mother or child. Not a single house was without death.
"Suddenly realizing that everyone was in the same boat, Kisagotami was healed."
Now...the message is clear. Impermanence surrounds us. We all die. It happens. We all lose one another. It is the way life is.
I took a different lesson from this tale.
There doesn't have to be a miracle saviour. There doesn't have to be some magic trick to prove wisdom. Buddha shows us here that mindfulness in itself is a miracle. Just being aware of the world around us, distilled in impermanence, is full of miracles. Every breath is a miracle.
You have to quit waiting for some illustrious imposition for your happiness. It's not going to come when you want it, if at all. So be mindful! Learn to love each other now! The only thing we are absolutely certain of is that we will not be here forever.
Make your moments count.
Here is a link to Geri Larkin's book, if you care to read it!