Last Updated 11 Mar 2020

A Letter from Buddha to his Disciple

Category Buddha, Buddhism, Poverty
Words 797 (3 pages)
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You have asked of me for help in how to heal your father of his sickness. I appreciate that your father is a good and righteous man and you are blessed to have had a good man for a father. But I cannot take away his pain. That is something that no one can really do for if there is anything that is constant in every person's life, it is suffering. Life is suffering. That is one of the noble truths. Learn this and it can just be the very thing that would bring you, your family, and even your father enlightenment.

Also remember that sorcery and miracles promised by magicians will do you no good for it is against the Laws of Karma and can only bring harm. I have seen the suffering and ugliness caused by disease and the sadness caused by man's mortality. (Moore-Brooder, 2005, p. 499) Truly if one would compare the life I led with my family one would say I am truly favored by the gods. When I was young I lived a life full of pleasures and worldly vices. But it can be a paradox on how one's blessings are defined by pain and suffering.

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It was only after bearing witness to the many instances and forms of suffering, that I sought fulfillment of my existence and ultimately, enlightenment. Man's life is incomplete without pain. Even from the time of birth both mother and child experience pain. But once one has transcended pain, he becomes a new man and thus, reborn. I give you my story of the mother Gotami-tissa whose son succumbed to disease. (Morgan, 1956, p. 23) She went from door to door seeking a miracle that would bring back her son's life continually being told that such a thing was impossible.

She came to me for help, wringing her hands and prostrating herself so that I may bring her son back to life. I asked her for mustard seeds. Not just any ordinary mustard seed, but she must collect seeds that came from homes that remained untouched by grief and death. Later on she came back to me and confessed that she was unable to get any seed for all the homes she visited have experienced death. Death is not a circumstance special to just one person. It is unavoidable and constant. By understanding this, she was cured of her grief and has been able to continue living as a new woman.

In my teachings I have continually mentioned man's mortality, his impermanence. Nothing on earth is permanent other than death. Its stealth is legendary and one never really knows when it will come. I urge you my son, to practice dharma in order that your life may be fulfilled and protected from bad karma. For if you do no wrong, why should there be consequences? Today we see many people doing everything within their power to attain their ambition. Some may perhaps reason out "it is not so wrong" but truly, if one would like to live on the side of right, one has to choose definitely between right or wrong without compromise.

Live in freedom and self-mastery to fully enjoy the gift that is life. Bad things are constant. Suffering is constant. The only thing you can really control and gain mastery of is yourself. Learn to take the middle path in life for it is the way to happiness. Know that a life of extremes is bad and will ultimately bring more suffering. I exhort you to learn to look within yourself and develop an understanding and acceptance of what goes on around you. Aiming to change others can sometimes be a futile practice.

I myself can teach what I have learned and woken up to realize, yet true enlightenment can only come from within a person himself. Some may perhaps say, I will seek enlightenment later or I have tried to understand life before but failed. But past failure is past and the future is uncertain in many ways. Indeed, it can happen that tomorrow or later in the day may be all of what remains of the future. Seek enlightenment now, and cherish the moment. So when death comes, you do not regret nor do you have fear of the next life for you die with knowledge of having lived not just a good life, but a righteous one.

- Buddha References Morgan, K. W. (Ed. ). (1956). The Path of the Buddha Buddhism Interpreted by Buddhists. New York: Ronald Press. Retrieved September 23, 2007, from Questia database: http://www. questia. com/PM. qst? a=o&d=5883323 Moore-Bruder. (2005). Philosophy: The Power of Ideas, Sixth Edition Ohio: McGraw-Hill Carrithers, M. (2001). The Buddha: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. Retrieved September 23, 2007, from Questia database: http://www. questia. com/PM. qst? a=o&d=101647070

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