Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My Daily Dose of... Dharma

"Don't do as I say, be as I am." - The Buddha

Dharma, in Sanskrit, has many meanings (depending on context); "teachings", "system", "path","reality", "truth", "calling", etc. For many Buddhists, it refers to the path to the truth - the Buddha's teachings showing us the way - and in relation to everything as it is in life.

We all know this story (or a variation of it) : A woman is given away to a man as an arranged marriage and is expected to produce a male heir. When she finally gave birth, her baby son died. She'd heard of a miracle worker who could stare death in the face and death would back down. She clutched her dead son in her arms and ran to the miracle worker and begged him to bring her son back. The miracle worker smiled compassionately and said, "Before I do anything, go to the nearby village and bring me a handful of mustard seed. But, please, make sure the seed comes only from a home where death is unknown." The woman immediately ran to the village, clutching her dead child and asked for mustard seed. However, when she revelaed the miracle worker's stipulation, each home she visited had a story about a loved one's death. Suddenly, the woman got it.
This is largely attributed to Buddhist folklore; the woman's name as Kisa Gotami and the miracle worker as, of course, The Buddha.
The Buddha, as the miracle worker, hadn't told her to learn to forget the tragedy of her son's death and be happy; he showed her a way to look deeper into her grief and to see something larger than her own loss.
With wisdom and compassion, The Buddha realized suffering's origin and its end. Doing so, he also realized that others can achieve enlightenment.
We can all achieve enlightenment through the teachings of the Dharma, personal growth and commitment to The Eightfold Path.

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