My Grandmother’s Adversity

My grandmother lays sick in the hospital at the moment. I tried calling her earlier today, but she was in too much pain to speak for very long. She is having heart and kidney problems, and they also found water in her lungs. She is one of the strongest and most independent women in the world – by far. She has already beaten cancer before. This courageous woman also helped to raise my brothers, cousins, as well as many other kids and I when she provided her own babysitting service. Now, you have to admit that it takes one hell of a woman to be able to handle all of those bratty kids at once.

This is yet another harsh reminder that we are all caught up in the whirlwind of Samsara (“continuous movement” or “continuous meandering”). This refers to the cycles of birth (jati), aging (jara), death (marana), and subsequent future becomming (punabbhava) that all beings are subject to. As a part of Samsara, the consciousness (vijnana) carries karmic energy/conditioning/inluence/etc (kamma-vega) from rebirth to rebirth.

Just as one can not point out the beginning of a circle, one can not easily point out the beginning of Samsara. We have been wandering about and suffering within the snare of Samsara for an inconceivably extensive amount of time. Thus we will continue on, wandering and suffering, until we finally realize bodhi (i.e. awakening, knowing, enlightenment, etc) and abide in Nirvana. No, I am not referring to the 90’s grunge-rock band from Seattle; but the ultimate state of awareness and second ultimate state, to paranirvana, of harmony. Nirvana literally means to “go out” like a lame, as it is the liberation (or “unbinding”) from the cyclic existence of Samsara.

In the Assu Sutta (as translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu), the Buddha poignantly explains our predicament as follows:
At Savatthi. There the Blessed One said: “From an inconstruable beginning comes transmigration. A beginning point is not evident, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on. What do you think, monks: Which is greater, the tears you have shed while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time — crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing — or the water in the four great oceans?”

“As we understand the Dhamma taught to us by the Blessed One, this is the greater: the tears we have shed while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time — crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing — not the water in the four great oceans.”

“Excellent, monks. Excellent. It is excellent that you thus understand the Dhamma taught by me.

“This is the greater: the tears you have shed while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time — crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing — not the water in the four great oceans.

“Long have you (repeatedly) experienced the death of a mother. The tears you have shed over the death of a mother while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time — crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing — are greater than the water in the four great oceans.

“Long have you (repeatedly) experienced the death of a father… the death of a brother… the death of a sister… the death of a son… the death of a daughter… loss with regard to relatives… loss with regard to wealth… loss with regard to disease. The tears you have shed over loss with regard to disease while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time — crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing — are greater than the water in the four great oceans.

“Why is that? From an inconstruable beginning comes transmigration. A beginning point is not evident, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on. Long have you thus experienced stress, experienced pain, experienced loss, swelling the cemeteries — enough to become disenchanted with all fabricated things, enough to become dispassionate, enough to be released.”

Bhaisajyaguru (also known as the Healing Buddha or Medicine Buddha) is a popular form of the Buddha in the Mahayana traditions of Tibet, China and Japan. The name means ‘Healing Teacher’ or even ‘Supreme Healer’. He is looked upon therefore as someone who can be invoked in times of curing physical illness, warding such calamities as famine, drought and plague, granting longevity and assisting the dead, and is also known to have dispensed all kinds of mundane benefits to those who pray to him. However, his significance is deeper than this because he is also the healer of spiritual ills, including the three poisons: greed, hated and delusion.

Therefore, I dedicate the merit accumulated by chanting the great Dharani of Medicine Buddha to my loving grandmother:
Namo bhagavate Bhaishajya-guru vaidurya-praba-rajaya tathagataya arthate samyak-sambuddhaya tadyata Om bhaishajye bhaishajye bhaishajya-samudgate svaha

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About bodhipunk

Just another anarcho-commie dhamma punk.

Posted on 11/22/2010, in dharma, stories, suttas. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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