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Living with Losing your Child: Buddhist Parable July 9, 2009

Posted by johnbohlinger in Dealing with Grief after Losing your child., Uncategorized.
August and his Mamma, at one of her art opennings

August and his Mamma, at one of her art opennings

There’s a buddhist parable that goes a bit like this:

A crying woman comes to the master,  falls at his feet and whimpers,
“My son is dying and nobody can save him.  What do I do?”

The master says:
“Bring me a cup of water from a family that has never know tears and a grain of rice from a family that has never know hunger.”

The woman runs off on her little scavenger hunt and returns a few days later.

“Master,  I could not find a family that did not know tears or hunger.”

The master looked at her compassionately.

If you can make it through the initial shock and depression, losing your child will make you more compassionate.  The word “compassion” comes from ecclesiastical Latin word ” compati” which means to suffer with.   It’s like you develop a heightened awareness to pain after experiencing something as devastating as the loss of your child.   You actually feel a bit of what others go through, when they hurt, you hurt.

The media constantly bombards us with tragedy but none it ever seemed real to me.
I remember reading about two 18 year olds gunned down at car wash on Charlotte Pike in a drug related murder and thinking:
“Oh,  that’s two blocks from my house.  The crimes getting terrible around here.”

Now all I can think about is how sad this story is.   These boys who were playing a game that was far more serious then they realized  They were young and stupid and trying to act like the men they admired in their impoverished neighborhood, the seemingly rich, flashy drug dealers.  They were recruited, they did their job and they got killed.  How tragic for their parent’s who couldn’t stop them and perhaps blame themselves for being poor role models.  How sad that these boys spend their short lives selling poison rather than contributing something positive to the world. How sad for their siblings and friends who may follow their same path.  Maybe these boys could have pulled it together, maybe they had real potential and were just experimenting with thug life.  Before the news was just entertainment, now I can’t even watch it.

I use to glide through life so effortlessly without any real problems or hardship. Great suffering that occurred around me seemed obscure, now it is far too real.  Part of me wants to shut all of this out but the other part of me wants to do something to save some of these kids.   Our collective tragedy puts us all on the same level:  it doesn’t matter how much money we have,  our ethnic background,  our jobs,  or our neighborhood.    With a bit more compassion in this world there would be more healing and less hurting, fewer parents would be in our position.



1. elvira - July 10, 2009

“Do something to save some of these kids”
Exactly; that’s it.

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