It was said that, since Buddha had given a public education in a country. The common people all became the morals, courtesy, and thoughtfulness. They lived in harmony with the mutual love and support each other, which had made the land verily a paradise. The marvelous tidings had been spread far and wide.
A pagan was named MAZE who wondered about the mighty power and high-mindedness of Buddha. He decided to pay a formal visit to Buddha and might seek for his advice. He underwent a long and arduous journey to arrive in that country. But, he had experienced something, which was puzzled him before he had yet to meet Buddha.
In fact, that country was located in a tropical region. That place had haunted by many vipers. It was also known that one could be killed instantly by just a bite. As he walked along, he saw a farmer and his son worked in the field. Suddenly, a viper glided smoothly towards the younger. He raised a cry and died at once. The farmer kept on his work. It seemed that the death of his son was no effect on him. Maze surprised and asked, ‘Who is this young man?’
The farmer replied, ‘My son.’
‘Your son is just killed by a viper. Don’t you grieve? How can you continue to your work? Is he your biological son?’ asked Maze.
The farmer said, ‘Why should I grieve for? Everyone must die. The prosperity and the deterioration of everything have its own laws. They will have their rewards or penalties when the time comes. Yes, I’m sad and bawl. But, what does it benefit the deceased?’
Maze was confused.
The farmer asked, ‘Are you on the way to the town? Would you do me a favor? Please take a message to my wife to prepare the lunch only for me. And her son was killed by the viper.’
Maze was astonished that he could be so calm on the death of his son. How could a father be so callous? How could he only care about his lunch? What on earth is happening?
When Maze reached the farmer’s house, he passed his wife the message. The farmer’s wife expressed her thanks. He did not see a bit of sad on her face, but. He could not help and asked, ‘Don’t you grieve at your son’s tragic death?’
She replied plainly, ‘I’ve never ever invited my son to be born in my family. He came by his fate. Now he has left, I have no way to detain him either. It is simply like the visitors stay at a roadhouse for an evening, they will leave at dawn. No one will extend their stay and no one can. This is the same between me and my son. He comes, he goes. Nothing I can do about.’
Maze thought, ‘What an iron-hearted couple! They surely are muddleheaded and unreasonable.’
Her elder daughter came out at that time. Maze kindly asked, ‘Will you be sorry for the loss of your younger brother?’
The girl said, ‘Why should I be sorry? We are like to be formed as a wooden raft. It sails in rough seas. Unexpectedly, it is destroyed by a big storm. The pieces of wood will drift along the running water, then. We become siblings and are born in the same family by fate. The length of life, the birth and death have its own rules. It is out of my control.’
There came their neighbor, she said casually, ‘Oh! My husband is just died.’
He was totally all at sea. He asked, ‘How can you be so relaxed on the death of your husband? Don’t you care about him?’
She answered soberly, ‘The union of matrimony is the same as the birds in the sky. They stay together at sunset and seek its food at sunrise. They have their own destiny. If either one of them cannot return, this is its fate. I cannot replace him. I can never ever to bear his own karma too. It is just like the passengers, they meet each other on a journey. They will split at the terminal.’
Maze was filled with anger and depression.
He extremely repented of crossing the unnecessary long way to such a place. It was all rumors that the people had the filial piety in that country. He thought he would be able to turn over a new leaf. And he would search for the true value of life. Those people were so iron-hearted and ridiculous, but. Nevertheless, he still wanted to see Buddha for once. After all, that would be a regret to go home empty-handed. Maze went to visit Buddha at last.
He sat silently with his head down in the lecture hall. His mind was full of queries but he did not say a word. Buddha had already understood and asked deliberately, ‘What makes you sad?’
‘I cannot achieve my desires. Everything I had encountered was violated my principle. That’s why I’m so sad!’ replied Maze.
Buddha kindly said, ‘The sadness will never solve the problems. Tell me your frustrations.’
‘I’ve great admiration for Buddhist tuition and I’d come from a very long distance. A place is where the people have pursued according to the law of mercy and the enlightenment by Buddha. The truth turned out that was so outrageous.’ said Maze. Then, he told Buddha his experience of the farmer and his family… He considered that it was very inhuman and uncompassionate. Such matter should not occur in a Buddhist nation.
Buddha explained, ‘All you hope to see and hear, sometimes, it cannot follow the legal principle. The most important of the moral teachings is incompatible with the purification of humanity and the truth. What the farmer and his neighbor behaved, they were in reason. They understand the life is impermanence and the unexpected always happens. The death of a life is like the extinguishment of a lamp. The humans cannot retain their flesh. Even, this is the same to all saints from ancient time till now. When we bawl at the deceased, what’s the benefit him? The birth and death have its laws. The joy of existence and the grief of death are only the bewilderment of a very worldly attitude. Furthermore, the circumrotation of the birth and death is never ended. The value of life is not based on how long we live. But, how much can we contribute to others in our society?’
Maze was enlightened after listening to Buddha.
Since then, he converted to Buddhism and became a devoted monk.
You bawl at the deceased because he has already escaped from the human world of woes, or for yourself?
We only live once but if we work it right, once is enough.
You want to leave the love and wisdom on earth.
Or, you want to leave a kingdom of wealth to your descendants.
This is your choice!
Prefer the afterlife is better than this one.
Never let this life is better than next one.