Shared Suffering

— Dana

There’s a story of the Buddha that I read in an article this morning. It goes a little something like this…

A woman came to Buddha. Her baby died who was 3 months old. She wouldn’t put it down. She carried it for weeks, even though it was putting everyone off. She said, “Make my baby live.” He said, “I can’t do that. I can give you the seed to finding peace in the midst of this difficulty. Go get a teaspoon of coriander from every family that’s not had a death in the family. Bring back three teaspoons of coriander and we’ll make the elixir. She goes to family after family, and every family she meets, there’s been death in the family and tragedy. She comes back and says, “I am not alone after all.” She can bury the baby. If we think we are the only ones suffering, that makes us suffer the most. One definition of suffering is “pain without a sense of connection.”

There’s a sense that everyone shares difficulty. We’re not alone in this, after all.