BORN OF A MOTHER’S LOVE
Today, in many parts of the World, the Buddha’s Birthday is celebrated with chant, dance, festival, and beautiful flowers. The day of his birth is also the day of his enlightenment and death. How beautiful the idea that these three auspicious events are celebrated at one and the same time. It gives us pause as we ponder the significant events in our own lives. The interconnections we discover in our lives are a deep source of wisdom in our practice of peace.
I cannot think of the Buddha without remembering his beloved Mother, Queen Maya, who died in the early years of the Buddha’s life. It was perhaps her death that gave him true birth. He seems to have spent his life in the wake of the pain of having lost her. His pain was not born of attachment but rather became the source of great compassion.
The Mother of the Buddha is the source of great inspiration and an excellent example of what it means to be a human person. She realized from the moment of his conception that her son was destined to be the joy of so many people other than herself. She gave birth to his body, but the Buddha seemed to realize he was born of his mother’s soul and spirit.
According to one sacred text, the Mother of the Buddha appeared to him after she died, commissioning him to be a source of love and compassion to other suffering people. The text implies the Mother let go of possessing her son that others could benefit from his wisdom and compassion born of the greatest pain a child can suffer the loss of a loving parent.
Think of the many people who suffered great loss and yet found the courage of heart to bless other suffering people. As we enjoy the beauty of this day, let us thank all those who love and manifest compassion from the sorrow and brokenness they suffer.
Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.