KISA was a young woman from a wealthy family who was happily married to an important businessman.

When her only son was one-year-old, he fell ill and died suddenly. Kisa was struck with grief, she could not bear the death of her only child. Weeping and groaning, she took her dead baby in her arms and went from house to house begging everyone to tell her of a way to bring her son back to life.

Nobody could help her but Kisa would not give up. Eventually she came across a Buddhist who advised her to go and see the Buddha.

When she carried the dead child to the Buddha and told Him her sad story, He listened with patience and compassion. Then He said to her, “Kisa Gautami, there is only one way to solve your problem. Go and find me four or five mustard seeds from any family in which there has never been a death.”

Kisa was filled with hope, and set off straight away to find such a household. Very soon she discovered that every family she visited had experienced the death of someone. At last, she understood what the Buddha had wanted her to find out for herself – that suffering is a part of life, and that death comes to us all. Once Kisa had accepted the fact that death is inevitable, she could stop her grieving. She took the child’s body away and later came back to the Buddha and became one of His followers.

Michael Jackson

(Altrincham Inter Faith Group)