The woman came crying, weeping, carrying the body of the dead child. Buddha said, “Leave the child here. I will bring him back to life on one condition: you have to bring some mustard seeds from a house where nobody has ever died.”
The poor woman could not understand the logic of it. She thought, “What a great opportunity! This is not difficult” – because mustard seed was the principal crop in that village. “There must be some house where nobody has died.” She went from house to house.
And they said, “How many mustard seeds do you want? We can bring many carts full if your child can be revived. But it won’t help, because not only one person but thousands of people must have died in this house, in this family. And you are unnecessarily wasting your time – you cannot find a house where nobody has died.”
But she went on searching – perhaps…a hope against hope. By the evening it became clear that everybody who is born dies, and she could not find the required mustard seeds. But her tears disappeared, and instead of tears a great awareness arose, that “Life and death exist together. And what does it matter if my child dies today or tomorrow? He would have to die, and it is good that he has died before me. If I had died first he would have been an orphan, a beggar. This is a great blessing.”
By the time she reached Buddha the sun was setting, and Buddha said, “Where are the mustard seeds?”
She fell down at Buddha’s feet and she said, “I have brought myself, not the mustard seeds. I want to be initiated into the search for that which never dies.”
Now you can see the difference between the two stories. In one Lazarus is resurrected, but he will have to die again. What was the point of resurrecting him? He has not been transformed. He has not gained any insight, he has not become awakened. But this woman in a similar situation with a great master, encounters the very basic problem: how to transcend life and death? How to get beyond this circle of life and death?
Buddha initiated her, and he said, “For this reason I had to send you – so that the understanding arose on your own that everybody dies. Now the question is, is there something that never dies? And I am happy that you have come back with that understanding. Your initiation is not an imitation, your initiation is out of understanding.”
Christian missionaries continuously go on saying that except for Jesus, nobody – neither Buddha nor Bodhidharma…there have been thousands of masters, but Jesus is unique because of his miracles. But buddhas will laugh.
The real miracle is that the woman has come to an understanding that she wants to enter into herself. From the outside you may not think it a great miracle. To resurrect the body is not the question – he will die again, you are simply giving him another chance to die.