Siddhartha and My Angel Mother: A Son’s Reflection of His Mother

 

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The English teacher began asking the students questions about the book Siddharta by Hermann Hesse. I couldn’t stop raising my hand at this point and had the case of the “Arm-will-not-go-down” syndrome. I haven’t read a book in it’s entirety and with such amusement my whole life. Although my folks avoided teaching me on the subject of Buddhism; my mother had an array of books about Buddhist teachings. She once told me candidly while we were on the subject of religion “Buddhism adds clarity to my Christian faith.” My mother was not the least interested in esoteric or mystical explanations of church doctrine; she wanted things to be tangible and  she wanted to apply a principle right away.  She admitted many things to me in private thinking that I would judge her in some way for not being a bible scholar. She once said “I never read the whole bible…it has always been confusing to me. But I do know that Jesus Christ came to save us and that when I serve it makes me happy.” Her simple child-like understanding was enough for her to create a beautiful life of value. She had her spiritual teacher (Jesus Christ) mingled with Buddhism philosophy and she did what the Savior would have done if he wore an Oncology suit. Serving the many would be His calling and it became her calling in the medical field. She kept it simple..she knew that service to people was serving children of God. After I was baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- Day Saints, I asked her if she could relate to this scripture. I told her she was living this exact scripture and she was shocked to find it in the Book of Mormon. She was still a Catholic at the time I recited a scripture that I knew she was subconsciously living by.

17 And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.    – Mosiah 2:19


Why did Siddhartha have an effect on my soul?  I believe that Siddhartha represented 
my mother in so many ways.

1. Siddhartha grows up in a prosperous Brahman family.  My mother grew up with humble beginnings in Lima, Peru. Her father told her from a very young age, ” you will be someone who uses her mind and not your hands.” He came to this conclusion by her early fascination to help out the family when someone would fall into sickness or they were get hurt. She would be the first to say that she would heal them. By the early age of 9, she had found her calling to be a physician.  Although she didn’t grow in a rich background; she was rich in the fact that her parents believed in her dream to heal people. The dream to one day become a successful doctor that would help millions directly and  indirectly. She was groomed from early on to use her mind to advance herself and this brought her happiness. When you are happy, you are rich in my book.  How many mother’s are out there making sacrifices to find success in their niche of society for the children unborn? How many mother’s worked on their craft to increase proficiency in their career so that they can provide a better life for their posterity. These mothers who have countless names will never surface and embody the principle that a true servant hearts puts a deaf ear for recognition.  They can live abundantly knowing they provided for who they love. A mother’s heart beats for the ones she loves.

2.Siddhartha decides to join the Samanas, who are a group of wandering ascetics. His best friend Govinda accompanies him, and the two men spend three years with the Samanas learning how to withstand pain and hunger in an effort to flee the body’s limitations. This part of the book reminds me of my mother.  My mother got mentored by the best doctors and gained internships within those Peruvian hospitals to increase her skill for practicing Oncology. I would hear stories about how she would stay awake attending patients all night. She would sleep on a bench to get a quick nap before assisting the next patient. Siddhartha became a student and committed years to learn a craft. My mother was known as a library rat in her classes; she never got an average grade her whole life. My mother wanted to make her patients understand that their pain was HER pain as well. As they stayed awake thinking if they will live another day; she laid awake studying on how that could actually be a possibility. She would try to “flee the body’s limitations” only to find her stressing her body to a cancerous exhaustion and later be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  In the photo below, her friend Dr. Joshua Berka was letting her write his last diagnosis to make her feel “normal” again. How many mother’s sacrificed their health for the health of others? How many mother’s skip sleep and a restful night to assist others to sleep better at night? How many mother’s would easily sacrifice themselves to know their children wouldn’t be in danger? Truly admirable! 

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3. Although the two friends learn quite a bit from the Samana way of life, they are still dissatisfied and decide to hear the teachings of Gotama Buddha. Govinda is impressed and chooses to join Gotama’s community of monks. Despite Govinda’s urgings and despite recognizing Gotama as the Holiest Man Ever, Siddhartha opts not to follow Gotama. He decides instead that he’s an independent learner and is done with doctrine. The friends part ways. 

My mother started becoming a pioneer in the medical field. The very prominent hospital that she worked for provides Western treatments and avoids Eastern Medical practice. She began to study both and her patients were getting better!  She knows how to build on any teachings that would enable her to heal more patients. Her calling and skill would enhance the more she keeps herself open to mentorship. My mother would travel from country to country to find new thinkers and better ways to practice Oncology. She was on a mission to unlock the best potentiality she can contrive. Siddhartha got rid of the old association and began embracing the new in a similar fashion.  How many of us are willing to get persecuted by our colleagues so that we can help people more proficiently. My mother never got payed extra for it; however she did increase her joy knowing she was providing the best treatment. How many mother’s were harassed at their work place but stayed to provide for their family. How many parents took risks in their work place to state their opinion about some sort of injustice? How many mothers began disassociating with people that were toxic to their family , so that a new association would surround her loved ones? Too many mothers to count have done this time and time again.

4.After considering suicide and briefly encountering his old friend Govinda, Siddhartha finds the ferryman and asks to become his apprentice. The ferryman, named Vasudeva, accepts Siddhartha as his companion and together the two men listen to the river. With the river as a spiritual guide, Siddhartha gradually grows wiser and wiser. After allowing his son (by Kamala) to leave the river and follow his own path, Siddhartha achieves enlightenment. Vasudeva passes into Nirvana, and Siddhartha continues to ferry people across the river. He then helps his friend Govinda to reach enlightenment.

My mother was involved in a divorce after 30 years of marriage. She had times where sadness would overcome her. However, she never neglected the family and continued to serve all the people she loved. This river in the story could be a representation that when tough times arrived she would dive into her mode of service. As soon as she started taking the discussions from the LDS missionaries; she told me that she was  excited to know where we go after we pass away. Her biggest turmoil was seeing cancer patients who craved to know what waited for them on the other side. She could never give them an honest answer and it devastated her. She finally found that answer in the Mormon Church. Their was something missing in her life. Heavenly Father in his wisdom, gave her the opportunity to be the patient for once. My mother would have the seats turned on her and she would become “whole” by knowing personally what it feels like to be sick and ill. When the doctor sits as a patient this time around; she would bury her old friend “SYMPATHY” and her heart would give birth to her newest son “EMPATHY”. Jesus Christ did the same. By experiencing the sickness, you can be the Perfect Healer through experience, not theory. “. She never thought about herself. I like to word that last phrase differently. By never thinking of herself, she had a God who always thought about her. This verse describes the reasoning behind the Savior suffering and why we suffer sometimes as well. Their is a higher purpose in everything.

11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.

– Alma 7:11-12

Christ is obviously the TRUE HEALER.  He had a reasoning behind taking upon him their infirmities! Even if only to hear him say a few soothing words as we get healed physically such as  “I have been there”. We can get healed sometimes just by hearing those words only. Combining both the inside and outside healing is what my mother envied to have and she was given that opportunity by suffering herself and also gaining insights on the afterlife.

At the End of the Book Siddharta, Govinda gains wisdom from Siddhartha. 

Before she passed away in the hospital, weighing only 90 pounds and slowly walking…she put a blanket over me. This was final kind act she did for me. I didn’t need comfort; but she found comfort in giving me comfort. I gained a testimony that her being a type of Siddhartha did pass down wisdom before I got to know my Creator. Similar to Siddhartha’s story; she taught me to keep growing, dissassociate with those that hold you back, and when times are the worst..those are the best times to serve. If someone sent this blog to you; it is because you are appreciated. . Never let a day go by where you can say “I LOVE YOU”. We don’t have a visible expiration date; so we must acknowledge the loved ones as if this may be their last day. I wrote this poem after my mother passed away. She truly was a Siddhartha that took her own journey to inspire others to have their own story emerge. Bless all mothers who are beacons of light to their posterity.

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Thou Art Graven in the Palm of My Hands
by Emanuel Zevallos

Darling Maria, sweet angel who lends her hand
Sharing her talents infinitely to many like the worldly sand,
Her whole life bringing those in pain to places of healing
No one questioned her intentions because her heart was a light beaming.

She found God, who loved her before she was born,
Realizing that with Christ, her heart can heal from being torn.
All moments were sacred to her, even through some pain and strife,
However, through these experiences, she continued to search for Eternal life,

Early in her life, as she interned in the hospital day after day,
Her internship meant nothing in comparison to healing those full of hopeless   dismay.
Near the end, as we slept on the couch near her hospital bed,
She would bring us a blanket and begin to comfort us instead.

Her smile radiates the room with sincere charity,
Knowledge flowed from her mouth with the uttermost clarity.
Millions of lives were extended due to her dedication as a doctor and to those in her presence.
Never complaining and serving till exhaustion became her main essence.

Dear Father, Abba, and Mighty Celestial Being of Love,
Hug this daughter of yours as she crosses towards your mansions above.
She remained loyal to your cause till the end.
We send you an earthly angel, our mother; please help our hearts to mend.

 

 

If you can describe your mother in one word or phrase…what would it be? Would you mind sharing why she embodies that trait or title and why that is important to you?  I love to hear from my friends.

 

5 thoughts on “Siddhartha and My Angel Mother: A Son’s Reflection of His Mother

  1. my aunt Maria was my inspiration for medical assistant and devote to the care of cancer patients. I work beside her and learned that patients needed more love and compassion She is and will forever My hero.

  2. Thanks Craig! I appreciate you coming to our home the other day. My wife and I truly appreciate your friendship. We both have a ton of common and know our loved ones are closer than we think.

  3. A beautiful story, a beautiful mother, a beautiful message of hope and true love. To give of ones self without acknowledgement or the thought of reward is a true Christlike attribute!

  4. Amelia; nice to reconnect! Yes..it took some great courage to really put myself out there. I have everything to gain and nothing to lose when it comes to sharing my convert insights.

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