If one answers, Queen My of Sakya was Buddha’s mother, one denies the reality. If one denies that Queen My of Sakya was Buddha’s mother, one is ignorant of the reality. The only answer to the query, ‘Who was Buddha’s mother?’ is “Not so!”
This question is wrong and cannot be answered unless it is restated as, ‘Why did Buddha teach that the universe is essentially empty or that not a thing exists?’ At first this sounds like mental mashed potatoes, when in fact, as quantum physicists have discovered, it is the pulse of understanding our universe. At Madison Square Garden in New York City, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama opened one of his series of famous addresses before an audience of thousands with the comment – paraphrased here – “…All of you are expecting something from me, when essentially I have nothing to give!”
Buddha taught that the universe was void of ‘selfness’ or ‘thingness’ yet is brimming over with a dynamic relationship called The Great Chain of Causation. Nothing and no one exists independently. Our world, Buddha and his mother included, co-originates its existence; each event being simultaneously a cause and a result. Ecologists have evolved a deep understanding that a flower is not only a flower, it is also a part of every other flower’s field of existence. If one animal or insect becomes extinct, billions of species are affected.
To say that Buddha, as an independent entity never existed is not enough. It is a true statement (ludicrous as it sounds), but it is incomplete. We must also acknowledge that his mother was the infinite universe, some would say “creation” or “God.” In this context, the Buddhist or Taoist sense, we speak of the Infinite Creator or God in the impersonal sense.
To understand the full import of existence as a seeming paradox for Buddha and his mother, is to understand that the infinite universe, The Infinite Creator, God, beats within every cell of our bodies and every particle-wave of quantum relationship. In the Great Chain of Causation we are simultaneously infinite and eternal, and finite and mortal!
The ancient mystical ‘Kabala’ of the Hebrews tells us that nothing happens outside of the body of God. The Vedic scriptures of the Hindus tell us that God is one without a second. Jesus tells us that the way to the Father is through knowing Christ; a consciousness of wholeness.
The question, ‘Who was Buddha’s mother?’ is echoed in such Buddhist-speak questions as ‘Who were your parents before you were born?’ and ‘What is your true face?’
The Buddhist perception of the universe as being godless and soulless has been widely and deeply misunderstood. In fact, Buddhism perceives a living god in its broadest most dynamic and creative sense. If one answers, Queen My of Sakya was Buddha’s mother, one denies the Buddhist reality of no independent self, but a self that is part of a greater whole. If one denies that Queen My of Sakya was Buddha’s mother, one is ignorant of the reality that the self exists in the whole and the whole exists in the self, or as Buddha taught, “The one in the many, the many in the one. The only answer to the query, ‘Who was Buddha’s mother?’ is “Not so!”