They felt lonely and helpless because they thought that they were parentless and shelterless. Their constant sadness finally caused them to recover their right minds. They realized that the medicine had a good color, smell and taste. They took it and were completely cured of the poison.
The Buddha explains his parable of the wise physician in Chapter Sixteen of the Lotus Sūtra. In the story, the physician’s children take poison by mistake. Some refuse the antidote provided by their father until he leaves home and sends word back that he has died. The children realized that they had to accept what their father had left for them, rather than continuing to refuse his cure. In the Lotus Sūtra the Buddha stops adapting to our minds and brings us into his mind. It is only when we use our suffering to increase our determination to reach enlightenment, rather than as an indicator of our shortcomings, can we recover our right minds and realize what the Buddha teaches.
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