Death and Separation

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
emma.james
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Death and Separation

Postby emma.james » Sun Mar 09, 2014 10:13 pm

How do you all feel about separation at death from your loved ones? :cry: I am so sad and frightened for the deaths that I have to face in the future ( my own and my relatives)..... It is easy to think about someone else's funeral etc, but when it happens to you, it is hard to deal with, specially mentally. I don't know how I will deal with the fact that the person that I loved/a close family friend is no longer with me, but when I watch the birthday party clips, photographs etc..... hmm...I really don't know how I would tackle the mental sadness/distress.

santa100
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Re: Death and Separation

Postby santa100 » Sun Mar 09, 2014 10:47 pm

By putting it in the right perspective (SN 15.3) and thus making the best effort to cultivate the Dhamma..

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cooran
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Re: Death and Separation

Postby cooran » Sun Mar 09, 2014 10:50 pm

All these articles may be of interest:

http://www.urbandharma.org/kusala/dad.html

With metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Kusala
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Re: Death and Separation

Postby Kusala » Mon Mar 10, 2014 2:38 am

emma.james wrote:How do you all feel about separation at death from your loved ones? :cry: I am so sad and frightened for the deaths that I have to face in the future ( my own and my relatives)..... It is easy to think about someone else's funeral etc, but when it happens to you, it is hard to deal with, specially mentally. I don't know how I will deal with the fact that the person that I loved/a close family friend is no longer with me, but when I watch the birthday party clips, photographs etc..... hmm...I really don't know how I would tackle the mental sadness/distress.


The Five Daily Recollections -----> http://jonathanfoust.com/wordpress/the- ... llections/
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Homage to the Buddha
Thus indeed, is that Blessed One: He is the Holy One, fully enlightened, endowed with clear vision and virtuous conduct, sublime, the Knower of the worlds, the incomparable leader of men to be tamed, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.

Homage to the Teachings
The Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded; to be seen here and now; not delayed in
time; inviting one to come and see; onward leading (to Nibbana); to be known by the wise, each for himself.

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seeker242
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Re: Death and Separation

Postby seeker242 » Mon Mar 10, 2014 12:26 pm

emma.james wrote:How do you all feel about separation at death from your loved ones? :cry: I am so sad and frightened for the deaths that I have to face in the future ( my own and my relatives)..... It is easy to think about someone else's funeral etc, but when it happens to you, it is hard to deal with, specially mentally. I don't know how I will deal with the fact that the person that I loved/a close family friend is no longer with me, but when I watch the birthday party clips, photographs etc..... hmm...I really don't know how I would tackle the mental sadness/distress.


By realizing that it's inevitable and accepting it beforehand, so that when it does happen, it's not really a problem. Because you already knew it was going to happen and you have already accepted the fact that it was going to happen. But then how do you accept it? I think just by doing dharma practice. Practicing like the Buddha said to practice. Practicing letting go.

:anjali:

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Re: Death and Separation

Postby Stuart » Mon Mar 10, 2014 2:26 pm

Both of my parents and the 'love of my life' have all died. To tell you the truth, it's all been incredibly freeing. Before they died, I always feared that the 'worst would happen'. Now that the worst actually has happened, what is there to worry about?

Don't get me wrong, there was a fair amount of grief, but that passed and the wounds healed over. It was certainly much different than I imagined it would be - especially that last one.

I guess I've still got my own (next) death to go, but even that seems somehow trivial, knowing that all this day-to-day strife still 'trundles on' regardless of these minor punctuations that we make so much of. Maybe there's another strong attachment for me lurking just around the corner which will grab hold of the fear and make it grow again - who knows?? We'll see how it all pans out in time, but for now, (when the worst has already happened) all there is to do is to be peaceful and gentle towards all those who are still waiting for the 'worst thing that could possibly happen', to actually happen.

:heart:

emma.james
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Re: Death and Separation

Postby emma.james » Mon Mar 10, 2014 6:28 pm

Stuart wrote:Both of my parents and the 'love of my life' have all died. To tell you the truth, it's all been incredibly freeing. Before they died, I always feared that the 'worst would happen'. Now that the worst actually has happened, what is there to worry about?

Don't get me wrong, there was a fair amount of grief, but that passed and the wounds healed over. It was certainly much different than I imagined it would be - especially that last one.

I guess I've still got my own (next) death to go, but even that seems somehow trivial, knowing that all this day-to-day strife still 'trundles on' regardless of these minor punctuations that we make so much of. Maybe there's another strong attachment for me lurking just around the corner which will grab hold of the fear and make it grow again - who knows?? We'll see how it all pans out in time, but for now, (when the worst has already happened) all there is to do is to be peaceful and gentle towards all those who are still waiting for the 'worst thing that could possibly happen', to actually happen.

:heart:


Many thanks for the kind comment; how do you feel when you see birthday party clips, photographs etc? Do you feel sad?

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JeffR
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Re: Death and Separation

Postby JeffR » Tue Mar 11, 2014 4:03 am

emma.james wrote: how do you feel when you see birthday party clips, photographs etc? Do you feel sad?


This year is the 25th year since I lost both my Dad and my younger brother. I enjoy viewing photographs of/with them and talking about them, it is quite pleasant. I had 3+ years to prepare for my Dad's death (cancer), my brother's was a sudden unexpected shock. Both were sad, difficult, and filled with grief. I wasn't practicing at the time so can't say if it would have lessened the sadness, grief, shock, etc. I can say with confidence that if they were the same had I been practicing, my suffering from the sadness, grief, shock, etc. would have been less.

-Jeff

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Re: Death and Separation

Postby SarathW » Tue Mar 11, 2014 4:29 am

Hi Emma
I know how you feel. I have lost many people very close to me. This include my parents my younger brother and relatives and many more.
It is easier to deal with this, If you believe in rebirth and Kamma.
Just be aware of your death, your kamma and rebirth, so things will be in place itself.
:console:

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Re: Death and Separation

Postby Stuart » Tue Mar 11, 2014 7:46 am

emma.james wrote:Many thanks for the kind comment; how do you feel when you see birthday party clips, photographs etc? Do you feel sad?

Hi Emma. The way it has worked for me is that initially (during the period of grief), there is nothing positive that I could recollected at all. Maybe that is in fact the definition of grief? :shrug: So every memory that came up during that period was sad and hurtful . Then one day I noticed just one thought where instead of it being about the pain and suffering (or my own painful self indulgence), the thought was a happy joyful one - in the case of my partner it was recollecting a good conversation that I had with my loved one, and I smiled for the first time since their death. This was a wedge into the healing process. From that one moment of joy, more and more followed on it's footsteps, recollecting the teachings that I had got from that person, both during their lives and as a result of their bodily demise and death. I found myself starting to analyse the wonderful experience that was their life (actually, it's not 'their life', but 'my relationship with their life'), with reference to anicca, dukkha and anatta. As with all relationships, there were good times and bad times, but the recollection of their lives (even the very tough times that we had had together) changed in quality from the purely negative to the purely positive as these recollections became my teacher. No regrets, because I learned something from the relationships, and even though they are gone, the recollections mean that I'm still learning from them now.

Now, when I see party clips, photos etc., they spark a flood of memories, but the quality of the memories is all positive. It's an amazing transformation.

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Re: Death and Separation

Postby PadmaPhala » Sat Mar 15, 2014 1:24 am

maitri is stronger than death; you can meet prior friends, wife, family in new lives and recognize them as such.

...but this is tricky (craving, and if not recognized as such can lead to confusion, fear of vulnerabilty, even anger due to this confusion).

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Re: Death and Separation

Postby suwapan » Wed Apr 09, 2014 1:42 pm

emma.james wrote:How do you all feel about separation at death from your loved ones? :cry: I am so sad and frightened for the deaths that I have to face in the future ( my own and my relatives)..... It is easy to think about someone else's funeral etc, but when it happens to you, it is hard to deal with, specially mentally. I don't know how I will deal with the fact that the person that I loved/a close family friend is no longer with me, but when I watch the birthday party clips, photographs etc..... hmm...I really don't know how I would tackle the mental sadness/distress.


Here's a story from a collection of 500 tales from the Suttanta Pitaka, published by Buddhist Council Publishing, Thailand.
I'll try to translate and summarise from the Thai text:

In a village in Parasi City,the Bodhisatta was born as a bramin living with a happy family.

There were six members in the family. There were the Bodhisatta, his wife, his son, his daughter-in-law, his daughter and a servant. They lived very happily and serenely. The Bodhisatta consistently taught everyone to behave wholesomely, to follow the five precepts, to donate when available and able, and to be mindful at all time. These was because their good healths and their status were not permanent, and, thus, they should not cling to them. He told them to be mindful against unwholesome deeds and to see deaths as a normal becoming. Therefore, they sholuld not be careless day and night, and maintain perseverance in doing good deeds and to remain within the precepts.

One day, the Bodhisatta and his son went farming. His son began clearing the perimeter and created a bonfire with dried leaves. The smoke seeped into a termite mound where a snake was hiding. Thinking danger was closed by, the snake came out and bit the son who eventually died.

When the Bodhisatta saw his son fell and rushed over. Knowing it was too late to save his son, he carried his son and placed the body under a tree. He covered the body with a cloth and continued to finish his farming chores without feeling any sadness. While farming, he reminded hiself that "all conditioned things are not constant, when there's birth, there's death, and all things will eventually cease." When the neighbours came by, the Bodhisatta asked them to inform his wife so she can make necessary preparations.

When the wife knew, she informed the rest of the family and instructed them to dress in white, arrange the flowers and make dinner. All the while, none of the family displayed any sadness.
After dinner, they all raised the son's body onto the funeral pyre and cremated the body.

A Deva from heaven saw what was happening and descended to earth.
"What are you doing?", asked the Deva.
"I'm cremating my son" replied the Bodhisatta.
"Your son, looks like you're grilling some meat. Don't you love your son?" exclaimed the Deva.
"He was a son that we all loved" the Bodhisatta said.
"Then why aren't you crying?" the Deva continued.
"Our son is already dead. Like a snake shredding its skin, his body has become useless. To be creamated, therefore, we don't feel any sadness about him. He has already gone to where he should be" explained the Bodhisatta.

The Deva turned to the mother and asked who she was.
"I'm his mother" she said, "He was the one I truly loved and nurtured with my milk until he was grown up."
"As a mother, you should have a softer spot than a father. Why aren't you sad?"
"Yes, I do. But when he came into this world, I didn't invite him. He came on his own. When he left this world, I didn't give permission. He came and he left. His body didn't feel sad for his relatives but remained behind to be cremated. Therefore, I don't feel any sadness about him. He has already gone to where he should be" explained the mother.

The Deva then turned to the daughter and asked who she was.
"I'm his younger sister" she said.
"Brother and sister are often very closed, Why aren't you crying?"
"If I cried, it would be for no purpose. Nothing would improve. I would dehydrate and become skinny from crying and sorrow, causing worries among my relatives and friends. Therefore, I don't feel any sadness about him. He has already gone to where he should be." explained the daughter.

"And you, what is the dead man to you?" asked the Deva while looking at the daughter-in-law.
"I'm his wife" she said.
"Your husband is dead and you don't even cry?" exclaimed the Deva.
"What is the point of sorrow and sadness when things cannot be returned to normal. It would be like a child crying for the stars in the sky. His body is burning, the relatives are not sad. He has already gone to where he should be." explained the daughter-in-law.

"And you, you're not a relative are you?' The Deva directed the question to the servant.
"I'm not a relative but I'm like a relative. He was my boss" she said.
"Then I assume he was a terrible boss to you" the Deva went on.
"Oh no! He was kind, helpful and tolerant. He was like a son to me."
"Then how come you didn't shed a tear?" the Deva persisted.
" His death is like a broken pot. It cannot be put back together. My boss' body is burning, the relatives are not sad. He has already gone to where he should be." explained the servant.

After having heard everyone,the Deva was overwhelmed with admiration. He said,

"Your mindfulness towards death is impressive. They deserve my honouring and faithful trust. From now on, you will no longer work hard. I will place treasures inside your house, for you who have conducted youselves within the precepts and performing habitual donation. May you all live without being careless or heedless."

End of story.

I hope this story from the Suttanta Pitaka helps. :smile:

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TheNoBSBuddhist
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Re: Death and Separation

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Wed Apr 09, 2014 2:29 pm

I sat with my father all night and witnessed him slowly dying.
This was 4 years ago I think.
To be honest, it felt like sitting next to someone going off to sleep.
I miss him, but, dare I say it, I did not feel an overwhelming sense of sadness, loss or bereavement.
His life was exactly a mirror of old age, sickness and death.
The Buddha was propelled into discovering relief from this 'Suffering' and eventually brought us the 4 Noble truths incorporating the 8Fold path.

Absorbing these teachings alone, understanding them, accepting them and incorporating them into your life as the essence of your existence, is like the first day of glorious spring, a breath of fresh air, a liberating, exhilarating feeling!

Ponder these two facts:
The moment we give birth to our children, we condemn them to an eventual death.
Every breath we breathe in, and then out, is one less, towards our last one.

Become familiar with death. Befriend it.
I always joke that Mara and I are chess companions; we meet every day in the park, and engage in silent competition.... and one day, inevitably, he will "checkmate" me with no possibility of a re-match.
It's inevitable, I can't escape it; I can't write him a text saying "sorry, no can meet today for final match, giving you a rain-check"

I cosy-up with death every day.
That way, it can never creep up on me unexpectedly, or in a furtive fashion.
we're mates.
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



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Pay attention, simplify, and (Meditation instruction in a nutshell) "Mind - the Gap."
‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....


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