Filed in Tibetan

Practicing With Loss

Our sorrows provide us with the lessons we most need to learn.

Lama Surya Das

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The Arrow of Grief

Even if a person lives a century
            —or more—
he's parted
from his community of relatives,
he abandons his life
right here.

So, having heard the arahant,
subduing lamentation,
seeing the dead one whose time is done,
           [think,] "I can't fetch him back."
Just as one would put out
           a burning refuge
           with water,
so does the enlightened one—
           discerning,
           skillful,
           & wise—
blow away any arisen grief,
like the wind, a bit of cotton fluff.

Seeking your own happiness,
you should pull Out your own arrow:
           your own lamentation,
           longing,
                      & sorrow.

With arrow pulled out,
           independent,
attaining peace of awareness,
all grief transcended,
           griefless you are
                        unbound.

—Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. From the Salla Sutta, Sutta Nipata III.8

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robbenwainer@verizon.net's picture

In letting go and experiencing the loss of my relationship to my mother, I feel she must have felt betrayed, while I was the one who felt the most trauma. In seeing this I believe our first steps towards mental health will finally be without each other.

zeynep.aksel's picture

I think it is good to relativize your losses. However this article, for me, fails to bring much new knowledge to our coping skills with losses.

mikeflah's picture

be peaceful and lead to an auspicious re-birth. OM MANI PEDME HUM

mikeflah's picture

My dear, beautiful, lifelong friend, Gloria, died yesterday, May her journey through the bardo

dlee494's picture

To lytrammck,

May you continue to abide in calm and acceptance......

lytrammck's picture

I just got some scary health news
Today's dharma was a most welcome reminder and brought calm and acceptance. Thank You

inkybuddha's picture

gratitude for this deep wisdom, which came at just the right time for me. very best wishes

trishaenglish's picture

Thank you for this wonderful piece "Practicing with Loss".
It was gentle, postive and helpful.