Buddhist suttas about the premature death of a young person

Can anyone give references to buddhist suttas that contain stories of, or give dhamma teachings about how to react to and contemplate, the premature death of a young person.

A young friend has died.
I want to find Buddhist suttas to share with Buddhist friends. For friends, they might appreciate suttas directed at lay people that both compassionately console, and also show how to see the death of friends in the wise light of buddhist teachings.

For myself, I want to find Buddhist suttas that can help me in my spiritual practice and help me deeply internalise the lesson that death does not wait until we are ready.

I know the story of Kisa Gotami.


Most famous is probably Piyajataka Sutta:

It’s not clear how old the person was in this sutta, but it is about a son:

And this very famous sutta found in the Petavatthu and also I believe a Jataka:

As well there is the story of Maṭṭakuṇḍalī found in Vv and Pv as well as DhpA. It’s a good one on the pointlessness of grief (if one is at the point at which that kind of teaching might be useful)


I found some of these using the “death” tag on SuttaFriends:

And for a general sutta study guide, you may find this helpful:


You might want to skim, or better yet mindfully read, Mindfully Facing Disease and Death by Venerable Anālayo. It has a bunch of suttas and commentary by Anālayo.

Click here for a free PDF version of the book: https://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg.de/pdf/5-personen/analayo/mindfullyfacingdiseasedeath.pdf


“Sir, this is not my only incredible and amazing quality; there is another. I had an only son called Nanda who I loved dearly. The rulers forcibly abducted him on some pretext and had him executed. But I can’t recall getting upset when my boy was under arrest or being arrested, imprisoned or being put in prison, killed or being killed.” - AN 7.53

“One whose path you do not know, not whence they came nor where they went; though they came from who knows where, you mourn that being, crying, ‘Oh my son!’

But one whose path you do know, whence they came or where they went; that one you do not lament—such is the nature of living creatures.

Unasked he came, he left without leave. He must have come from somewhere, and stayed who knows how many days. He left from here by one road, he will go from there by another.

Departing with the form of a human, he will go on transmigrating. As he came, so he went: why cry over that?”

“Oh! For you have plucked the arrow from me, so hard to see, stuck in the heart. You’ve swept away the grief for my son, in which I once was mired.

Today I’ve plucked the arrow, I’m hungerless, extinguished. I go for refuge to that sage, the Buddha, to his teaching, and to the Sangha.”

That is how Paṭācārā, who had a following of five hundred, declared her enlightenment.
-Thig 6.1

Before, when your children passed away, you would expose them to be eaten. All day and all night you’d be racked with despair.

Today, brahmin lady, you have exposed seven children in all to be eaten; Vāseṭṭhī, what is the reason why you’re not so filled with despair?”

“Many hundreds of sons, hundreds of family circles, both mine and yours, brahmin, have been eaten in the past.

Having known the escape from rebirth and death I neither grieve nor lament, nor do I despair.”
-Thig 13.4

And of course SN 55.54

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