Grief and suttas

Are there specific sutras regarding grief for a loved one? Thanks


"Now this, monks, is the noble truth of stress:[1] Birth is stressful, aging is stressful, death is stressful; sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair are stressful; association with the unbeloved is stressful, separation from the loved is stressful, not getting what is wanted is stressful. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are stressful. SN 56.11

The five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Buddhists are lucky because we are exposed to the reality of life: sickness, old age, and death. The faster we can accept this reality of life, the faster we can skip the first 4 stages of grief and reach acceptance.

The cause of grief is our desire to have our loved ones always be with us and in good health. It is the basic teaching of Buddhism that such thing is impossible. To be born means to experience sickness, death, and old age.


AN 5.50 for example, where king Munda grieves for his queen Bhadda and gets advice from Ven Narada.


SN 47.13 comes to mind, in which the Buddha teaches Ananda, who is grieving the death of Sariputta.

Ud 8.8 is another, in which the lay disciple Visakha, whose grandchild has died, is taught by the Buddha. The wording of this one might be uncomfortable for someone who hasn’t yet contemplated the attachment aspect of love, and how it necessarily includes dukkha.


The story of Kisagotami might be the most well-known account of overcoming grief. Her back story, from the commentary to the Therigatha, is here.

Her Therigatha verses are here.

And a short sutta at SN 5.3.


I’m not sure if I’m allowed to make a post without a sutta, but this reading helped me just last night.

It concerns how to deal with the experiences we have, as conditioned beings, according to the extent that we have abandoned the fetters. It is from a Dhamma talk by Ajahn Sumedho given in 2004, called “Don’t make a problem about yourself” concerning mindfulness and wisdom. And recognising the feelings of grief for what they are, and seeing these clearly as something that is bought about by conditions. Thus making it less personal, thus having distance between the experience of grief in our bodies and minds, and the understanding that this is what grief is for conditioned beings…

Over time, then it becomes easier/ less personal and suffering diminishes.

This helped me a great deal in that rather than trying to suppress or convert the grief to something else, it allowed a natural, gentle way to apply the Dhamma to oneself during this time. I even let in some compassion to myself for still being subject to these conditions as one of the billions of beings suffering in Samsara.

The book where this is published is call: Don’t take your life personally, by Ajahn Sumedho, Buddhist Publishing Group, 2010.

with metta :slightly_smiling_face:


Thank you. I’m up and down and havent meditated in a while. I’ll chew on this.


In the story, does it mean The Dharma is what eased the king’s pain?

Funny, my aunt too is going to be cremated. I assume that doing that with the queen was his way of finding acceptence. Good sutta.



So it seems:

“Surely, Bhante, it is the extraction of the dart of sorrow! Surely, it is the extraction of the dart of sorrow! For having heard this exposition of the Dhamma, I have abandoned the dart of sorrow.”

Wrong view about life and death causes dukkha, right view can help ease the pain.

May your aunt pass on to a good place. :heart: