My aunt passed away unexpectedly last Saturday. Feels like yesterday when I was told my 28 year old brother found her in her room behind the door…long story short, I find this is the perfect time to really know The Dharma personally. I haven’t meditated in awhile cause I know I’d start back crying. I started again with looking at the basics of the noble truths. Rebirth is really sticking in my head. The close I can think of is insight meditation. I’ve been working on lam rims (I know). I found meditating by subject helps.
Anyway, when you first had your life experience was it a eureka that propelled you more into The Dharma? I’m at loss at specific questions. I’m more so trying to learn from this grieving. At least get me at a state of rest before we sprinkle my aunt’s ashes on her mothers grave next week.
Grief, is a fact of life. Loosing loved ones is a fact of life. The dhamma teaches about skilfully managing this life event.
We can turn to various coping mechanisms to help ourselves, including alcohol, denial, avoiding the situation etc. This only suppresses the grief ‘underground’. It will possibly manifest again at another inconvenient time (‘bereavement reaction’ or ‘atypical grief’). It is better to face this loss and let it resolve itself- to a degree. Meditation can be used in an unskilled way, to suppress grief, as well. Lathering on a powerful metta or samadhi might not be helpful, and may be more helpful in small ‘doses’. Looking at and discovering one’s attachment is a good thing to do. Knowing that this is what is causing suffering, is a useful reminder of the Four Noble Truths. Letting go of that attachment using a method for example from the MN20 or other method which is effective for you personally, is the way forward. It is helpful to generate motivation (samvega) about one’s mortality and drive one’s own practice. Looking after others, generosity in terms of time, money, acts are all practical opportunities of practice.
I think watching dhamma talk (e.g. by Ajahn Brahm, he is a good speaker YouTube) about loss can help you pass the time and find a more positive mindset.
One thing to watch out for is rumination. Rumination (i.e. thinking again and again about something, usually something depressing) is a spiral trap of sadness. The key to get out of it is to be mindful - if you catch yourself ruminating, then stop.
May your dear Aunt be well and happy and liberated! May you be supported and loved during this transition. Keep talking to her and sending her love she is out of sight but you are still connected - its OK ALL IS WELL - cry freely and openly and keep the love flowing as well. you are a sensitive and loving being - a field of merit for the world! May the Buddha of limitless compassion hold you close - fully awaken in your heart!
Sorry to hear about your suffering @unveiledartist. Your Aunt is no longer suffering, she is on the next part of her journey.
If you are wanting to use this as a learning opportunity, you can now look at the pain/grief that you are feeling. While doing so remember to treat yourself compassionately. We are just earthlings, with conditions and emotions, trying to do the best we can to move beyond this wheel of Samsara.
So what is it that causes this pain? - even when your aunt no longer feels pain? Now is such a good opportunity to investigate this for yourself. To move beyond ‘hearing’ the Dhamma, and to know it. There is no time limit on progress, such as the scattering of your aunts ashes… also no reason to worry about whether you cry or how you appear to others. Be kind to yourself, and use the opportunities to explore the Dhamma as they appear.
Sorry. Let me clarify. I use insight meditation described in Anguttara Nikaya sutta. Serenity and insight titles in In The Buddha’s Words. Dont want to throw people off. Amost got banned for using the wrong words. Anyway, thank you guys. Will reply invidually a bit later.
My deepest condolences, I wish you and your family much ease and peace.
With respect to your enquiry:
Which sutta in the Anguttara Nikaya? The Anguttara Nikaya is a collection of well over 1000 suttas, https://suttacentral.net/an.
As an aside:
That will never happen here. Pretty much the only word choices the moderators are concerned about on D&D are aggressive, antagonistic, attacking words, which seems an entirely different kettle of fish.
Its AN 2 iii. (Its In The Buddha’s Words on Serenity and Insight.) Give me a sec
Is it AN 2.31 (A Share in Clear Knowing)?
“These two qualities have a share in clear knowing. Which two? Tranquillity (samatha) & insight (vipassana).
“When tranquillity is developed, what purpose does it serve? The mind is developed. And when the mind is developed, what purpose does it serve? Passion is abandoned.
“When insight is developed, what purpose does it serve? Discernment is developed. And when discernment is developed, what purpose does it serve? Ignorance is abandoned.
“Defiled by passion, the mind is not released. Defiled by ignorance, discernment does not develop. Thus from the fading of passion is there awareness-release. From the fading of ignorance is there discernment-release.”
(references can get a bit confusing at times because there are two completely different numbering systems in play)
Vipassana, is that a Mahayana teaching? I came across it at a Tibetan temple which is the closest by me.
Its (1) Serenity and Insight (AN 2. iii, 10) (AN 2.31)
I don’t know enough about Mahayana traditions to say it’s not a Mahayana teaching, but what I am more confident about suggesting is that “vipassanā” is a Pali word and as indicated by the linked dictionary definition, as well as a word search can be found in the EBTs - that is to say it certainly appears to be something the historical Buddha taught.
A much more tricky question that seems to cause a bunch of folk a great deal of angst, is what exactly were the nature of those teachings, eg. a specific, isolated practice, or something that is inseparably intertwined with the development of samatha.
I don’t have the skill set make any comments about that, beyond saying that from just my cursory examination of the texts it seems to me that calming the mind and the development of wisdom are presented as going very much hand in hand.
Ajahn Brahm, mentioned above, to my tastes offers a very compelling explanation of meditation practice firmly rooted in the EBT in, for example, Mindfulness, Bliss & Beyond the beginning four chapters of which can be found here.
Heartfelt condolences for your loss, @unveiledartist.
The ending of a life may be in accord with the Dhamma, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to cope with loss of a loved one.
One thing that’s very helpful in addition to what has already been said is to share the merit of your practice and your life with her as well as (if possible) making offerings in her honor. Here in Burma people make offerings to sangha every year at the anniversary of a death, as well as one week, two weeks, and a month after. It is a beautiful and essential part of the grieving process.
Thats beautiful. I used to do this on New and Full moons when I took the precepts on Upasana one of the closest monasteries. I fell out of habit and now I havent meditated in so long. I’m actually doing kinda well so far. I honestly think the more I adopt rebirth as I study and practice, the less intense everything is. Breathe of fresh air.
We received a white, red, or pink flowers for our ancestors depending if they are still alive, ill, or have already passed away. If you have heard of that, is that something only given by the abbot at a temple or is that an offering for blessings of our loved ones?
Developing a Pair of Skills
- Serenity and Insight
Two things, Oh monks, partake of true knowledge. What two? Serenity and insight.
When serenity is developed, what benefit does one experience? The mind is developed. When the mind is developed, what benefit does one experience? All lust is abandoned.
When insight is developed, what benefit does one experience? Wisdom is developed. When wisdom is developed, what benefit does one experience? All ignorance is abandoned.
A mind defiled by lust is not liberated; and wisdom defiled by ignorance is not developed. Thus, monks, through the fading away of lust there is liberation of the mind; and thought the fading away of ignorance there is liberation by wisdom.
AN 2; iii, 10; 161
Thank you. It looks like he has a list of good talks. I’ll give them a look when I get off work.
The sutta is terse. How do you practice serenity & insight?
By the way, development of serenity & insight are usually called samadhi & vipassana.
I usually do guided meditations on topics such as rebirth and impermanence. I don’t have a teacher so my practices are study, meditation, and Dharma talks. I’m attending events, talks, and chants at the temple. I will be going to a retreat at the Theravada monastery once I get a ride.
The chapter Mastering the Mind is good. The insights I use is when The Buddha goes through guided meditation on the impermanence of The Body, minute to minute awareness of action, The Four Establishments of Mindfulness. It’s hard to find the practice among the theology. Takes time.
yes they also have teachings in tibetan buddhism about vipashyana. vipashyana is the sanskrit word for vippassana - which is a pali word.
Accesstoinsight has the Four foundations of Mindfulness: Ctrl-F for Satipatthana samyutta here - https://www.accesstoinsight.org/ati/tipitaka/sn/index.html