Recently, one of the Monks from the Blue Lotus Temple lost their Father. He was a young man, younger than I am. His illness the result of unsafe drinking water in his village of Kanthale.
As sad as this was for a dear Monk to lose his Father, I noticed how the reaction and condolences of the Sangha was very different from what is typically found in American society. No one was saying they were sorry for his loss, or that they feel so bad for him and his Family. As Buddhists, everyone seems to understand impermanence and appears accepting of this as the nature of all things.
But this has made me wonder how any of us would handle a similar situation if it hit closer to home.
If your Wife, Husband, Father, Mother, Son or Daughter were to die today, how would you handle it? How would I handle it?
I am fully aware that we truly only have this moment. But I realized today that in times of extreme trauma, a moment can seem to last an eternity.
Am I ready for this? Are you ready for this?
Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta. All formations are impermanent. All formations are unsatisfactory. All phenomena, everything whatsoever, are not-self.
If you find these words to be depressing, then I can assure you that you are not ready.
I cannot keep you or control you anymore than you can hold onto me. This is the nature of all things.
It is with a strong determination, and a loving accepting heart that I hope to demonstrate my ability to understand this. For just as I lost my Mother and my Father, I have lost so many other loved ones over the years. More will follow, I am sure.
Needless to say, I too will be gone one day. Perhaps today!
But I am happy this moment. In this moment I am alive and joyful and grateful. I have so much love around me, and so much good that I am able to do for others. This moment is everything. How wonderful!
So how do you handle death? By living fully and joyfully in this moment. Love one another, be good to each other, use your health and strength to be of benefit to others in need. Share your smile, a gentle touch, a warm heartfelt hug. Help another living being today while you still have the chance. Right now you have a great blessing!
We handle death by being fully present in this life, this moment.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.