ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Coping with the Death of Loved Ones (in a Buddhist Perspective)

Updated on July 8, 2013

What is Death?

Death is a strange phenomenon. We experience death everyday, but we are quite incapable to grasp the concept. Or maybe even reluctant to accept the concept. Thousands of people leave this world everyday, millions per a year and many many billions since the beginning of the human kind. And this is without accumulating all the deaths of other lively creatures that make up this world.

Death is a natural occurrence in the world. Without it the world would have been in a much worse position right now. Imagine if nothing killed tyrants such as Adolf Hitler, Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein and what if they still lived? What if death didn't exist? What would happen as we age? Will there be no end for life? All these problems were answered by the nature itself by creating 'death'.

Of course death of tyrants, murderers, rapists, smugglers, drug lords etc may seem very fair and justice to us. But what about the passing away of someone we truly loved? That is something we are deeply in denial of. But the intelligent thing would be to understand the very nature of this entire universe-"constant change".

What Buddhism teaches us about Death...

Probably one of the most famous tales about death in Buddhist literature is the story of 'Kisa Gothami'.

Kisa Gothami lost her newborn baby and it was so much for her to bear. She would not even accept the fact that her child had passed away. She carried the lifeless child all around the city, weeping and out of mind, looking for someone to help bring her child back to life. So many people tried forcing the truth in to her, but all of this only made her even more sad and scared. In the end one man advised her to meet The Buddha and said he is the only person who can bring your child back to life. Kisa Gothami was desperate for any help she could get and ran off to meet The Buddha, still carrying her lifeless child on her shoulder. In a glance The Buddha understood that trying to convince her with mere words will not suffice to make this woman accept the truth. So instead, The Buddha addressed her and said that if she is able to bring a handful of mustard seeds from a family where no one has ever died, he is able to revive the child back to life. Enthralled by this information Kisa Gothami runs off to the closest house and asks for some mustard seeds if they have not lost any family member ever. They say that they have lost plenty of their family members and loved ones and hence can't help her. The same thing happens over and over and over at every house she goes seeking for help. About a few dozen houses later she realizes that every family has lost someone in their family and sometimes even more than one or two. This realization opens her mind. She realizes that death is a natural thing, common to everybody and exceptional to no one. She then accepts the death of her kid and buries him and goes back to The Buddha and enters the Bhikkuni ordain as a monk.

What this simple story tells us is that no matter how hard it is 'accepting' the fact that someone has truly left us from this world is probably the biggest step in coping up with the passing away of your loved ones.

Many people tend to be traumatized when a family member passes away. Well it is quite justifiable if the person expired prematurely through an unfortunate incident. If the passing away was foreseen for quite a period, one should be able to make up their mind and accept the fact that this person in fact is going to leave all of us. Denial of this fact only makes it worse for you and if any, dependents of you. Specially if you have kids, if one parent passes away, it is the duty of the other to be the anchor for the kids. You will have no choice but to play the part, and more.

Proper grievance...

To a loss of a loved one, it is quite normal for people to have a grieving period. In fact it may even be healthy to grieve, mourn and get it out of your system rather than hold it inside of you. Grievance should be something spiritual, something meaningful. According to Buddhist philosophy, it is customary to give alms to Buddhist monks and relatives of the deceased. Buddhist monks in return preach us Dhamma and grant good karma for the living and the dead-for the living to make a better living and for the dead to ease their journey on the other side. This is considered a great good deed is a valuable and sensible grievance activity. For other religions still alms is a valid and accepted proposal. Anything good done in memory of the deceased is accepted as good grievance procedure.

Getting back up...

No matter what life throws at you, you just have to get back up. Death is just as same. No exceptions. If you have already accepted the passing away, this should be relatively trouble-less. The dead is gone. You must live for the living. You will have a thousand and one obligations still left undone in this world. You have to straighten them. You have to accept the void created by the deceased. Sometimes you may have to fill it too. Friends and family support can be vital during this period. You should not be or feel isolated in the recovery process. Being isolated starts to play tricks with your mind, which are unreal.

Your mind is the biggest shield you have against any real or imagined, physiological or psychological threat. A stronger mind works miracles. A stronger mind is capable of accepting the truth of it, of everything, critical reasoning and clear and precise judgement. Everything you see and how you perceive them is a function of your mind. So a developed mind will perceive death as a mere 'change' in life no matter how traumatic it is. This does not mean that you are not allowed to weep for them, mourn for them and miss them. This simply says that all of that should be done with a clear sense, motive and a purpose.

Most inspirational words from the creative wizard, Steve Jobs.

The ultimate truth...

According to Buddhism the ultimate truth about this universe is that 'everything is in a continuous state of change'. Buddhist literature dictate that 'the only thing that doesn't change, is the fact the everything changes'.

It is a really simple truth actually. Everything that we see around ourselves is always in a continuous state of change. And life is not an exception to this law. We are given birth to this world with an expiration date stamped on our foreheads. That is the plain truth. Getting on with life with an understanding of this simple rule can make our lives that much easier.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • neversaydie profile image

      Christine Baughen 

      20 months ago from UK

      I found the buddhist perspective interesting and the Steve Jobs video really, really touching. I lost my husband just a year ago now and perhaps I have not accepted, or am unable to accept, that I must go on without him. The fact is, right now, I just don't want to.

    • newbizmau profile image

      Maurice Glaude 

      2 years ago from Mobile, AL

      Creating a Crystal grid for a lost loved one I've found is one of the most comforting and healing things I've ever done for myself. It opens and allows a safe space for your thoughts and feelings. There is a big difference in creating a grid like this than those times when you are creating them for other intentions because usually when dealing with a loss we are very emotionally charged. The purpose of creating this type of grid is suppose to be healing, clearing and freeing so first clearing the energy in the room can be a good start. You can do this quickly by smudging the room with white sage or incense.

    • Nimesh De Silva profile imageAUTHOR

      Nimesh De Silva 

      5 years ago

      I know it is never easy. A strong mind is the key.

      Thanks for the comment.

    • Nimesh De Silva profile imageAUTHOR

      Nimesh De Silva 

      5 years ago

      Thanks a lot for the supportive comments. I'm honored if any information I have provided came of use.

    • vandynegl profile image


      5 years ago from Ohio Valley

      Very interesting and useful! I would like to look into the Buddhist perspective, since I find other perspectives a little more difficult. I have been working toward "accepting" things I cannot change, but having the courage and strength to change the things I can! It IS easier said than done, but worth working toward!

      Thanks for writing!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I have always appreciated the buddhist perspective on death and dying. Nevertheless, quite often it is easier said than done to come to that acceptance, and my mission is to help those who are going through that crucial time before acceptance. I loved your video - it is very inspirational, and very true. Good work here, and I hope you will write many more Hubs!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)