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 How to Face the Loss of a Loved One


       Objects A and B, connected by a rope, demonstrate a simple principle: if B isn't secured, A's fall will drag it down too. But if B is anchored, it can support A, preventing its fall and eventually rescuing it.

       This imagery mirrors the emotional bonds between people. In an intimate relationship—be it between mother and son, or spouses—the death of one can plunge the other into profound grief, as if both are plummeting together. Yet the demise of the bereaved does nothing to aid the departed; it's akin to hurling stones at someone trapped in a well. On the contrary, if the living can maintain composure, it may actually uplift the one who's passed. This is exemplified by the sage Zhuangzi, who celebrated his wife's life through music rather than succumbing to despair.

       Nonetheless, we're not all sages. The sting of loss is natural, leaving us heartbroken. But if we keep the presence of Amitabha Buddha in our hearts, our grief won't overwhelm us. Chanting "Namo Amitabha" can transform grief into a serene acceptance, a sign that we've aided our loved one's journey to the Pure Land. Conversely, lingering in sorrow without seeking solace does no service to the departed, trapping both in a cycle of suffering. Therefore, indulging in prolonged mourning is not only unwise but may also burden the deceased with our afflictions. To truly honor their memory, we must embrace life and let go of our sorrow.

       It may sound harsh, but it's crucial to acknowledge that in the wake of losing someone dear, excessive grief should be avoided. Instead, we should aim to smile peacefully and cherish the blessings that the departed has left behind. This approach reflects true love and responsibility, achievable with Amitabha Buddha in our hearts.

       Buddhism addresses the critical issue of life and death, with Amitabha as the guiding Buddha who helps us transcend this cycle. Regular recitation of "Namo Amitabha Buddha" prepares us to face death with composure, much like a seasoned firefighter remains calm during an alarm. If, as reciters of Amitabha's name, we fall into despair at a loved one's passing, it calls into question the sincerity and effectiveness of our practice. Our reactions to such moments test the strength of our faith. We must recite with conviction, embedding this practice into our daily lives, for the true measure of our belief and our dedication to recitation is revealed in the face of death.

       To regard death as a definitive end is a misconception; fools cling to this idea, often displaying their grief dramatically. Sages, however, look upon such displays with compassion and sadness. When confronted with death, we are not bound to mourn. A peaceful smile is also an option—a smile that is shared with the departed, particularly with those who held a special place in our lives.

(English Translated by the Pure Land School Translation Team;
edited by Fojin)



Master Huijing

Master Huijing

Master Jingzong

Master Jingzong

Guiding Principles

Faith in, and acceptance of, Amitabha’s deliverance
Single-minded recitation of Amitabha’s name
Aspiration to rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land
Comprehensive deliverance of all sentient beings