This coming Thursday we will be holding our individual and collective grief together. One of my teachers, Robert Gonzales told me once that half of life is grieving. HALF! That’s a lot and we often don’t take the time to let ourselves grieve about our individual losses nor do we take the time of space to get together to share our collective grief about the losses in the world. Buddhist teacher Stephen Levine says that the only temples for grieving are movie theaters.
This Thursday we will create a temple for our grieving. We will read together about the nature of grief and then we will take some time for people to be able to sit with their grief and to light a candle as they share their grieving out loud or silently.
There is a story about a young mother named Krisha Gotami, who lived at the time of the Buddha. This is her beautiful story about how the Buddha helped her be with her grief by listening to the sufferings of others.
"Krisha Gotami’s only child, a baby, became sick and died. Grief stricken, she held the tiny, lifeless body close to her heart and wandered weeping through the streets, asking everyone she met if they could help her. Someone told her that the only person who could help her was the Buddha, who was giving teaching outside the city.
"Krisha went to the forest grove where the Buddha was preaching. Reverently, she presented the lifeless body to him. and, with tears in her eyes, asked if he could bring her baby back to life.
"After contemplating her request for some moments, the Buddha consented, but with a condition: she would need to bring him a single mustard seed from a household that had never been visited by death before he would grant her request.
"Ecstatic, Krisha went to the city. She knocked on the door of every single house, rich or poor. People answered, ‘My grandfather died last year,’ ‘My son died just last month,’ ‘My husband died ten years ago,’ and ‘My cousin was killed when he was a child.’
"Krisha Gotami went through the entire city looking for that mustard seed, but she could not find a single household that had not been visited by death. Finally, she understood what the Buddha was trying to tell her. She brought her baby to the cremation grounds and gazed up the tiny body for the last time. After the cremation, she joined the disciples of the Buddha. It is said that she became enlightened before her own death many years later." (From the book, Grieving Mindfully by Sameet M. Kumar pg. 10)
Looking forward to being with our losses together and making space for them to be whatever form they take.
Wednesdays, September 11 – November 20, 2013. Fearless Compassion: Companioning Others in Aging, Illness, Dying and Grief
Sunday, September 15, 2013. Coming Home to Ourselves: A Day of Practice
Mondays, September 16 – November 18, 2013. Smiling like a Buddha: A Ten-Session Mindfulness Meditation Class
Saturday, September 28, 2013. Mindful Families Feast.
Friday, October 4 – Sunday, October 6, 2013. Settling Into Silence: Still Water Practice Retreat