If you understand the truth about life, when someone you love passes away, you will not be sad. You will see life as an object that breaks. Happiness or suffering in our mind comes from our own fabrication. They did not come from death, or from the anyone’s passing. Therefore, our suffering arises from our mind fabricating these thoughts.
If we think about it, we can make a comparison. For example, if our mother or father dies, we suffer a bit. However, if our child dies, our suffering is unbearable. Why so? Because we often think that our parents are older than us, and they should die before we do. However, for our children, we would not even dare to imagine that they could die before us. We become very scared. As a reason, when our parents die, we can cope with it more easily. But for our children, we wouldn’t imagine that our children could die before us. We wouldn’t dare to even imagine it, as we fear it may curse them. So, if our child dies before us, our mind cannot handle it. In fact, we suffer because our mind cannot accept the truth.
If your mind can accept the truth, sufferings will not arise. The lesson we learn from practicing the separation of the five aggregates, is for us to understand the truth about these five aggregates. It is for us to accept the truth that this body is impermanent; happiness and suffering are impermanent; and our own mind is also impermanent. Everything is temporary and will disappear. They are all like illusions.
Once we understand this, when we lose a loved one, through death or parting ways, we will not suffer. We know that we suffer from our memories, and then the mental fabrications continue to do the relay teamwork, then the sufferings burn our mind.
This is the lesson we should study from attending a funeral. A funeral is not a place for celebrations. Yet, we see a lot of drinking and gambling at funerals upcountry, and traditionally police will make an exception by not making an arrest. We see a lot of craps games inside temples, and at times, even apprentices will sneak in to join the games. The reason? They claim that they want to keep the dead accompanied, but in fact, it is not for the dead, it is for the funeral host. People give companionship to the host, because if people leave, the host would not have to take care of anybody, and they will start to feel sad. This is a consolation by upcountry people, for those who never study Dhamma. If you have studied Dhamma, and be mindful of your own body and mind, there will be no sufferings.
If we continue to practice, what we will earn is the stability of our mind. We will not suffer, will be liberated from sufferings. We will then be free.
At Sothorndhamnimitr Hermitage
18 May 2020