The following is an extract from a note I sent to a chap in answer to his comment/questions following the sudden death of his father.
The very best thing you can do to help your father now is to simply sit when you have the time, and to do your best to keep a bright and positive mind throughout your day. He will be in your heart and since ultimately there is no separation or dividing up of existence, your hearts are identical. If the relationship with him has been troublesome this doesn’t matter, let what ever is there be there without judgements.
You are right, we do not have a specific practice around death, or more correctly meditations focusing on the impermanence of the body. That all is fairly much covered in just sitting.
In terms of your own acceptance of his sudden death you will have to realize that there is a level of shock which will take time to work it’s way through.
As for what you can do at home now. You can put his photograph on your altar and perhaps put some kind of non perishable food/drink which he would have liked there too. You can recite one of the compassion scriptures daily and offer the merit of the recitation for his benefit.
The advice above is fairly standard however it does assume an understanding of the practice of meditation and the Buddhist Precepts.
3 thoughts on “An Answer”
Thank you for your kind words Rev Mugo.
I have gained a lot of comfort from meditation practice since his death as , like you say, when i reconnect with the stillness it feels as if we are not seperated. This has been a very powerful, compassionate experience for me and has helped enormously. I did catch myself on several occassions trying too hard to ‘find’ the stillness and i know that such striving is ultimately unhelpful.
One thing that has particularly troubled me is my lack of grief and it is interesting to read your comment about shock taking its time to work through. I guess things are likely to become more difficult in the near future but hopefuly i can retain my sense of groundedness to work through the difficulties as skillfuly as possible. I know all things are impermanent so the emotions of loss and grief will lessen over time.
I like the idea of putting a photo and a wee bowl of sugared almonds (his favourite sweets) on my altar. I’m not sure what the compassion scriptures are though – could you provide any more info regarding these?
See part of my answer to this note from Calum in a posting called Sorrow.
Thanks, Rev. Mugo. I found this very good. Especially the part about not fretting too much about any possible bad relationship one may have had w/ the deceased.