The Many Forms of Those You Love

Yesterday, I shared about honing my grief skills when I lost my mom.

Sometimes I feel like people who are devoted to one religion have an easier time when dealing with death. They have such a concrete vision of where their loved ones go.

This week my nine year old daughter pulled me in tight to her bed. In the darkness her teary voice asked me where people go when they die.

Although I had some insight for her, this teaching from Thich Nhat Nhan is really what I wish I could have said.

I have come back to this buddhist teaching many times over the years when missing loved ones that have passed away.

David Ward

“It’s like a cloud in the sky. When the cloud is no longer in the sky, it doesn’t mean the cloud has died. The cloud is continued in other forms like rain or snow or ice. So you can recognize your cloud in her new forms. If you are very fond of a beautiful cloud and if your cloud is no longer there, you should not be sad. Your beloved cloud might have become the rain, calling on you, ‘darling, darling, don’t you see me in my new form?’ And then you will not be stuck with grief and despair. Your beloved one continues always. Meditation helps you recognize her continued presence in new forms. And our nature is the nature of no birth and no death…the nature of a cloud also. A cloud can never die. A cloud can become snow, or hail…or rain. But it is impossible for a cloud to pass from being into non-being. And that is true with your beloved one. She has not died. She is continued in many new forms. And you can look deeply and recognize herself in you and around you.” -Thich Nhat Nhan

Photo by David Ward

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