The truth about grieving over a loved one

Published on Nov 3, 2021

Are you fighting reality?

What is the opposite of love? Ill-will.

A lot of the suffering in life is stems from ill-will, anger.

That’s why whenever there is a loss and grief, it’s often associated with ill-will and anger as part of the symptom of grief. It’s the opposite of love. It is fighting reality, fighting the world.

“This shouldn’t be. This mustn’t be! I’m not going to let this.”

It’s controlling again.

When you cry for someone who is dead, who are you crying for? You’re not crying for them. You’re crying for yourself. You want them around, now they are no longer there. It’s not a selfless love, it’s a self-love.

“I want to control life and death.”

“I want all the people I like, to be around.”

“All the people I don’t like, may they drop dead.”

“For all the people I really love and care for, I want them around for a long long long time.

That’s what people think, isn’t it?

Life is like a concert

The detached love can actually love death, can love separation, can love things going wrong, can love mistakes. It embraces them; it embraces death as this wonderful sunset ending the day. It embraces it like the simile I say of the ending of a concert. Stand up, give an ovation to the band or the orchestra. You shout for more, you scream, you feel so good.

This is what we do in Buddhist funerals. You give a standing ovation for the person who has died. What a wonderful life. It’s been such a wonderful concert, so great knowing you. Thank you so much.

The door of my heart is open to you. My heart is open to the reality of life and death.

In fact, all the people you like and love, they will only be with you for a matter of days, months or years. It’s like a concert. When you go into that concert hall, you know it’s not going to last forever, but you still go in there and enjoy every moment.


The above a transcript of an excerpt of the full Dhamma talk by Ajahn Brahm in year 2001.

Sutta reflection:

If, by lamenting, confused, harming yourself,

any use could be gained the prudent would do it as well.

But not by weeping & grief do you gain peace of awareness.

Pain arises all the more.

Your body is harmed.

You grow thin, pale, harming yourself by yourself.

Not in that way are the dead protected.

Lamentation’s in vain.

Not abandoning grief,

a person suffers all the more pain.

Bewailing one whose time is done,

you fall under the sway of grief.

Seeking your own happiness,

you should pull out your own arrow:

your own lamentation, longing, & sorrow.

With arrow pulled out, independent,

attaining peace of awareness,

all grief transcended,

griefless you are unbound.

Extracted from Salla Sutta: The Arrow