Articles

Dealing with sorrow

With lost comes sorrow. Sorrow is an emotion that we have all experienced in our life. Its intensity varies according to situations and people. Some felt sorrowful when they lost someone, others experience sorrow when they lose their jobs or relationships.

Some of these losses can be so devastating that we feel like the world had collapsed or life becomes meaningless. Different religions offer different ways of dealing with sorrow. Buddhism also offers its own set of wisdom and approach.

Acknowledgement

The 1st noble truth that was proclaimed by Buddha says, “Life is sufferings”. If you are intoxicated by the fun of living at the moment, then this statement seems pessimistic. But this simple statement can be a life saver during our sad moments. This is because the experience of sorrow and suffering is universal and not limited to us. When we embrace this Noble Truth, we accept the fact that suffering is part of life. This equip us with the right mentality to deal with our sorrows. It makes us stronger.

We cannot embrace this Noble Truth without respecting the Buddha who 1st proclaimed it as part of His core teachings. That very action of stating a Universal Fact was hailed as Turning the Wheel of Dharma. It is a Truth that everyone can acknowledge but none was willing to accept. Thus none of the religious figures before Buddha had proclaimed it. That makes the Buddha unique.

While everybody had been running away from sufferings and sorrow, Buddha had faced it and found the way to end it.

In His way, lies the solution to end sorrow and thus, we see hope in the Dharma.

Therefore, the Buddhist way of dealing with sorrow is as follows.

  1. Acknowledgement that it is part of life.
  2. Understand that we cannot escape sorrow unless we become enlightened. Suicide does not end sorrow because we will be reborn again and we will still encounter sorrow in the next life.
  3. There is an end to Sorrow and there is a structured methodology to end sorrow.

When we accept the above, we realized that we are responsible for ending sorrow. We may mourn and lament for a while but we know that those expression of sorrow is useless. We still need to cure our sorrow and we have to proactively step out of sorrow.

That decision to stop sorrowing is the 1st step towards light. It is a proactive decision to find Happiness (End of sorrow)

When I was overwhelmed by sorrow, a Dharma book saved me.

May all be well and happy.

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