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Grief and Loss Led by Venerable Bom Hyon Sunim
April 17 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
One event on April 17, 2018 at 6:30pm
The dewdrop world
is the dewdrop world,
and yet … and yet.
– Haiku Master Issa (18C)
All human beings face loss, moment by moment, not one thing can we possess forever.
It is common to associate grief with the experience of loss of loved ones. But grief touches us in a variety of life circumstances, including grief in anticipation for loss of our own life, or changing circumstances beyond our control. It is not uncommon in our shared human experience, to find ourselves grieving a loss of control in some other area of our life such as career, home, community, loss of identity, capacity, or separation from people we love and things we desire. We may suffer loss of health and wellness, body function, vitality, friendship and other important relationships, to name a few.
In such circumstances it is not uncommon to experience feelings of shock, denial, sorrow, withdrawal from the world, depression, anger, alienation, and physical and mental pain. There is no ‘wrongness’ – no shame or blame for any feelings or thoughts we may have in response to a deep loss. But it is possible to circumvent the pain of prolonged suffering, for ourselves and others, if instead of remaining ‘stuck’ in the grieving process, we can learn to navigate our way through it with skillfulness and compassion.
Grieving is a landscape that is so vast and so varied, that it can be discovered only through our own most intimate experience. The river of grief pulses deep inside all human beings, and while it may be hidden from view, its presence informs our life at every turn. Grief can numb a person, drive us into painful reactivity to escape from suffering, or it can bring us face-to face with our own humanity.
Buddhism promises us that grief can be a pathway for spiritual transformation. An old woman once told a caregiver that wisdom and compassion can only be discovered in the practice of letting go of what we know. When we experience the transformation of loss and grief, we may discover the truth of impermanence of everything in life – and of this very life itself. Grief and loss may also gift us with gratitude for what has been given, even for the pain of suffering. From grief we can learn to swim in the stream of universal sorrow, and therein, find the gift of joy.
In our time together, through sharing of our own stories and drawing on Buddhism’s rich vein of stories, teachings and practices, we hope to find a way through our personal and collective grief and burden, thereby transforming the pain of loss into compassion and a deeper way of living.
About the teacher:
Venerable Bom Hyon Sunim is from the Korean Zen tradition and is resident at the Korean Jong Bop Sa Temple in Sydney. Sunim has recently relocated to Sydney, having lived in Victoria for the past 8 years, where she was the resident teacher of the Bodhi Ahm Buddhist Centre and founded the Healthcare Chaplaincy program for the Buddhist Council. She is also the Senior Buddhist Chaplain for the Australian Defence Forces.
Sunim conducts regular teachings and retreats and continues to teach regularly with the Melbourne Sakya group. She is active in interfaith and welcomes engagement with all who are spiritually & ecologically motivated to live in right relationship to the planet & all beings.