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How can Buddhist values help us to deal with traumatic events?

Buddhism And Suffering

Mettanando Bhikkhu (Thai Buddhist Monk) gives expert video advice on: How do Buddhists view death?; How do you meditate on death?; What small things can we do to help in our hectic lives? and more...

How can Buddhist values help us to deal with traumatic events?

There are many many ways that Buddhism can help. One way is understanding of life, which I personally I interpret Buddhism as origin of hope which give meaning of life as beauty but also accept that there are problems in life that need to be solved. It help us to form a better community, community of care integrated into each other and acceptance of when there is problems but nevertheless never ignore the need and care which we can offer to each other. In the way that the teaching Buddha helps is to allow everyone to think and analyze one's own and to understand that deep needs within ourselves and to find the strength within to solve problems and to associate with good people, form good community, good family, will accept things and fight when we need, fight to bring justice to society and help society to get better.

Do you believe Buddhism is the best spiritual path to follow?

I do not think that there is one particular religion, which is best for all. I haven't met any religion of that quality so far. If you asked me years ago, I would say, what is the basis of the best religion for the world. I don't think there is a best religion. From my understanding, the religion, which is the best, is the religion. This religion, which always reforms itself for the good of the world to maintain a quality of life of the people indiscriminately. But it says, Buddhism is a feeling of compassion that we should all have, and that is very important.

How do Buddhists view death?

We see death as a part of life. When somebody died in Thai culture, in Eastern culture we have the ability to bereave, to come to terms with loss much more than people do in the West. Firstly, we don't believe that there is only one life. We believe that there are many lives to come, this afterlife, and also that life cannot be complete without death. It is a part of being and existence. We accept and think that death gives meaning to life, and is a part of life. When we study death, when we contemplate on death, is when we learn the beauty and meaning of life.

How do you meditate on death?

There are many levels of meditation on death. A simple one is to imagine that a little bird is on your shoulder. When you wake up in the morning, you ask the little bird, "Will this be my last day, little bird?" There's a way to do it that is very superficial, but when you think about it, a wisdom arises within you. You then ask the question, "Am I living the life I want to live?" That is the second question that you should ask. This is very superficial, but it is a deeper way to meditate, by asking yourself again, "Am I ready to die?" It's not to make yourself afraid, it's not to make yourself paralyzed or overwhelmed with fear, but by thinking of death - there are several depths and several techniques, depending upon the nature of the problems - it helps people to get stronger, wiser, and more and more realistic toward life, and helps people to enjoy more of the beauty of life.

How does understanding death help Buddhists during life?

The Buddha once said, "Without death, all my teaching means nothing." So, when we understand death very well, we understand the way we should live our life. And we have to come to terms, that when we search we build up capital, wealth, there is a limit. What are we going to do when we have a surplus? Shall we live our lives by ignoring poverty, by ignoring those who are poor? Or should we try to help those who are poor to have a better life? And then we can enjoy the beauty of life much more.

What small things can we do to help in our hectic lives?

Reflect on love, and on death; only two. In a quiet moment, when you wake up, you magnify the energy of love to everyone. And then, you ask yourself in front of the mirror, "Is this my last day? Am I ready? Am I living the life that I should live?". These two meditation techniques will help. It usually works very well, five minutes a day, not too much.