relief from grief

The Therigatha are poems of the first Buddhist women, ordained women who were called “senior ones” due to their spiritual achievements and ability to help others with their suffering. Many of these women came to the Buddha grieving the loss of their husbands, parents or family members. And many of them came to the Buddha suffering from what some claim to be the most intimate and heart-wrenching grief of all, grief over the loss of their child or children. The Buddha, with kindness and compassion, pointed them in the direction of healing.

The following is such a poem. Ubbiri’s poem offers encouragement to all of us, that we can transform even the most intimate, intense suffering.

Ubbiri
spoken by the Buddha to her

Mother, you cry in the forest, “O Jiva,”
get hold of yourself, Ubbiri.
Eighty-four thousand daughters, all with that same name,
the ones that said they were “Life,”
all have been burnt in this cremation ground,
so which one of them are you grieving for?

Spoken by Ubbiri

He pulled out the arrow that was hard for me to see,
the one that I nourished in my heart,
he expelled the grief for a daughter,
the grief that had overwhelmed me.

Today the arrow is pulled out,
I am without hunger, completely free.
I go to the Buddha his dhamma, and his sangha for refuge,
I go to the Sage for refuge.

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