Living with Loss and Grief
This chapter discusses the concept of personal Buddhas, focusing on the role of mortuary and ancestral rituals in helping people cope with grief and integrate loss into their lives. The death of a loved one is a distressing event that leads to psychic, emotional, and physiological adjustments. Japanese Buddhist mortuary rituals help a person live with death by helping her experience being interrelated to everything. This chapter first considers the healing power of funerary, memorial, and ancestral rites in the ritual landscape of contemporary Buddhism in Japan before exploring the rhythms and contours of grieving rituals in the context of Japanese Buddhist women’s worldviews and conceptions of self, suffering, and healing. It also examines metaphors associated with death that help guide the Buddhist women as they engage in rituals to help them establish their balance after the loss of a critical relationship. Finally, it analyzes the healing dimension of daily rituals at the family home altar and the centrality of the home altar in domestic Zen.
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