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Close to the Ground: Monkey on my Mind

The cat died.That she was 17 and riddled with cancer didn’t make her passing any easier for the rest of us. We cried hard when we put her down. The vet tech was sweet. “It’s the price of an open heart,” she said. It helped, but not that much. Monkey is gone, and we’re the ones left missing her. Even our dog, Bodhi, keeps walking around the house, looking for her in all her secret hiding places.I am on my tenth day of chanting for Monkey. One of the things many Buddhists believe is that we can continue to give help to a sentient being for as many as 49 days after it has passed. We can pray, chant, talk to it, comfort it. Wish it well. All these things help the one who’s gone—and us. Doing these things also gives us the gift of some quiet time away from all of the other aspects of our lives calling for attention.Another teaching that helps is at the core of Buddhism. Sometimes called “emptiness,” it is a teaching about how none of us is really born or really dies. Instead, when conditions are ripe for us to appear, we appear. When they are ripe for us to disappear, we disappear. The monk Thich Nhat Hanh, …

Geri Larkin is the founder and former head teacher of Still Point Zen Buddhist Temple, a Zen meditation center in the heart of inner-city Detroit. She is the author of many books including Stumbling Toward EnlightenmentBuilding a Business the Buddhist Way,Tap Dancing in ZenFirst You Shave Your Head, and The Still Point Dhammapada

This entry is tagged with:
Pet LossBuddhismReligionDeath Of CatGeri Larkin

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