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The pain of losing loved ones

Priya Vippayoga Dukkho - the pain of losing loved ones. The Buddha preached about the main reasons for human pain and suffering, and amongst these causes was the pain we feel when we are distanced from or when we lose the ones we love. It is a pain we are all familiar with. This brings to mind the story of Patachara. When she was told by Lord Buddha to find a mustard seed from a house which had not lost someone they loved, she turned up empty handed. It reminds us that the pain of losing a loved one is something we have all felt. We understand the hurt and sorrow caused by this loss. If we think about the story of Patachara, we know that she suffered a great deal because she couldn’t bear to lose her family. The Lord Buddha understood this and he wanted to help ease her suffering.

Today in our country, there is a multitude of Patacharas among us. They are widows who lost their husbands, they are mothers who lost their sons and daughters, and they are families facing unbearable pain due to the loss of those closest to them. Like her they are looking for comfort and consolation, but unlike her they do not know where these fathers and mothers, husbands or wives, brother and sisters, or sons and daughters are. They bear the pain of not knowing if their family is alive or dead. Their pain of Priya Vippayoga Dukkho is heightened and their suffering is multiplied. It is the pain of not knowing. The Lord Buddha himself made a great effort to help Patachaara, what have we done to help these communities?

The Office on Missing Persons (OMP) has been operationalized as an independent, transparent mechanism to search and investigate into missing persons and to help families find their loved ones. It is an office to address the pain of Priya Vippayoga Dukkho. Who can disagree to a mechanism like this? As Sri Lankans, but more importantly as Buddhists, we have a duty to wish for the wellbeing and happiness for all. Loving kindness and compassion is inherent in the teachings of the Buddha. The OMP has no connections with any political party and has no power to influence governments and elections. It is an independent body that is reaching out to the families from all areas of the country.


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