When someone dies, are our heart connections with others strengthened by our shared loss?

A student writes:

I have been wondering about heart connections relating to when someone dies. If someone dies who so many people loved, what happens about the heart connections that that person had with, say me and someone I don’t know at all, but who was very close to the person who has died?  It is like we have heart connections with each other already through my friend?

Lama Shenpen replies:

Yes, each person is a mandala centred on the heart which continues through life and death and into future lives. Each person has a unique pattern of relationships with all other beings all of whom meet in the heart – all our hearts interpenetrate.

So yes, if our personal mandala is closely connected to another person we have a special sense of connection to their whole mandala – that is how our connection to Dharma, the mandala of Awakening, links all we meet and especially those to whom we are close to that mandala.


Do we suddenly see the person who loved that person clearly – well I guess we see them more openly as their heart and ours are open and raw with grieving?

Lama Shenpen:

I think that when someone dies it forces us all to reflect on who or what that person was and what they mean to us and why it feels so unreal that they are no longer around in our world.

That is driven by deep emotional feelings of loss and bewilderment – so yes we are all much more open and sensitive at that time which makes it an important opportunity to link ourselves and others, living and dead, more closely to the Mandala of Awakening by our connections and pranidhanas.


Are our heart connections with others strengthened by our shared loss? Does the person we loved create a connection between us?

Lama Shenpen:

Our sense of our mutual heart connections becomes more evident and we are likely to recognise that in each other, which will of course strengthen the connections and yes the person we loved has created a connection between us all. Well, in a way the connection was already there because we are all sentient beings but our mandala connections have been strengthened by our all being integral to our loved one’s mandala.

Lama Shenpen Hookham

Lama Shenpen’s students are all studying the Living the Awakened Heart Training – a structured, comprehensive, supported, distance learning programme in Buddhist meditation, reflection and insight. The training, which is open to all, brings the profound Dzogchen and Mahamudra teachings to a Western audience in an experiential, accessible way, through spiral learning. Find out more and how to join at www.ahs.org.uk/training