An Excerpt from As You Grieve: Consoling Words From Around the World by Aaron Zerah

Aaron Zerah has gathered a collection of prayers, poems, and stories from Native Americans, Africans, Buddhists, Moslems, Hindus, Jews, and Christians in this resource on grieving. Here is a traditional Zen Buddhist story that illustrates the spiritual practice of connections.

"Soyen Shaku, the abbot, each morning took a walk accompanied by his companion from the monastery to the nearby town. One day, as he passed a house, he heard a great cry from within it. Stopping to inquire, he asked the inhabitants, 'Why are you all wailing so?' They said: 'Our child has died and we are grieving.'

"The abbot without hesitation sat down with the family and started crying and wailing himself. As they were returning to the monastery, the abbot's companion asked, 'Master, is this family known to you?' 'No,' the abbot answered. 'Why then, Master, did you also cry?' The abbot said simply, 'So that I may share their sorrow.' "