Listening to music when a loved one dies

A forum for discussion of Buddhist ethics.
Post Reply
floatingbubbles07
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2016 5:15 pm

Listening to music when a loved one dies

Post by floatingbubbles07 » Sun Dec 29, 2019 3:55 am

Forgive me if I sound stupid or even offensive, but I have scrupulosity (religious) OCD so I may not be thinking clearly at the moment. A few months ago my grandfather passed away. I told myself I wouldn’t listen to music for 49 days after his funeral, but I messed up many times. I listened to music when I knew I wasn’t supposed to. It’s like I lusted for music or something and listening to it was like having sex.

I remember reading somewhere that you shouldn’t be listening to music when someone dies for a while. Is this just a sign of mourning? Or is it because of some other factor like the soul of the person who died might want to come back and be reborn on earth or in the lower realms when they’re supposed to be going (or trying to go) to Amituofo’s Pure Land? I remember my mom telling me that if people are sad and cry during another person’s death, they make the person’s soul feel not at peace and perhaps they’d want to be reborn again and not know which realm to go to so they accidentally select a lower realm. If this is true, does it work the same way with music and having sex?

Later I found myself remembering the song I learned during that 49 day period and that song triggered a memory that I wanted to buy a palette of makeup. If I didn’t listen to that song I wouldn’t have remembered the name of that palette of makeup and I wouldn’t have bought it. If I may have caused my grandfather’s soul to be put into a bad place, then should I have bought that makeup? Because if I didn’t learn the song it wouldn’t have triggered the memory for me to buy it. Please clarify with me because I’m awfully confused right now. Thanks.

User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
Posts: 3715
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Listening to music when a loved one dies

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Sun Dec 29, 2019 4:53 am

Your listening to music or even being intentionally disrespectful doesn’t affect what happens to anyone after they die. Where they take rebirth is a matter of their own karma. If you wish for his favorable rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land, and you dedicate that to him, do some kind of meditation or chanting or other practice, of course it can have a benefit. But that kind of benefit cannot be subtracted or diminished because you listened to music or did something fun for yourself. Your grandfather would probably be happy knowing you are happy.
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Fo Ming (Buddha Bright) Monk"
People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.

Simon E.
Posts: 7652
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 11:09 am

Re: Listening to music when a loved one dies

Post by Simon E. » Sun Dec 29, 2019 8:02 pm

When my mother died I derived great comfort from listening to Talking Heads “ Once In A Lifetime”..

The idea that it is somehow disrespectful to listen to music at such times is a belief.
One that is held by some cultures. Other cultures encourage using music at those times.
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.

emaho
Posts: 898
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 8:33 pm

Re: Listening to music when a loved one dies

Post by emaho » Mon Dec 30, 2019 1:04 am

I've never heard any instructions that one shouldn't listen to music after a loved one has died. And I don't think one can make a general statement if this would have a positive or negative impact on the person in the bardo. All kind of things are possible.

Maybe, if you're not listening to music and feel sad all the time, your grandfather sees that you're suffering and wants to stay with you. Maybe if you're listening to music it aggravates him because he thinks you don't care about him. Maybe your grandfather sees you're having a good time and that makes it easier for him to let go and proceed to a fortunate rebirth or to Amithaba's pure realm. Maybe, maybe, maybe... there is really no way of knowing if it has any impact at all, so it's best not to speculate. And most of all, it's not your responsibilty.

Besides, I don't know where you're from, but I think that in some Buddhist cultures there's a prejudice that all music is just a waste of time. I wholeheartedly disagree with that. First of all, there's also religious music, secondly, even secular music can have a therapeutic and soothing effect on the mind. In my opinion you should do whatever is good for you. When you're sad, pamper yourself, light some candles, turn on some music that lifts your spirit, say some prayers for your granddad. Don't feel guilty.
"I struggled with some demons, They were middle class and tame..." L. Cohen

tkp67
Posts: 1647
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 5:42 am

Re: Listening to music when a loved one dies

Post by tkp67 » Mon Dec 30, 2019 7:56 am

floatingbubbles07 wrote:
Sun Dec 29, 2019 3:55 am
I remember my mom telling me that if people are sad and cry during another person’s death, they make the person’s soul feel not at peace and perhaps they’d want to be reborn again and not know which realm to go to so they accidentally select a lower realm.
When a friend of mine tragically passed I listened to nothing but bob dylan for a few months because he no longer could. I have a hard time conceptualizing what isn't provable so with something like an afterlife I think in practical terms.

I can't prove he exists after his passing but he was a tremendous positive influence in my life and I have made sure to keep a place in my mind and heart for him. If you could see how it had influenced my life you might understand how he inspired meritorious behavior after his death. This was very meaningful for me and I did something similar for my parents so I might show them filial piety after their passing. I now try to remember the parts of people that help drive me to meritorious behavior in hopes to gain merit for myself and hopefully them after their existence.

shaunc
Posts: 829
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:10 am

Re: Listening to music when a loved one dies

Post by shaunc » Mon Dec 30, 2019 11:35 am

If you ever go to an Irish funeral they do nothing except listen to music and drink. The person in the coffin has absolutely no idea what anyone else is doing at their funeral and where they end up in their next life is completely up to their karma and has absolutely nothing to do with what tune you choose to play or not play at their funeral.

Post Reply

Return to “Ethical Conduct”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 20 guests