Lisa Schneider:

What do you mean by that?

It’s a causality by which beings evolve. Like if they do an action of a certain type, they get an effect from that action because it changes their being and their being evolves. It can evolve in a negative or a positive direction depending on whether the actions are negative or positive. In a way, Karma is a biological theory just like a Western genetic theory. And it is very like a genetic biological theory in that it has humans being reborn as animals, animals as humans.

It’s hard to generalise across cultures, but is there a traditional mourning period for Buddhists?

In the Buddhist context, they consider that the weeping and wailing and shrieking and tearing hair and clothes, that kind of thing, is not actually a good idea. It doesn’t really relieve the bereaved; in fact it even pumps up their emotion. The Buddhist point of view is that the one who just died, being still aware of what those left behind, the survivors are doing for a while — the departed one gets very anxious and upset and preserves that raw emotion as very disturbing. So whenever someone is overcome by grief, the tendency in Tibetan Buddhist culture is to try to calm that survivor down and have them think of good and positive thoughts and send good vibes.

So the nature of their grief should take the form of looking forward and being compassionate with others?

Yes, that’s better — sincerely sending strong caring and loving vibes toward the one who passed away. Because the main person in transition at that time, the most difficult transition, is the death-rebirth transition. The priority is to send the good vibes to the departed. —, concluded