Friday, May 01, 2015

Reflecting about Birth, Aging, Sickness & Death

The first 4 months of year 2015 went past quickly... 
This is Life... it will go past quickly as well...
I am sure that on my deathbed, 
I would say that life went past just like a flash...

I am still learning how to deal with Birth, Aging, Sickness & Death.
Actually, I am fearful of death... 
To be exact, I am afraid that on my deathbed, 
I would regret not living a full life.

I kept reminding myself that I will get old soon and my prime years will be over soon.
I really don't want to waste my life idling and moving aimlessly in the stream of life.

So far, this year, I have attended 6 wakes - 2 aunts wake, 1 HIV patient, 1 friend's dad, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, and last week was my grandma's wake. 

I have 2 friends fighting for their lives - suffering from acute leukemia, and a friend's wife is suffering from thyroid cancer, and another distant friend just recovered from nose cancer. They are all in their 30s like me, in the prime of their lives. 

So far, I have been lucky, but I will never know if my luck will run out.

Some thoughts:

- You can overcome your fears slowly. 

When I was young, I was quite fearful of funeral, coffins and dead people. Recently, after attending so many wakes, I am getting more comfortable. I performed a funeral prayer service together with my group of volunteers for the HIV patient. Last monday, I was alone with the body of my grandmother in the hospital for almost one hour (while waiting to transfer her body from the ward to the mortuary). I was chanting for her and playing Buddhist Chanting music. Hopefully, she has a smooth passage to her afterlife, if there is one.

- Physical Possession is really over-rated

Grandma has been a very thrifty and hardworking person. We discovered many new clothes in her wardrobe that she never wore. She kept a lot of new things, but never used them. On the contrary, I told myself that if I do not use an item for 1-2 years, I should consider discarding/donating it away. Spending on experience will add more values to my life, it can broaden my horizon, change my perspectives, increase my understanding and knowledge of the world. So I will continue to de-clutter.

- Usefulness of Dharma (Buddha's Teaching)

I am not 100% Buddhist, as I am still not sure if there is afterlife, if there is reincarnation, if the law of Karma really works. I guess I could never be a 100% Buddhist, but Dharma is far better than ALL other religious teachings I have came across. The Dharma is very useful for me to understand the nature of life, which is Impermanence in nature. This philosophy has helped me to accept changes in life. And also attachment is one of the main sufferings of life, and the antidote to many sufferings is to learn to let go of many things including our ego. This also helped me to understand myself better.

May you be free from sufferings.
May you find happiness in life.

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