Monday, March 7, 2011

Treasure When It Counts

A number of my friends and also my siblings have asked me how I am progressing? I don't have a straight answer because I really don't know what's going on in my lung area. I think the tumor in my right kidney is behaving rather well. On the other hand, my chest areas do feel congested at times and like this morning, my phlegm contains more fresh blood than usual. Almost every night, just when I am lying down to sleep, I noticed that my heartbeat is also a bit irregular. Other than occasionally coughing, my lungs seems pretty normal, at least that's how I feel.

I must confess that after about 18 months on the Gerson diet, I am finding it difficult to sustain the diet (i.e. lunch and dinner). I have tried a few different ways of eating or preparing the food but after a while, it gets kind of boring. So far, I have no complaints about eating porridge. What am I going to do? Still, I just try my best to eat my food.

The other day, I was talking to a friend about eulogy and it seems, many people like to say good words or how good or great that person was. She said, why don't people tell it when he/she was alive, wouldn't that be even better? I remember when I was young, my neighbor used to tell me at funerals that we should treat our loves ones well when they are alive rather than when they are dead. All those Chinese funeral ceremonies and however grand the funeral service is, is just a show of face. Do I sound bitter about this?

I used to be part of a Buddhist funeral support group where we would visit the deceased's house for wake and would then chant some Buddhist prayers. I often find such Buddhist ceremony simple and not so wasteful. Oh, don't get me wrong, I am not thinking about death or anything even near it. It's just that I have received another notification to attend another Buddhist funeral chanting today and I am using the message to do some reflecting.


  1. A funeral is about respect for the departed because the physical body is holy and more so, the person has lived a life worthy to his or her loved ones.

    I agree with you that some funerals are so lavishly done and elaborate, my these days, you can even hire people to shed a tear or two for the dead; in cases where one is short of 'friends'. Similarly, eulogies are perhaps nice words which ought more to have been shared when a person is alive and kicking; perhaps then, life expectancy would have been extended on hearing all these outpouring of love.

    Personally, funerals should be simple and sincere to allow others to celebrate the life of the departed. Its more important the legacy that the dead leave behind, the cherished memories, children to live on the legacy.

    Most of the time, its the living who complicate matters at funerals, some even have big arguments over unnecessary arrangements, making the whole solemn affair go out of whack. You are correct that the big shows at funerals is more to appease the 'guilt' of the surviving and perhaps to preserve 'face' as you in the Far East call it. The dead will be at rest, without a speck of control over what happens.

  2. I think funerals are just one example of many examples of preserving "face" in our society. Face can be the main factor in conducting the ceremony in the first place. The ceremony can be used to portray a certain image of ourselves or our families to the public. There is nothing wrong with a simple or elaborate ceremony but ask ourselves, is it real?

    We forget that in death, we are stripped, unmasked and vulnerable. Can we die peacefully with what's really underneath us, the pain, conflicts, bitterness etc or can the carefully cultivated image of ourselves send us to heaven or a better realm?