Friday, September 16, 2005

Doing death

We were on the topic of death after seeing a furneral ad on telly. I remember there was a documentary on Discovery Channel about this lady in Hongkong preparing for her death. She bought the outfit and a place for her urn in the temple. Her children were in Germany and she felt she was too old to follow along and adapt to a new culture.

Then A remarked that it was so sad that there would be no one to burn incense to her after her death to which B replied that her children would probably come back from Germany once a year for tomb-sweeping festival.

Another thing of interest is the performance at furnerals. You will see people whom you have not seen the whole time you were living with the deceased turning up and sobbing like they have lost their parents. Who/what are you crying for? If you were on such great terms, why did I not see you when I was living with him? If you were so filial, why did I only see you for 10 minutes during Chinese New Year?

I wondered aloud about the previous generations before us: who prays to them? Do their souls get "goodies" from their human descendents?

We concluded that they were probably long reincarnated. So, there should be some rule-of-thumb here right? How many generations ahead of us should we pray to? It's all very complex.

*For your interest, this post is written with a Chinese-Buddhist-Taoist orientation.

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