Saturday, November 7, 2009

Witness the process of death...

A bunch of us "jukai(formal precept taking ceremoney in Zen) brothers and sisters", went to visit one of our brothers, who is very sick. He has a terminal illness and might not live long. We sat zazen with him and chanted heart sutra. He is not able to talk any more but he was talking with his eyes. I have never been in presence of a terminally sick person before. It was a first one for me and brought out lot of emotions. I really admired his presence, his strength and his acceptance. There he was - trying to be present in every moment, trying to just be and he was doing it beautifully. It made me wonder how would I behave in face of such a situation. However much we might study or practice, I don't know if any thing can really prepare us for our own death. From my little life experience, even after sitting for so long, as soon as there is a threat to "my self", my defenses go up. Sometimes I am aware enough to see the process and let the defense drop but more often, I fight. Habit energy is there and it is there strong. Well, I should be thankful that I can witness the process some times at least, if not all times..:).


  1. Few people in my life who were terminally sick were more "present in every moment" than compared to when they had not gone sick. It was their relatives, and their friends, who grieved for them; while they themselves accepted their sow process of death. Morrie (Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom, see my recommended resources list) even said that terminally ill people like him are actually lucky, because they are warned about their incoming death; and thus have the time to fully enjoy the life before actual death comes--that is, to be fully present in the moment...

    But yes, I can also feel the raise of self-defense when there is a threat to "my self". Usually, it comes in the readiness to fight when I go to high-crime places. Maybe the defense comes naturally when we realize any opportunity to fight, to resist--while those terminally ill people realize they have no chances to change their condition?

  2. I guess so. Acceptance comes rather easily, when we know that we cannot change our condition. Isn't this that keeps the world moving - people not accepting their condition and keep working for incremental changes? That is what keeps them fueled and motivated and inspired? Hmmm..interesting train of thought..I will need to mull over it. Thanks Rizal!

  3. Now that you remind me; the world keeps moving because people not accepting their condition. I thought, it'll be beautiful if people are motivated by love instead of by unacceptance. Anyway, how the world runs should not bother; action is what matters. Thanks :)