Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Fighting Over Dead Body


http://www.flickr.com/photos/kiwanja/268744119/


Question:(unedited)
hi Justin


A topic abt death and preparation for the funeral cropped up during the death of one relative recently. It was told that the deceased should not be brought back to the house since he passed away in the hospital and no bathing or touching of the body within 8 hours as the deceased will feel the pain as his soul will come back during this time? This was told by a committee member of a Mahayana sect. and a debate arise to which is right and wrong during the bathing of the body. Could you explain further?




To my understanding, Buddhism teaches us that once the mental energy and matter disintegrated, that is when death occurred, the being ceased to feel, experience any sensation whatsoever to this body thus funeral preparation can be done straight away. So why is it that the Mahayana sect explain otherwise? This is such a confusing statement esp. it claims that the deceased fail to notice that he has passed away thus prayers should be done on the 7th day, 49th day and 100th day with display of his favourite foods on the table for the "soul" when he returns (claims that he will definite returns) during this time.




This committee also said that there is proof that there is such a person experienced such agony/ pain (during this afterlife moment) when preparation is done within 8 hours. Now, if this person comes back when doctors declare him dead, then this is not death, right? What is your opinion? Instead shouldn't we as the relative to the deceased offer special chanting and do merits under his name to cease his sufferings so that he has the wholesome causes for happiness and free from sufferings?




Kindly explain. What else we should do to help the deceased? Pardon me for such questions...and thank you for answering my questions...





My comment:
Hi C,


Thank you for coming back. First, please remember the historical development and spread of Buddhism, which I wrote earlier. It is very important that you understand this historical development, leading to the different "traditions" or "sects". The differing schools have different interpretations with regards rites and rituals, mainly to do with their respective customs and cultures. It is of no point arguing over these rites and rituals. It is very important that you DECIDE which tradition you want to follow. You have to study and analyze and DECIDE for yourself which is right for you.




The Mahayanas have their rites and rituals. The Tibetans have theirs also. And so are others. Which to follow? We must go back to basics. The Buddha taught only TRUTH and PEACE. Nothing else. Your understanding of Buddhism is along the line of Theravada, which I follow. You don't have to get confused if you stick to the Theravada tradition. What others do is up to them. We don't have to follow them. This is our freedom. Likewise, we don't have to tell others what to do. It is very important that we know exactly what we should do. This is 100% confidence in ourselves. This is important.




As my teacher, the Chief Rev. Dhammananda of Brickfields Temple in K.L., Malaysia said, "We Buddhists don't fight over dead bodies!"

2 comments:

PM said...

Justin

Interesting reading this write up of yours in answering the question.

When I last attended a funeral and saw all the ritual and the hassle and the cost involved, I some how gave instruction to my wife.. forget all these praying and ritual. Just cremate my body thats all and it will do me no harm for I know what is life after death.
It is through meditation that one is guided and given a glimpse of the spiritual side.

As to the no touching of the dead body within 8 hours is all nonsense. I believe the committee member who said it is just trying to be too cleaver and to show off that he knows alot but lacking in knowledge. This normally happens during death and at funeral where the families are put through all nonsense. Usually When I am around I would screw them.

Your quote "This is 100% confidence in ourselves. This is important."" Fear no evil and death

Justin Choo said...

PM,

To many, they act out of ignorance which leads to fear and superstitions; and from here they think that the whole episode is a big party.

Right thinking ignorant "Buddhist" relatives will begin to doubt the silly rituals and the embarressment. This will be good fodder for the ET(Christian Terrorists) to work through them. So it is our responsibilities to help propagate the correct teachings of the Buddha to those who are searching for an answer.

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