Section 21: Farewell to the Stage
Even though the soul may have reincarnated multiple times, death remains a major event in one's lifetime from the perspective of self-awareness. Hence, "thanatology" was born. It assists people who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness to navigate through the difficult emotional journey of fear and avoidance, helping them to accept reality and leave this world with dignity and peace.
Dying with dignity is a fundamental human right that every individual should have.
Traditional beliefs hold that concealing a patient's condition and keeping them in the dark until they pass away is a humane approach.
Newer ideas propose that patients and their families should be informed of the truth, and together, they should discuss palliative care options to arrange a peaceful end-of-life.
Traditional beliefs hold that individuals should fight to the last minute and struggle against death.
Newer ideas suggest that, at the patient's request, life-sustaining medical equipment such as ventilators should be discontinued for those without hope of recovery, to avoid wasting medical resources and reducing unnecessary suffering for patients and their families.
With effective time management before their demise, individuals can even plan and take part in their own funeral.
The background music is Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto. Starting with this piece, I've listened to classical music for most of my life, so I'll take the opportunity to listen to it a few more times.
All the loved ones I wanted to see for the last time have arrived, some even coming from overseas. We talked about old memories, laughing with tears.
There was also a former colleague who came after hearing the news, busy explaining misunderstandings that had long been forgotten.
Parting with each loved one, the gratitude is sincere, and the blessings are heartfelt. If there's anything left to do, take the opportunity to explain it clearly.
After the funeral, praying inwardly once again, there is nothing else but gratitude and more gratitude.
Grateful for the food that has nourished my body in this lifetime, which originally had its own life as well.
Grateful for the love and help I received in this life: the nurturing of my parents, the support of my partner, the teachings of my teachers, the companionship of my loved ones, the assistance of my colleagues, and more. There are also many unknown people who have directly or indirectly benefited me out of selfless love or through economic activities.
Grateful for the selfless sharing of sunlight, air, water, and all resources in nature. Ashamed to repay it with garbage and pollution.
The most important thing to be grateful for is, of course, the God within my heart. I am happy that I have been able to connect with Him correctly in the second half of my life, and I hope that I will not be lost in the next life.
The emotion of gratitude dilutes the sadness of parting and gives the highest satisfaction to the review of this life.
When the soul comes to the material world, it must wear a piece of clothing, which is our body.
In the human body, there are about 5 billion cells in total, each with a different renewal cycle. Some white blood cells can only live for a few hours, the lifespan of intestinal mucosal cells is three days, liver cells for 500 days, and the lifespan of nerve cells in the brain and bone marrow is almost equal to that of humans. In the whole body, one hundred million cells die every minute. Although humans step into old age, their organs are much younger, and most of them are less than seven years old.
Every time the dust is emptied from the vacuum cleaner into the garbage bin, we unintentionally bid farewell to hair and skin. And the billions of microorganisms that sustain our lives are excreted every day in the form of feces, and with the push of a button, they are mercilessly flushed away from the toilet!
Many organisms have contributed their bodies to provide material for new cells. They reside in our bodies and maintain our lives.
What am I?
My thoughts, consciousness, and soul are the real me. The body is just a costume for this performance.
When the soul bids farewell to the body on the stage, the remains left behind are just the material that happened to be present in the body at that moment, with no special significance. Since we regard the waste excreted the previous day as mere feces, what reason is there to build a tombstone to preserve the remnants after the soul has departed?
If every actor performing in the theater were to leave their costumes backstage in boxes, would there still be space for future actors to perform?
In the era of the global village, families are scattered far and wide, and even the grandest cemeteries of the nobility will become deserted graves after several generations. Why not return the elements borrowed from nature as soon as possible: tree burials, flower burials, sea burials? Wave your sleeves without taking away a speck of dust!
Maybe we should ask: If one leaves without even a tombstone, how do friends and relatives pay their respects?
Thanks to internet technology, this concern can be satisfactorily resolved. A virtual cemetery or memorial hall can be created on the internet, or simply a single webpage. Here, information on the departed's life, photos, videos, writings, or other creative works that are worthy of commemoration can be included.
One can participate in commercial cemetery websites, or, like ancient emperors, start building their own cemetery during their lifetime.
Friends and relatives, no matter where they are in the world, if they have the intention, they can easily visit, with sound and appearance fully present, enough to soothe infinite reminiscence. To express the feelings of missing, one can leave words of remembrance and offer a virtual bouquet of flowers."