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Showing posts from October, 2011

Life, death and Halloween

A rich merchant asked a Buddhist monk for the secret to a happy life. “Grandfather dies, father dies, son dies,” he replied. The merchant demanded angrily: “How can that possibly be called happy?” The monk explained: “Like it or not, we all die. So what could be better than for it to happen in the natural order?”
We’re now approaching Halloween – the eve of All Saints’ Day followed by All Souls’ Day – when, according to Christian and other religions, the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead is thin and ghosts walk among us.
Well, children dressed as ghosts, anyway.
The beauty of the occasion, for me, is that in the fun and frivolity of high-spirited parties and creepy costumes is the dance between life and death. No matter how far we may feel from the natural world, we are still part of it. If the world harvest were to fail, we would find it hard to munch our way through our laptops and mobile phones. “Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned …