생일 축하해요!

The 7th day of the Lunar New Year and the Chinese call it the “Day of Man” (人日), meaning to say that today is everybody’s birthday. Well, Happy birthday to all then! I went to bed at about 5 in the morning, working through the night. The head is thus, spinning and even the caffeine in that awfully sweet coffee doesn’t seem to be effective. Recently I’ve found out that my taste bud has changed, from a hopeless sweet tooth I have since taken a liking in plain stuff, with the exception of 한국음식. Dinner last night was a great feast, which included one of my favourite dish, 김치전. If not for the assignment that I’ll need to submit this noon, I would have soju to go with it and fell into my slumber-land right after dinner. Still, the taste lingered on throughout the night and soju can certainly wait till the next round. When work is done and I had lunch earlier on with my professor from my varsity days, this was what we saw of a part of the campus. Somehow it just reminded one of the tug of war between the old and the new and I again, sank into deep thoughts of what can be truly demolished and rebuilt, and what can never be uprooted in one’s mind and one’s heart. The ideology or some may prefer to call it one’s philosophy of life, is always the hardest and perhaps the last to go. Life is in itself a celebration yet it may be a curse to some, like the good old saying of what one’s meat could be a poison to another. We were hence engaged in a discussion of what life and death is all about or what it can be. So Euthanasia may not necessarily be an evil when you think of how the Buddhist monks or Taoist believers may say of their own “end”. Going back to the stories we read about how the enlightened Taoists would predict their own “death”, can it really be just a prediction and they acting as fortune tellers? Indeed, it may be a form of “suicidal act” when the art of meditation can stop the breath and thus, end the bodily existence. And how life would indeed be a mere meaningless repetition  when one has already reached enlightenment and Nirvana seems to be the the ultimate path to take. Such would be a full circle drawn for the enlightened one. (The Buddhists call one/them the Buddha and the Taoists may name one/them  the celestial beings) In short, one has come to a full-stop, so the “end” attained. I am still pondering over such a conclusion, its religious and moral implications. And I thought of what and how the Christian faith may interpret this and before I can reach a conclusion, another issue arises-the notion of detachment. What is indeed the distinction between the concept of detachment as expounded by the Christians and the Buddhists? I remembered May telling me how her other friends may choose to travel to places experiencing internal strife so as to save up on cheap air tickets at our dinner table. Then I had commented that I will not choose to risk my life for the sake of my loved ones and yet, as a believer of Christ, are we not encouraged to be somehow detached from this world? Suddenly the scene on how Christ has called upon Peter and the other apostles came to my mind, and at His words, these followers in the very essence of the word “follower”, dropped all that they were doing or had in possession to “follow” Him! Remember how that one rich man had forsaken the saving grace as he couldn’t part with his wealth? Then again, all that we have in our possession will also include the love and hate relationships, our families and friends, as well as our enemies for we are to even love our enemies and “hate” our loved ones when faith is challenged. I couldn’t help but sighed at the thought, life is indeed full of decisions to be made and when the professor heard my lamentations, he smiled and said,”this is paradoxically, and essentially the beauty of being alive!” Indeed, true wisdom prevails and reigns. So once again, Happy Birthday, for the day of our birth should truly be a joyous occasion.

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