Acceptance of life and death
How can we overcome our fear of growing old and of death ?
It has become an important question in our society where the population of the elderly has been increasing. But this is not the problem that has begun now. It has been a problem since the beginning of mankind and there are many academic subjects, which were born by this.
However, many of the practical studies such as medicine and biology have focused on this problem but other studies, which have focus on the inner-self such as religion and philosophy, have not been as strong in these areas.
Medicine and scientific developments have been affecting in prolonging the human life. And this is certainty a wonderful thing. However, even though we were able to escape death at one point in our lives, it does not eliminate the fear of death. This is because even though the average life span extends from 50 years to 80 years, this does not lessen the fear of death and on the contrary, the fear of death is even greater. Thus no matter how long the average life span extends; the fear will not change.
At the same time, it goes without saying that there are new problems where human lives are being manipulated and treated as a kind of item.
But chanting Buddhist sutras will also not bring a miracle. By utilizing religion as a means to obtain your own desires, you will always be preoccupied with your desires. For example, as long as a person is obsessed with living a long life, even though the person lives to be 100 or 150, they will accept death without denial. And even if a miracle was to occur and a person is granted a long life, death will soon come and the person will die.
Then how can we live our remaining years ? The word "remaining" already gives a negative connotation and the feeling of giving up. As mentioned earlier, one can find a hobby to upkeep his or her health and live their senior years quietly. However, will this really calm our minds and will this bring happiness ?
By focusing on our physical health, will this help us overcome our loneliness and anxiousness upon our retirement ? This way of living does not differ from living a gloomy life, waiting for death to come.
No matter how many funds the Government has alloted to build senior citizens' homes or hospice facilities, the problem will not completely be resolved. Having facilities such as these are extremely important and the development of facilities should be actively supported. However, with these developments, death education must be implemented else these wonderful facilities will be meaningless. Therefore education in self-reflection needs to be taught or people will have to unwillingly live their lives denying death.
The term "Quality of Living" has become very popular. If this term means to find a hobby or some reason to live and lead a peaceful life, it refers exactly to the problem mentioned previously. In other words, there will be no satisfaction with life and death. The term "quality of life" stands, in reality, with being and accepting life and death.
The writer is a Social Activist for People Who Use Drugs (PUD)