Author Topic: Footprints on the Journey: Random Thoughts - Khenpo Sodargye  (Read 1716 times)

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Footprints on the Journey: Random Thoughts - Khenpo Sodargye
« on: September 21, 2016, 06:54:32 am »
Random Thoughts

For many people, at the mention of Qingming Day (Tomb-Sweeping Day), the following popular song inevitably comes to mind:

It is drizzling and showering on spring memorial day,
The mourners travel with hearts lost in sadness.
When asked where to find a tavern to stop by,
A shepherd boy points at an apricot blossom village far away.
It is Qingming Day, the traditional “Memorial Day” in Han China designated for paying homage to ancestors and fallen heroes. On the street, many families head to the outskirts of the city in a steady stream; with fresh flowers in hand; they are ready to sweep the tombs of their predecessors and martyrs.

Yet I found myself all alone queuing for physical exams in a hospital. The demons of disease have been raging horrendous wars in my feeble body, leaving me anxious and helpless. But whoever we may be, we have to bear the miseries of illness all alone. It is only in illness that we experience firsthand the sufferings of birth, sickness, aging, and death, which otherwise seem elusive when we are healthy.

Finally it’s my turn after waiting for more than an hour at the billing department. It cost 260 yuan for a blood test alone. Seeing many patients wearing ragged clothes, I wondered how they could manage to pay such high fees for medical care! No wonder it is said in the West: “If you are poor, try not to get sick. The threshold of the hospital is too high to cross.” For people unable to pay medical bills, the only alternative is to wait to die helplessly. How miserable are they!

As I had to wait for the lab report, I rested under a ficus tree reputed to be 150 years old, an age that beats my great grandfather’s. How amazing. My great grandfather has been long gone while this tree still towers majestically. We humans are just no match to trees in terms of lifespan—even if we manage to be disease-free, our days are numbered. Impermanence is indeed frightening!

On the ride home after getting my report, I saw a huge building supposedly owned by someone quite advanced in age. Musing over the old man toward the end of his life and the big building that would remain strong, I felt sorry for those who’re still making long-term plans.

All morning, I was preoccupied with these random thoughts, having neither read books nor recited scriptures.

On the balcony, at noon on Qingming Day
23rd February, Year of RenWu
April 5, 2002


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