New Life After Death

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“As the Year of the Rooster clucks to an end, may the Dog lead us to happiness.”

– Quiet Riley –

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musings of an afterlife

As I wandered around the National Museum in Beijing, I came across these ancient death suits made of jade and golden thread sometime during the Han Dynasty. Resting my forehead upon their glass enclosures, I thought about our funeral rites today (cremation, burial, etc.) and started wondering if such mundane rites truly lead our souls into the great beyond or if they are simply convenient ways of disposing our bodies and nothing more.

Having turned on the practical side of my brain, I came to the understanding that culture, social status, spirituality and money strongly dictate where our dormant vessels go and how they are dealt with, but what if we are getting the “formula” wrong? What if there are more elaborate and artistic requirements of handling the dead (mummification, ancient rituals, jade masks, etc) than merely stuffing a body into a coffin, adding a touch of rouge, displaying it to friends and relatives, then burning it into ashes and pouring the remains into a receptacle, where it could sit on someone’s shelf and collect dust for eons?

I know. Sounds cynical. But I’m afraid cynical is the feeling people of today have towards the afterlife, where our souls reside until the next stage of existence. If the ancient Chinese, Egyptians, Mayans, Native Americans and multitudes of other cultures prepared bodies for the afterlife as if it were an extension of our physical world, then why shouldn’t we?