The Elements of Fire and Healing Souls

It is just been over five days that my staff Karma Wangmo’s family lost their youngest member Tandin Gyeltshen to a tragic motor accident that happened just outside their home.

When the Tsip (astrologer) told the family to arrange for wooden box to bury the deceased child in the water, I was angry for one moment and curious since then. Children who die below the age of eight are not cremated but buried in water. The astrologer was not sure about the reasons for water burial but I only assume that water cleansing is enough to purify children’s sin while fire is not enough to cleanse the adult. I hope the reason is justified enough for Karma’s family who will have to live with the fact that someone close to them is buried in cold water.

Even as the loved one perished within moments, another life, that of the driver who ran over the truck on the innocent unsuspecting child lay begging for forgiveness. The wife and children of the driver endured equal, if not more test of water and fire. They looked upon Karma hoping silently that she and her family would forgive the mistake worth a child’s life.

The responsibilities they faced called upon them to make decisions that demanded wisdom from all ages. And when Karma and her family uttered words of forgiveness within broken sentences punctuated by silent teardrops, I was deeply touched. No amount of punishment and hatred would bring back the dead. It would only chain those lives connected with the “hated and unforgiven” in another peg of misery.

It is these elements of Buddhist values like forgiveness, tolerance, compassion, love and hope that has made our lives lot worth living.

Elsewhere around the world, the strong forces of hatred have destroyed many lives and continue to do so. Thousands of people go through daily horrors and yet, they just become news and are quickly forgotten. It is in this context that I believe that religious belief is very vital part of family life. It provides platform for civilization to progress.

It is our homes which provide for emotional and physical security. A strong personality developed at home make men and women face the heavy responsibilities of life. And responsibility like having to cope with emotional disasters sometimes call for spiritual and emotional strength which only good religion, good home , good society and good companion can give.


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