Seeding 1000banner

It is easy to see why mankind invented religion.

A few years ago I was diagnosed with cancer. Looking up the internet resulted in me anticipating not celebrating Christmas at the end of the year. Frightening. Fortunately Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne changed that with some very satisfying treatment, helped by the radiologists at the Murray Valley Radiation Oncology Centre at the Private Hospital in Wodonga.

Prior to cancer being found in me I had been wanting to live for a hundred or more years more as the previous twenty years or so had been post Australia and very interesting. Working in Thailand, South Korea, and Nigeria and experiencing the culture and people had been such a change from nanny state Australia. There was so much else to possibly experience, not as a tourist, but as a working member of the society. The trouble with beginning late in life was that many people regarded me as being old. I thought of myself as anything but old. Generally anyway. Obviously I could no longer gallop across the grass. My back could get upset and remain so for several weeks before it fixed itself. Likewise my knees, or feet, or veins had problems that were not around when I was regarded as younger.

Would you believe that my wife's father had to retire as a policeman in Thailand when he turned 60. I spent two years in China post cancer where it was even worse for women. Get to 50 in the public service and they retire women because they are then old. Unbelievable. Anyway that all that has little to do with the end of life as such. If your life is visibly ending it is far more frightening than the change in life that comes from the transition from work to retirement. Get cancer and life appears to be over. It really is something you do not want to experience. And I hope you don't. In Thailand in 1999 I stayed at a guesthouse for a week and encountered a 59 year old American. He was of the opinion that he was ready to die. He had done all the things he wanted to do. I have never been in that position and cannot think that I ever will be. Hence the attraction of life after death, with or without the dozens of virgins.

Just on that bit, I think they may have got that bit wrong. One man with seventy eight virgins and needing to satisfy each of them at least once a week. That is eleven each day, Monday to Saturday, and twelve on Sunday, FOREVER. Now that is not Heaven, that is HELL!

Buddhists believe that you are reborn as a new lifeform suitable to how you have behaved in your current life. This is an obvious incentive to be good in this one. So just what form will the two who got shot in Bali be in now? Would their original badness override their good works since being told they were to die? A cynic would suggest the good works resulted from impending death, an attempt to convince people they deserved to live, not from some intrinsic goodness. It does show that we should take regard of the laws of the countries we visit and not assume we will be travelling in a culture with similar ideas to Australia.

Maxwell Partington



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