Thursday, July 20, 2023

The World Bardo


 The World Bardo 

S. and I went to a temple today. It’s the fifth anniversary of her mother Shil An’s death. Suki remembers the exact moment it happened.

Her eldest brother Su man has been gone four years, and my brother Richard ten.

Since S’s family is Buddhist, Buddhist imagery, ritual and cosmology tends to imbue any anniversary that occurs. My brother wasn’t Buddhist, or any religion at all — if anything, he was nihilistically atheist. Yet in the writings he left behind there is a very pronounced emphasis on “eternal return” and the elementary nature of universal cycles. S. and I often talk of how much he would have enjoyed temples if he’d made it to Asia.

In the meantime, my father (just as atheist as my brother) lies in a hospital in Toronto. The medical team reassures me he’s stable. But he himself is obviously nervous when we talk every day on the phone. S. and I have plane tickets and we’ll be able to see him in a week.

Cycles continue. And are unpredictable.

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