Home » Letters » ‘Dying’ To Live Again?

Question: I came across a Reuters news item titled the above (without the question mark). The article read,

‘For a small fee, one can have a go at the ultimate of second chances – the chance to die, rise again, and make a fresh start in life. At Wat Prommanee temple in Thailand’s Nakhon Nayok province, about 100km east of Bangkok, hundreds of Buddhist believers take turns climbing into one of nine coffins at 9.09am and 1.09pm every day. The unusual resurrection service lasts about 90 seconds for each group and is believed to wash away bad luck and prolong life. Once in the coffins, visitors hold a banquet of flowers, whisper some prayers, then lie down and “die”. Monks pass a white cloth over the coffins, triggering the symbolic death and sucking up the bad karma.’ (See http://www.asiaone.com/static/multimedia/gallery/110530_die for pictures)

Is this a genuine Buddhist practice?

Answer: Unless the temple has a clear and valid explanation of how it works, it doesn’t seem so. You can read more views about this ceremony in a review of a movie called ‘The Coffin’, which was inspired by this recent phenomenon: http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=12,7322,0,0,1,0 (Lying in ‘The Coffin’ to Contemplate Death?)

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One Response to “‘Dying’ To Live Again?”

  1. The act is merely symbolic.

    If karma can be changed by rituals, temples would be kept very busy and there would be no need for teachers and practising the Dharma.

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