Adapted from a horror story, ‘Mee Pok Man’ (1995) is an ‘innocent’ love story that turns into a heartbreaking tragedy. In an unqualified attempt to save his crush from a car crash while skipping a timely hospital visit, a mentally challenged man carries her home, and tries to nurse her back to health. While eventually ‘making love’ with her somewhat semi-confusingly, semi-consciously and semi-consensually, she passes away, without him being aware immediately. (Necrophilia is against the Buddhist precepts and societal law, as there is no consenting adult.)
Perhaps rejecting the truth of her death with his suppressed grief and loneliness, he continues trying to live ‘normally’ with her, changing her clothes, eating and chatting ‘with’ her. This goes on as she exhibits signs of decay. Already ‘sweet’ and loving in his simple ways when she was alive, this does not change even as their one-way ‘relationship’ literally rots at the other end. While it seems increasingly horrible, is such extreme love true? If there is no opportunity for lust to be expressed any more, is such love pure, or just attachment?
There was a short story read, of a man who seems to exaggerate his great love for a beautiful woman. Eventually, they do get together. But as the days go by, she ‘morphs’ physically, to be ever more hideous conventionally. However, throughout these milestone changes, the man continues his same lovey-dovey praise of her. As the story proceeds with more ‘disgusting’ descriptions of her, juxtaposed with his unchanging adoration, the reader becomes shocked at his or her own superficiality, while wondering if the man is even sane.
So what is true love? It is pure physical and spiritual care and concern, that is free of lust and greed, that loves on despite extreme changes in the beloved. In the Buddhist context, there is always one single ‘aspect’ that is unchanging within all sentient beings, that urges the Buddhas to truly love all impartially. It is Buddha-nature – the hidden potential to become perfectly ‘lovely’ Buddhas, despite external bodily changes and even changes in mind within the rounds of rebirth. It is what makes every sentient being lovable and worth loving.