Even death is not feared by those who lived wisely.

My great grandmother passed away last Sundayv (she’s the eldest woman in the photos – mother of my mother’s father). The subject is a quote from the Buddha.

I’ve learned more in the past few days about my family’s religious traditions than I have the rest of the time I’ve been alive. In the Vietnamese-Buddhist tradition, there are many Buddhas that are venerated (sixty-two, I think). My great grandmother’s funeral rituals lasted more or less two days. Rituals continue for another lifetime as kin keep the spirit of the dead alive. My father is anti-organized religion, but it was enlightening (pardon the pun) to see a religious side of my mother’s family. My great grandmother was very religious; she meditated and read Buddhist prayer everyday, and even kept vegetarian for decades. The remains after her cremation left purple and green bone fragments that, according to Vietnamese lore, means she’s resting with the Buddhas in the sky/heavens. This has been one of the few times I’ve hoped for an afterlife. My great grandmother was one of the most patient, kind-hearted, gracious person I’ve ever met. Even though we had massive language barrier, I could tell that she was a pure and genuine person. She was religious, but not preach-y. She grew up when women didn’t go to school and was forced to marry young, having only my grandfather. She was forgiving to a fault, and I do hope she’s resting peacefully now. After her long life, she deserves the best any world can show.

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