When self itself owns not a “self”…

Puttã m’atthi dhanam m’atthi –Iti bãlo vihannati
Atta hi atano natthi – kuto puttã kutto dhanam

“These sons are mine, this wealth I hold”
The fool raves thus and comes to ruin;

When self itself owns not a “self”
Who are thy sons, what is thy wealth!

We had loved him much and mourned his loss long before we saw him today. – baby Felix de Silva. His parents thought the name meaning happy and fortunate was th apt name for their first born son . Swathed in white in a white coffin with three white roses he looked tiny. His little face was no bigger than my palm and was rosy pink, his eyes shut tight — a little bud that never opened.

In a little room in the Palm Chapel in the Sydney crematorium, the parents– Ranil and Aileen and the closest family — the two mother’s in law, and one of Aileen’s sisters, Ivy gathered to say our last blessings even though his journey on earth never commenced. As there was no Theravada Buddhist priest, I read the pirith stanzas and did the best under the circumstances. Aileen’s mother had already conducted ceremonies in Kuala Lumpur keeping with the Confucian traditions.

We left the parents with the baby to say their last goodbye to find quite a large number of almost 50-60 from their workplaces and their dancing school outside the chapel including my other son.

The sermon was by an Australian converted to Mahayana Tibetan Buddhism – Stewart — who was present at their wedding too. Stewart cuts a calm peaceful but a colourful figure resplendent in a yellow sleeveless shirt, crimson robe and sports a huge tattoo on his right arm. His wide smile, the compassion and love for the parents was evident as he hugged them before delivering a calming and soothing sermon — easing much the tension we had felt throughout these last few days.

To close the ceremony, all of us emerged in to the sunny but sharply cold terrace of the chapel to watch Ranil and Aileen release a white pigeon – and to reflect on the impermanence of life…

“Uninvited he hither came,
And without leave departed hence;
E’en as he came, just so went he,
What ground is here for agony!

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