UNDERTAKER

Saeng (Light) is forty two.
“When I was twenty five, I died.”
Four men in white with red caps
led him away along a gravel road.
On either side were sālās,
evidence of his good deeds.
At the end of the road were monks
and he gave alms to them.
The men in white said it was not yet his time
and he could go home.
He walked back alone
and the path was covered
with thorn needles.
He saw his body surrounded
by relatives dressed in white.
They had put his hands together
as a sign of respect for the Triple Gem.
They had bought a coffin
but were pleased
when they saw he was still alive.
He never told them his story,
“They would not understand it”.
He made an adhitthāna: *
“In future, I will do only good karma.”
He has been working
as an undertaker ever since.
“Since then I truly believe there is karma
and the result of karma.
If anyone cannot afford a funeral
or a coffin. I pay for it myself.”

The Thais say that twenty five
is a crucial age.
You can go either way.

* adhitthāna: resolution

(from BAMBOO LEAVES poetry in Thailand)

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