I don't know if you happened to see or read about this years Academy Awards ceremomy. If you did you might not remember what picture won for Best Foreign film. If this is the case then you need to know about it.
The film is called "Departures" and it is about a failed Japanese businessman and sometime writer who, through unexpected circumstances, finds himself working as a mortician. Although I have not seen the movie yet, I have a connection to it as I have read the book on which it was based. The book is called "Coffinman" and it was written by Shimon Aoki. I read the book a few years back when it was an assigned reading of the Northampton Shin Buddhist Sangha, led by Taitetsu Unno, who also wrote the introduction to the book.
The book is a fascinating study of life and death as seen through a Japanese Buddhist lens. Toward the beginning of the book there is line which stood out. Early in his new career the author has been called to retrieve a body that has been uattended for some time. As he approaches he sees that it is infested with maggots. After initially being repulsed, he has a sort of spiritual awakening and he then confesses: "Maggots are life, too. When I thought that, I could see the maggots shining".
Wow. I have seen maggots too. My thoughts were not about their nature as shining lifeforms. But I guess that's the whole point. Pretty and ugly are our own judgements. Life itself doesn't seem to care about it. Life is unstoppable. Our end is another beginning. Even if only for maggots.
Now I must say I believe we have a much finer ultimate destination than being food for insects. But I also like the idea of someday being myself "food for life". I mean haven't I relied on "life" for my food all these years? Why shouldn't I give back a little?
So sharpen your teeth maggots! I hope to see you for lunch in about 50 years.
And I can't wait to see this film!