To follow up the response I had was
Jhana4 wrote:Venerable A_Martin;
I grew up watching my mother slowly die from complications related of multiple sclerosis. Last spring a friend of mine chose to give up chemotherapy and die a natural death from cancer. I visited her in hospice care and watched what happened to her. A few weeks ago my father had a triple bypass operation. I tell ya, you don't have an appreciation for those things until you meet someone has had one. This weekend I am going to a memorial for a friend who died of hereditary cancer. She was 29. I knew her for about 7 years. When I met her she was a radiantly beautiful fitness nut. I witnessed her get emaciated and come to terms knowing what her low odds of survival were.
I don't what your life experiences have been, but mine have been that people beyond a certain age are not children about the realities of life. Even in the United States, a grieving mother will not find a mustard seed from knocking on the doors of strangers.
First don't worry how to address me, actually you addressed me as Venerable, and that is more than fine. in Thai Than is used to address a monk of less than 10 pansa and it means Venerable, Ajahn is used to adress a thera, Than Acharn is used to adress a Venerable Teacher.
But now back to the question, exceptions confirm the rule, so your experience of seeing people die is not the common one, but to see bodies in a decomposed form or opened up, I don't think many people have, and in the west, before we bury them or burn them we normally beautify the corpse. Just not to see reality.
when I say in the West, then this is to say in general, that does not mean there are no exceptions.
But doesn't it strike you that we hide the dead, the sick and the people of old age, from our daily view, and the fourth messenger the samana(The recluse or the monk ), we hardly see in the west? That's why I think my comparison with living in the West is like living in a palace like Prince Siddharta is quite reasonable.
But the main point I was making, are the suttas, where the Lord Buddha teaches asubha, teaches the loathsomeness of the body and teaches the contemplation of the 32 parts of the body. You can google it, and you will find them easily.
I live in the jungle, where animals decompose very quickly and it is a repulsive smell and sight, also food decomposes very quickly and this is also quite a repulsive smell, you see animals fighting each other to death, eating each other up, and you see corpses, not beautified, corpses burnt with all the smelling and disgusting fluids ejecting from the body like a spring, or the body fat or brain sizzling. A lot of material for contemplating the loathsomeness of the body.
BTW, the only reason for me coming to Thailand was to learn the way beyond greed and hate (this way was not known nor taught in the west at the time I left 1995) and this contemplation of the body, that will deliver us to freedom from greed and hate. (A monk is living a life of celibacy and he certainly has to deal in a proper way to counteract sexual desire and longing for the other sex)
P.s. I never ask people to have respect for me or to treat me respectfully, because I am a monk. If they respect my way of living, my behavior and or the things that I say, that is fine, if they don't that is fine with me as well. In the teachings of the Lord Buddha it should be praised what is worthy of praise and scolded what needs to be scolded. I am fine with it. (BTW do you know that a lot of monks go to hell, and if much faster and deeper than any worldling for they do not adhere to the vinaya? - words of Than Acharn Maha Bua)