Monday, 29 September 2008

On the road 4

Healing power of voices
I was introduced to Dr Goh at Selayang Hospital. She is the founder of the Hospice centre whose mission is taking care of dying people in the rightful buddhist tradition. I was in discussion with her to see if a collaboration between her centre with the 1000 stars foundation in Bangkok was possible. The talk was promising.

In the lobby where patients waited in agony, I watched impermanence and emptiness of self in close inspection. Hospital is where life begins and ends. To me it's also the most practical place to observe Buddha's teaching on life's impermanence.

Dr Goh told me the importance of talking with the dying people in dignity and truth. And it reminded me of a hospital ruin I once visited in Perga, Turkey. I was informed by the tour guide that the doctors, during the Byzantine period, built a long tunnel filled with water and plants for patients to walk inside.

And the doctors themselves, being sympathetic, would talk to the patients in angelic voices through a specially designed sound "holes" via the tunnel. And it healed many of the patients with the voice therapy. I found it so miraculous if we knew how to watch our speech and make good use of it.

At the hospital lobby where I bid farewell to Dr Goh, I suddenly thought of Brian Eno and his soothing, haunting music.

The British composer, once laid on bed in hospital after a serious accident, said of his new discovery on music combined with the environment. It all happened with a broken tape recorder playing music so faint it almost blended with the sounds of the rain outside Eno's room. Hence he had an idea of combining these two elements together and became the pioneer of ambient music.

The hospital, after all, is not such a bad place to get yourself in touch with enlightenment.

Ruins at Perga, founded around 1000 BC.

Music for airport, Eno's debut in 1972.

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