Sunday, 4 November 2007

"Like a moth to a flame"

Yesterday when I came home in the afternoon there was a big white moth resting near my window pane, very near to my desk where the photos of all my gurus were. It rested there till late at night even when I came back after puja. Then it flew away. Then I recalled it was there since the previous night as I heard the fluttering of its wings a couple of times.
I have had some experience with moths and butterflies, especially when there was a passing away of family or friends. Two weeks ago, the day when I heard about Baby Andrew, when I came home, a black moth flew very fast from the Buddha's altar towards me and quickly out of the window. When I went into my bedroom, another moth quickly flew out too. Last year when my close friend's grandmother passed away, at the wake, a huge butterfly was following the monk when he chanted the last rites. Last month, when my aunt's father in law passed away, I also saw a black moth fluttering around the altar table before flying off. When one of my aunt's niece passed away many years ago, a huge white butterfly was seen flying around in her room. Many years ago, when my grandmother passed away, there were 3 big black moths that were lying dead outside my house door. So I can't help but wonder what is it this time??????

On the internet the possible butterfly and moth symbolism by Ron Gagliardi in his thesis on butterfly and moths : Omen of Good Luck
Butterflies apparently have a great deal to do with luck, both good and bad. In Louisiana it is thought that good luck will follow shortly after a white butterfly flies into your house and flies around you.
Soul Butterflies are souls of the dead waiting to Pass through Purgatory.

Reincarnated Being
In the Solomon Islands, a "dying man has a choice as to what he will become at death and often chooses a butterfly." Among the Nagas of Assam the dead are believed to go through a series of transformations in the underworld and are finally reborn as butterflies. When the butterfly dies, that is the end of the soul forever. The Maya looked upon butterflies also as the spirits of dead warriors in disguise descending to earth.

As Uncaring as a Butterfly
The usual, Western, view is that the butterfly is a carefree creature. His Holiness the Dalai Lama explains that, rather than carefree, it is uncaring: 

"The butterfly never meets its mother. It must survive independently and remains a stranger to affection. An animal nurtured by mother's milk, however, is dependent on another for its basic survival. A child who grows up in a cold and detached home environment is similar to the butterfly, in that kindness is sparing. Once an adult, it will be very difficult for that person to show compassion."

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