Cuiting Chen

Abstract 摘要

Two major issues in hospice care are pain and death. For those who are facing death and dying, the issues are intensified. This paper discusses the issues relating to death and hospice care in a framework of the Daoist philosophy on life and death, as outlined in the Zhuangzi. The author attempts to show that the wisdom of Daoism can help us to deal with the finitude and vulnerability of human life when facing death. According to the Zhuangzi, the world of experience is constantly transforming and death is part of that transformation. Therefore, it is possible for the adaptive qualities of the perfectly well-adjusted person to remain balanced in the midst of this unavoidable stage of change and transformation (hua). This realization of the impermanence of life and the transient nature of worldly things, even human relations, leads to the Daoist attitude of non-attachment that enables one to realize the true nature of life and death. The paper concludes that a positive attitude toward life and death, as represented in the Zhuangzi, can help patients and their family members to deal with the pain of illness and death. The author also points out that embracing natural transformation is a way for the Daoist to attain the self-transcendence that ultimately dismantles the dichotomy between life and death.