Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Born Again - Korean Style

It’s an odd way to celebrate life by crawling into a cold coffin, but for ‘Seoul-searching‘ South Koreans it appears to be just the ticket to self-renewal. Yes I am referring to none other than the ‘Coffin Academy’, a seminar of sorts celebrating life through mock death.

The idea is for a living person to take stock of their life. Embrace the opportunity to acknowledge their failings and fears in a life suddenly at end. They write epitaphs for their tombstones, wills for their families, and reflect quietly upon the darkness that awaits them in vast beyond.

The 4 hour seminar ends with clients donning a ceremonial death robe, followed by willingly lying down in a claustrophobic wood casket. The top is pulled shut and then pounded down with rubber mallets to simulate literally the “final” nails in the coffin. This exercise lasts for a mere 10 minutes and supposedly offers an emotional catharsis and re-birth of spirit for those who choose to participate. Does not sound too bad as long as you wisely avoided the 3-bean n' brocolli snack salad at breaktime.

My initial reaction was not what you might think. I thought $25 for the class was a pretty good value; aside from the fact that it's for a vampire day-spa kind of thing? I wondered if the concept would catch on here in the States? I mean the ideals of self-reflection and renewal are fairly universal topics on Sundays in this town. Plus not to be a harpy on the cost thing, but the Korean’s buy-in for 4 hours of fun sure puts our local Redemption time to collection plate ratio to shame. Although, in church you do get to lay on TOP of the wood planks rather than under them. Check out the following LA Times link for details , or turn off the lights and crawl in your bathtub for a LIVE demonstration. Nothing simulates death better than the feeling of hot flesh against cold porcelain!

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