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“Kelvin Chin Leads a Discussion on Exploring the Issues of Life and Death”
by San Francisco reporter, Chen Yu-up
April 14, 2015
Overcoming the Fear of Death Foundation's Executive Director, Kelvin Chin (Chinese name: Chen Jie Ru), gave a lecture on April 13, 2015 at the Commonwealth Club to discuss issues related to death, including the loss of loved ones, to help improve the understanding, attitudes and ideas about death. The Foundation aims to help people overcome their fear of death from whatever belief, faith or culture they come from, and to help them improve their understanding and interpretation of death.
Kelvin Chin graduated from Boston College School of Law, has 40 years of business leadership and legal services experience. He has served as vice president of the American Arbitration Association for a decade, an ombudsman at MIT, and has provided legal services to many companies. In working with people over the years, he has included self-exploration as part of the process. He began teaching meditation in 1970 and since then has taught more than 1000 students, and in the 1980’s began to provide people with advice on dealing with death and dying issues.
Kelvin Chin said that if you believe that after you die that is the end, then you should not be afraid of death because after you die, you will not experience anything. However, if your body dies and you believe that your mind continues, and you are afraid of what then happens, that is the "fear of continued existence," or being worried about the unknown and what may happen after death. This fear tends to consume physical and mental energy and so it affects the quality of our life.
About the area called Recognition Memories, he said, "Many people have this type of experience, I call them 'recognition memories' – it may be a place you have never visited but you feel like you've been there before, it feels inexplicably familiar. This may be a precursor, a beginning of a past life memory." He said that some people believe that this life is a continuation of a past life, that death is not the end, but merely a transition into the next stage of that person's life.
He said "virtue" is one of the keys to overcoming fear, but "virtue" here does not refer to just following rules about goodness, morality or conscience, but instead refers to intrinsic understanding and awareness of one's self, strengthening self-identity and increasing self-confidence. As we begin to understand death as a transition, and maybe even as a new beginning, then we need to seize the opportunity to live in the moment, live in the present, and to live by values that help us live a happier life with a steadfast heart and with confidence as we continue our journey.
An audience member suggested that he did not have any memories of past lives, and asked whether that would deny the existence of the continuation of his soul and the afterlife.
Kelvin Chin responded by saying that memory is not always accurate, he said, "I may clearly remember 10 years ago winning a highly contested business lawsuit, but I cannot remember what I ate for dinner last week. Sometimes people will forget boring, sad and painful memories, but what is important are the lessons learned from memories and how they can inform us about our personality, what we can learn from that. For example, if I had a memory of being the only survivor in a naval battle on the Mediterranean thousands of years ago, and my warship sank, and all alone I was holding the wreckage to stay alive, in my current life I may not remember how my comrades died, or how tragic the fighting was, but what I remember mostly is my 'will to live' and how that has helped me through difficult times in this lifetime."
He said, "People grow and change over time, but their personalities I think pretty much stay intact, maybe changing slowly incrementally over long periods. But I think there is this innate part of our personality that continues over time, and, who knows, maybe the possibility of past life experiences that may have affected it along the way."
「征服死亡恐懼基金會」執行長陳介儒（Kelvin Chin）13日在聯邦俱樂部（Commonwealth Club）舉辦座談會，探討與死亡相關的議題，包括協助失去摯愛的人轉換心境，並以不同的態度和想法理解死亡。基金會旨在協助受死亡困擾的民眾走出陰霾，從需求者的信仰與文化觀點出發，增進對死亡的了解並加以詮釋。
陳介儒畢業於波士頓大學法學院，有40年的商業領導和法律顧問資歷。曾擔任十年的美國仲裁協會（American Arbitration Association）副會長、麻省理工大學監察委員、提供不同企業法律諮詢。多年來與人互動中，他逐漸反思自我、探討內在。從1970年起開班教授修行，至今有超過1000名學生，1980年起提供為受死亡困擾的人提供諮詢。
他說：「人成長過程中性格會因經歷而改變，如此，與生俱來的個性是否不能排除，曾受前世經驗所影響的可能性？」[Originally published in World Journal, April 14, 2015]