(sitting in the compound of Gerson Clinic, Mexico.)
Today is a sad day for me. My internet friend CT Chang chose to leave this world today, September 11, 2012. It was on this fateful day three years ago that the doctor gave him only 6 months to live. He fought on and lived for another three fruitful years to the day.
Chang started journalising his battle with cancer in his blog "Upekha", and it was through his blog that I came to know him. During the period of three years, Chang had shown his unwavering courage fighting cancer with alternative treatments, as the conventional treatments could not help him. He had gained great admiration for his tenacity and strong will power. He had helped many others personally as well as through the internet.
Chang at entrance of the Gerson Clinic
Chang with Charlotte Gerson
Chang with a clinic caregiver
Chang presenting a talk on "Why Should We Care" April 10, 2011,
at the Royal Lake Club, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Chang, the quintessential Buddhist
Chang, the quintessential Buddhist. His blog is called “Upekha”. He purposely misspelt it for ease of finding his blog, according to him. The correct spelling is “Upekkha” . Upekkha is a Buddhist term in Pali meaning “equanimity” and is an important mindset in one’s spiritual development. In Chang’s own words in his blog heading:
“UPEKHA IS A PALI WORD TO MEAN EQUANIMITY. EVERYTHING IS EQUAL. THIS BLOG CONTAINS THE JOURNALS OF A PERSON WHO HAS STAGE 4 KIDNEY CANCER. IT DETAILS THE EMOTIONAL & MENTAL STATES AND ALSO THE GERSON & OTHER THERAPIES CHOSEN AND PROVIDES DAILY UPDATES WHERE POSSIBLE.”
Chang humbly informed readers which I quote again from his blog :
“I adopt a way of life which most people call Buddhism. I have not developed any level of spiritual attainment. I am a nobody, just someone wandering in samsara (cyclic existence).”
True to Chang’s amiable personality, he allowed every comment in his blog. Throughout the three years, Chang’s blog had attracted a diverse spectrum of readers, with occasional comments bordering on religious proselytizing, despite Chang’s declaration that he was a Buddhist. That did not bother him, for he was above petty issues. Chang was more concerned with the more important and urgent mission of fighting cancer than to allow those little irritancies to affect his quest.
I am in no position to analyze Chang’s sudden downhill slide for the worst. What I would comment is that since he went to China for the HIFU treatment in late December 2011, his condition started to deteriorate. It was an irony; the HIFU treatment was a success having destroyed the targeted tumurs. From the start of 2012, Chang’s postings gave more and more discouraging news on his health and recovery problems.
A closing contemplation for a Buddhist friend, my friend CT Chang
As a closing tribute to my friend; the amiable, compassionate, and courageous cancer warrior, please allow me to recite this Buddhist final contemplation on the final lap of his journey.
I salute you, Chang Chee Teck!
May you have a happy and fruitful rebirth!
May you attain the final bliss of Nibbana in due time!
Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sama Sambuddhassa
(Homage to the Blissful One, the Worthy One, the Fully Enlightened One)
Tesamvupa Samo Sukho
(All component things are indeed transient
They are of the nature of arising and decaying
Having come into being, they cease to be
The cessation of this process is bliss!)
The Chant of Metta by Imee Ooi
(Chang's favourite spiritual piece)