[OP-ED] There are Fake Funerals in South Korea Available for Free, But It's Not What You Think

Jay Yim, Nov. 8, 2019, 4:12 p.m.

There is news that free funerals are being offered in South Korea. However, it seems like it's only for people are alive?! What is the meaning of this?! Why would they offer a funeral service for free, to someone is isn't dead? Well this is what is being said.

So far, more than 25,000 people have taken part in mass "living funeral" services at the Hyowon Healing Center since it opened in 2012. This is being done apparently to better their lives by simulating their deaths.

Cho Jae Hee, a 75-year-old woman, took part in the program because her senior welfare center offered it, and she said that, "once you become conscious of death, and experience it, you undertake a new approach to life."

It's not just elderly people who participate, but everyone, from teenagers to retirees. Some things that occur during these "mock" funerals are taking funeral portraits, penning your last testaments, and lying in a closed coffin for about 10 minutes.

The funeral company said that they began to offer the "living funerals" because they wanted to show people how to appreciate the life they have, and also, to seek forgiveness and reconciliation with family and friends.

If this company was doing outrageous things like torture or unneccesarily long periods of time in the coffins, then I would have a much different opinion. But to me, it seems like an interesting, but effective way to show people, essentially, that they shouldn't take life for granted. In addition, if it's allowing for people to re-mend relationships, then it doesn't seem like a bad thing to me.

The reports also said that the leader of the healing center has helped people who have contemplated suicide, and disuaded them from doing so. He was able to show them that they do matter, and that someone else would be devasted if they were gone.

Maybe to some people, it seems like a cult, but the way I see it, this man is doing wonderful things for people, and it really is harmless. As far as I am aware, there are no reports of this man or his company doing horrible things to the people who participate.

All things considered, it actually has me interested in one day going to Korea and trying out one of these "living funerals". Furthermore, maybe they should try doing something like this all around the globe, even here in the U.S. It could be a great way to help people change the way they live. For example, one 28-year-old male who did the mock funeral, Choi Jin Kyu, changed his mindset of viewing others as competitors, and instead of entering a highly-competitive job market, he is starting his own business.

Lastly, if it truly helps those who are depressed and thinking of killing themselves, then no one can say anything bad against that.

What do you guys think of this "living funeral" ordeal happening in Korea. Let us know your thoughts below.

*If you or someone you know and/or love is suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.*

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