Baby in a Fishtank… (Buddhism and Impermanence)

Baby in a fishtank, Buddhism and impermanence

There’s something about a baby in a fishtank.

In biology we all saw the pig head or frogs bobbing
up and down in a glass bottle with a screwed on
plastic lid. And that was OK. That was even fun.

We had more fun dissecting those frogs and pigs
than kids really, genuinely had a need for. It was
fantastic fun and those were the days…

Fast forward 20 years. Moved to Thailand to
broaden my “worldview”. Visited a wat (temple)
in the northeast and saw this at an outdoor hall.
Now, I’m not easily offended as you might imagine.

There isn’t a whole lot I haven’t seen in person or
on the internet. But, a dead baby in a fishtank had
to be a “first”.

Now, had I seen this in a more controlled
environment… a morgue, a doctors office, a
university lab… then there might be very little I
had to say about it at all. No, it was the environ-
ment that shocked me and I’m not really sure why.

I understand why the baby was there and the
skeleton with it. The Buddhists believe that life is
impermanent – everything is impermanent. To
cling to something that will surely pass – is folly.
It causes pain. Emotional pain. The Buddhists
seek to rid themselves of pain.

But, couldn’t they have put the baby’s skeleton
there instead? I think what bothered me is that
it was there – kind of open to the animals – if any
wanted to get into it. Not that they would, the
smell of formaldehyde must be a strong
enough repellent. But, the animal would have to
break open the fishtank to even smell the
chemical… and once broken… well, there’s the
kid laying on the floor…

I once had an experience while meditating in
which I was seeing / sensing something in the
carpet as I stared. It was not a boy nor a girl,
and yet “both” in some way… it was “life” in
some fashion… and it was related in someway
or had a connection to my mom, myself and my
wife at the time.

The next night my wife screamed from the
shower… I ran in and saw what we both
couldn’t believe… she had miscarried right
there and it was the unmistakeable form
of a very small fetus about the size of an
inch – covered with small placenta and a
lot of blood…

Maybe this is why the baby so close to the
ground bothered me so much… not sure.

What are your thoughts? Have you ever seen
something like this? On TV? On the internet?

Author: Vern

I'm an American expat living in Thailand. I like to write informative pieces about life in, living in Thailand, including topics like: Thai People, Thai Culture, Nightlife, Technology, and I have published a lot of photographs, videos, and even books on Thailand that you can find at There are many photographs of Thailand here - feel free to share with attribution (a link back to the home page). All written content on this site by Vern Lovic. Contact me at Google+.