House of mourning part 1 &2

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  • Tb
    • Jan 2008
    • 3186

    House of mourning part 1 &2


    In a response to this thread, which i didn't want to intrude upon, i've taken the liberty of translating a short text i made, as a "discussionstarter", after my grandmother had died and people asked me of my view of death and funerals.
    I hope it will serve you well in your practice.

    House of mourning part 1 &2

    Death is a natural part of life.
    Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force.
    Mourn them do not.
    Miss them do not.

    -Master Yoda, star wars

    For many, a funeral is a day of mourning. Many are sorry for the person in question who is dead and gone, which is understandable, but do not forget to rejoice in life and what that person has done.
    In the Bible, ecc 7, speaks of the joy of going to a house of mourning.
    We gather to celebrate a person's behavior and deeds. We gather to celebrate life.
    Funerals, for me, is never a sad event, it is only a step along the way.
    And like every step of the way, it is an important step.
    Going to a house of mourning can make you think more on the days you have, and the desire to make the best of them.

    The funeral ceremony itself has several purposes, but one of the most important is for those present.
    It is an opportunity for reflection and honoring of the dead, each other and life.
    When asked what the ceremony would be for, it was, for me, obvious. For everyone.
    In my take on the ZenBuddhistfuneralceremony, i chose to strip away as much esoteric as possible to put the emphasis on the gathered and the deceased.
    The ritual consists of three parts, the ordination, life history and messages, and leave-taking from the gathered.
    The ordinations are a standard feature of the Zen Buddhist funeralceremony and is a modified shukke Tokkudo, priest / monk ordination, and contains the same elements as if she were alive, albeit slightly modified.
    The Lifestory makes the person more alive in the ceremony.
    The leave-taking may look different. Usually it's an individual or several people who go to the coffin and make their own ceremony, whether it is reading a poem or just stand there in silence.

    Yesterday is a memory,
    tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift,
    which is why it is called the present.
    What the caterpillar perceives is the end;
    to the butterfly is just the beginning.
    Everything that has a beginning has an ending.
    Make your peace with that and all will be well

    - Master oogway, kung fu panda

    In Buddhism we talk about grasping, wanting to hold on to something, but also that everything is in a state of constant change.
    As master Oogway says in kung fu panda "Everything That has a beginning has an ending. Make your peace with that and all will be well"
    If you have something, it will disappear and you'll miss it, cause and effect.
    It's ok, it's part of the process, and if you see that, everything will be well.

    In the Christian faith they talk about that the deceased is again with God.
    In Buddhism, the parallel occassionally used is that of the the wave returning to the ocean.
    Both analogies demonstrate the same, you return to the source, who never left you and always is with you.
    In a sense, You turn your face to the face that is always turned towards you.
    And as much as the face is turned to the you, the face is turned to the deceased, and the deceased's face is turned to you.
    Although the person may seem gone, he never is.
    So let us rejoice, for the person is always with us.
    Last edited by Tb; 05-24-2013, 08:20 AM.
    Life is our temple and its all good practice
  • Nameless
    • Apr 2013
    • 461

    Heart touching Fugen! I agree, funerals should not just be sad and somber, they are a celebration of a person's life and all that they've done. I was raised Catholic, so funerals when I was young were a formal and bleak affair so I thought for a long time that that's how they should be. A few years ago I went to Methodist funeral and I was dumbfounded with how high spirited everyone was, and that they were all wearing polo shirts and informal dresses rather then stuffy suits. The church was filled with laughter, smiles and embraces. I didn't know what to make of it, but it is very beneficial. Death does not have to be seen as only a sad thing. What I tell many who are mourning is that, "At least they are free now."


    Btw always love when I see Star Wars quotes from you.


    • Hans
      • Mar 2007
      • 1853

      Hello Fugen,

      thank you for sharing this. It's a topic that will meet us all head-on at some point.


      Hans Chudo Mongen


      • Mp

        Thank you Fugen.



        • Myozan Kodo
          Friend of Treeleaf
          • May 2010
          • 1901

          Hi Fugen,
          Thanks. The funeral is a big thing in my culture ... the wake. It's a massive celebration.

          I've also been to funerals of family in France (my wife is French) ... and seen the difference.

          In the French case, there was no shared, ritual choreography that was available to everyone, which made it very stilted and awkward.

          When all present know the ritual rules, it's like knowing the moves in a dance, it seems to me.


          Last edited by Myozan Kodo; 05-24-2013, 12:51 PM.


          • Buddhahood
            • May 2013
            • 14

            Thank you, Fugen.
            Gassho, Fredrik


            • Kyonin
              Treeleaf Priest / Engineer
              • Oct 2010
              • 6739

              Very wise and helpful. Thanks Fugen.


              Hondō Kyōnin
              奔道 協忍


              • Daitetsu
                • Oct 2012
                • 1145

                Hi Fugen,

                This is really brilliant - thank you so much!


                no thing needs to be added


                • Koshin
                  • Feb 2012
                  • 938

                  Thank you Fugen, beautiful

                  Thank you for your practice


                  • Dokan
                    Friend of Treeleaf
                    • Dec 2010
                    • 1222

                    Thank you brother.



                    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747 using Tapatalk 2
                    We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.
                    ~Anaïs Nin


                    • Kokuu
                      Treeleaf Priest
                      • Nov 2012
                      • 6735

                      When all present know the ritual rules, it's like knowing the moves in a dance, it seems to me
                      A friend of mine who is ethnically Indian told me how much she regrets not having known ritual rules in her life. Her parents left their Hindu past back in India but never picked up the Christian practices of their adopted homeland. So she feels caught between both and not at home in either. Even though I never felt at home with Anglican Christianity it is still comfortingly familiar when I attend a Christian wedding or school church service and know all the liturgy and moves. Despite not being part of the dance, I could be if I wanted. For others with no faith in their life, the Lord's Prayer and similar are always there for times of need. I guess this is the problem in a secular age - no agreed upon rituals for rites of passage. Establishing new ones can be great but when faced with hard times it can be very comforting to fall back on the familiar. Often I think that those who are militantly atheist miss out on this cultural part of religion.

                      Thank you for your words, Fugen. As always, Master Yoda has much to offer!