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Thread: Question about the ashes of the dead

  1. #1

    Question about the ashes of the dead

    This question is more for Jundo and Taigu as well as the unsui, but anyone who's lived in Japan or familiar with the funeral customs there can answer. We were having lunch together with my siblings when my brother turned to me and asked if I knew of any Buddhist rituals involving the transfer of ashes of dead ones. See, he wants to put a tiny portion of our parents' ashes into a smaller container which he can keep in his home, another portion for me to put in my house, and so on - and the rest (the biggest portion) will be placed in a specially prepared place in the family's property in the mountainside. So I turned to my wife and she said as far as she knows they don't do that in Japan. But my brother knew this Japanese guy who did exactly that with his loved ones' ashes. My wife said it might be a different Buddhist tradition from the one her family practices (her dad's a priest). So, is there such a thing in our tradition?

    I figured I'd ask and in case there really isn't I'll just offer a chant of the Heart Sutra or something (Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo comes to mind) and another of the siblings can offer a prayer from the Catholic tradition.



  2. #2
    Hi Rafael,

    Yes, some people do divide ashes here, although it is usually at the time of cremation. There is no reason not to do so as you describe. I believe that the Heart Sutra would be most appropriate. There is a chant called Shariraimon that we sometimes chant, as at this memorial for a Priest who was important in my life.

    However, there is no reason you need to chant that, and you could chant the Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo or anything that might have special meaning to your heart.

    Gassho, J

  3. #3
    Thanks Jundo.



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