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Thread: Announcement: Parinirvana Memorial & Zazenkai 2020

  1. #1

    Announcement: Parinirvana Memorial & Zazenkai 2020

    Dear All,

    A few years back, some of our Treeleaf Sangha members requested a day to remember those who had passed from this world among family and friends ...

    February is a time of Memorial & Celebration for NEHAN-E (Parinirvana Gathering), the traditional day to mark the historical Buddha's death and passing from this visible world. This is also a day for each of us to remember in our homes those family and friends who have gone before. Although this holiday is marked specifically on February 15th in Japan, our Sangha and others will celebrate during the coming weeks.

    We will begin this weekend with Zazenkai, to be netcast live next Friday-Saturday (depending on your location), joinable any time thereafter by "when you need" recording.

    ... which will include SPECIAL CHANTS & CEREMONY to recall our parents, grand-parents, siblings, our relatives near and distant, all our ancestors reaching back through the generations, and our dear friends and other cherished ones who have passed. Our Memorial is also in honor of Master Gudo Wafu Nishijima and Rempo Niwa Zenji, my Teacher and his Teacher. We also honor in our Zendo in Tsukuba the portraits of two Teachers who were very important to me in Japan, Jiho Sargent Roshi and Azuma Ikuo Roshi.

    Should you wish, there is also an "at home" ceremony for you to undertake with your loved ones in memory, details below. This tradition was also begun at the request of many of our Treeleaf Sangha members who asked for a family ritual at home to remember their friends and family who have passed.


    This is the day that Shakyamuni Buddha is said to have died near the town of Kushinagara on the banks of the Hiranyavati River. A big scroll or statue depicting the Buddha entering Nirvana is displayed and a ceremony expressing our gratitude to the Buddha is performed. The Sanskrit term ‘Nirvana’ literally means ‘extinction, the extinction of the worldly illusions and passions.’ Wherever the extinction of illusions and passions is being achieved, there will be a calm and peaceful Nirvana, but the term which applies to this particular day means the death of the Buddha Shakyamuni.

    It is said that at the time of his death the Buddha was sleeping on a bed that had been prepared between two sala trees; his head to the north, his face to the west, and his right hand for a pillow. At that time, white flowers bloomed on the sala trees and fell continuously. The story is related how many of his disciples, men and women of all ages, and even birds and animals gathered, sighing with sadness. The Buddha gave his last discourse, expounding the fundamental truth – even though the physical body dies, the Dharma is unbounded by time; in order to see the Buddha, it is simply necessary to see the Dharma. In this way, he taught his disciples the Precepts and the way they should maintain the practice of Buddha’s Way. This sermon is called the Yuikyogyo, the Last Teaching of Shakyamuni Buddha (or "Sutra of the Last Teaching Bequeathed by the Buddha"). He passed away at the age of 80 and entered into "Mahaparinirvana", that which cannot be truly "entered" or "departed", the absolute free state of Enlightenment.

    Though marking events of some 25 centuries ago and far away, the moment is truly beyond count or time, found here and all places.

    And so, might we encounter our lost loved ones and friends as neither gone nor far away, beyond time ... found here and all places ...

    Parinirvana Ceremony
    (At Home Portion)
    To Be Conducted on a Day near to February 15th.

    (This Portion is to be conducted, should you wish, at each family's home on an evening of your choosing.)

    Please frame an image of the "Reclining Buddha" (Buddha on His Death Bed) ... There are many available in this thread and online ...


    At home, after dark, this framed picture should be placed on a table with incense (incense burner to be placed in front of the picture of the Buddha) and/or candles (to be placed in front of the picture of Buddha if without incense, to the sides of the incense if with), photographs or other reminders of the loved ones and friends to be remembered (to be placed to the right and left of the picture of the Buddha), all surrounded by fresh flowers and/or fruit (such as apples or oranges), and a small cup containing sweetened water or tea (representing an offering to quench all thirst). It is fine to place a small toy on the table for any children whose passing is being remembered. Family members will gather, dressed neatly. Family members can stand in Gassho or simply respectfully, as one adult representing the family lights the incense and/or candles, offers Three Standing Gassho Bows, and (holding the paper in the manner as shown) recites the following before the image of Buddha:

    This is the day of the Buddha’s Parinirvana, the time some 25 centuries ago when the Thus Come One entered Parinirvana, Final Nirvana, the day of the historical Buddha’s passing from this visible world. With each passing day, let us cherish life. Mindful of transiency, let us live this life and pursue our Path with diligence and care.

    We remember our dear (say as applicable, and add their first names where possible) parents, grand-parents, siblings, our relatives near and distant, all our ancestors reaching back through the generations, and our dear friends and other cherished ones who have passed from this visible world. All in their way, by their lives, made our lives in this present moment possible and are the root of our being. They supported us, befriended and nurtured us, each in their way, both in ways clearly seen and ways sometimes obscured and hidden to our eyes. To each we express and offer our caring, boundless love, greetings, embrace, gratitude, mutual understanding and forgiveness, tolerance and hope for their peace and rest.

    As was taught in the Sutra of the Last Teaching Bequeathed by the Buddha, spoken by the Tathagata with regard to his own passing …

    O good followers of the path! Do not grieve! Even if we were to live in the world for as long as great aeons of time, our coming together would someday have to end. There can be no coming together without parting. A life which benefited both self and others has reached completion. What has been said, has been said. What has been done, has been done. Even if we were to live longer, there would be nothing to add. …

    Therefore, you should know that all things in the world are impermanent; coming together inevitably means parting. Do not be troubled, for this is the nature of life. Live and Practice diligently with right effort, find liberation immediately and, with the light of wisdom, remove the darkness of ignorance. Thus the Body of the Tathagata’s Dharma will be realized as timeless and indestructible. Yes, nothing is secure, and everything in this life is precarious. Yet, do not think that “The light has ceased.” It should not be seen like this. For what I have lit shall be your light, all living beings shall be the light, this bright world, and your very mind itself, shall be this same light continuing on.

    Now, good followers of the way! You should always wholeheartedly seek the path of liberation. Yes, all things in the world, whether moving or seemingly non-moving, are characterized by disappearance and instability. Yet, be as lamps unto yourselves and pass on that light throughout generation after generation and to everyone in this world.

    Stop now! Do not speak! Time is passing. I am about to cross over. This is my final teaching.

    Family member leading the ceremony then announces that “A moment of silence will now be held in memory of those commemorated here, all our Ancestors and Friends who have departed this visible world.” After the moment of silence, the family leader will then say some words, speaking from the heart in a relaxed and conversational way, in memory of the individuals (remembering some specifically by name, others more generally) who are being recalled, telling something to the others who are gathered (especially any children present) about the people being remembered. The theme of the short talk should emphasize love, friendship, gratitude and (if needed in some cases) forgiveness of the past.

    The ceremony is closed with the words, “We will carry each of you in our hearts, and wish peace to you and peace to all who remain behind.” That is followed by Three Standing Gassho Bows, and the ceremony is over.

    The altar at home should be kept until after sundown the next day. Candles should not be left burning after the ceremony in the interest of safety.

    NOTE: If the person wishes in respect of the religious sensibilities of other members of the family, the images of Buddha and Incense need not be included, and the content of the Ceremony and references to the Buddha can be altered as felt appropriate.


    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 02-17-2020 at 01:09 PM.

  2. #2
    The Special Chants and Ceremony during our Zazenkai this coming Friday-Saturday will have the following content. Please print out the following if you will join sitting this Zazenkai:


    Parinirvana Ceremony (at Nehan-e Zazenkai Portion)

    This Friday-Saturday, we will hold our netcast Zazenkai, with a special Ceremony to mark the event.

    A statue of the reclining ‘Buddha Entering Parinirvana’ and a plaque which reads "For All Generations of Zen Ancestors" will be given special prominence.

    The Ceremony will begin as usual, with Three Full Prostrations, but with the following differences:

    - Shariraimon, in English recited 1x, will be our first chant.

    - Hannya Shingyo (Heart Sutra) will be recited in Japanese.

    - Followed by the Ino reading a special Dedication for Parinirvana

    Ceremony begins as always but, after Lighting Incense and Three Prostration:

    Ino: “The Verse of Homage to Buddha's Relics, Shariraimon” (shariRAImoooon)…

    Instrumentation:[*] Bell; Accompanied by Mokugyo. (NOTE TO INO-DOAN: STYLE IS SIMILAR TO "HEART SUTRA IN ENGLISH, BUT SLOW. RECITE 1x, bells as indicated[*]

    With/ whole/heart/ed/ gra/ti/tude/ we/ bow/
    to/ the/ re/lics/ still/ pre/sent of/ the/ True/ Bo/dy/ [*] of/ the/ Ta/tha/ga/ta/ Sha/kya/mu/ni,/
    who/ is/ ful/ly/ en/dowed/ with/ my/ri/ad/ vir/tues;/
    to/ the/ Dhar/ma/ Bo/dy/ which/ is/ Truth/ it/self;/
    and/ to/ the/ whole/ u/ni/verse/ which/ is/ his/ Stu/pa./
    With/ deep/ res/pect/ we/ ve/ner/ate/ the/ One/
    who /lived/ his/ life/ for/ the/ sake/ of/ all/ be/ings./
    Though/ the/ sus/ten/ance/ of/ Bud/dha,/ the/ Truth/
    en/ters/ us/ and/ we/ en/ter/ Truth./
    Let/ us/ strive/ to/ be/ne/fit/ all/ li/ving/ be/ings,/[*] a/rouse/ the/ thought/ of/ A/wa/ken/ing,/
    cul/ti/vate/ Bod/hi/sat/tva/ Prac/tice,/
    and/ to/ge/ther/ en/ter/ Per/fect/ Peace,/ [*] the/ pen/e/tra/tion/ of/ the/ e/qua/li/ty/ of/ all/ things./
    Now/ let/ us/ re/ver/ent/ly/ bow.

    Then … Followed by 3 bells and offering of Incense:

    Ino: “Maka Hannya Haramita Shin Gyo”

    Following by Hannya Shingyo in Japanese

    Kan Ji Zai Bo Satsu Gyo Jin Han Nya Ha Ra Mi Ta Ji Sho
    Ken Go[*] On Kai Ku Do I Sai Ku Yaku Sha Ri Shi Shiki Fu
    I Ku Ku Fu I Shiki Shiki Soku Ze Ku Ku Soku Ze Shiki Ju
    So Gyo Shiki Yaku Bu Nyo Ze Sha Ri Shi Ze Sho Ho Ku
    So Fu Sho Fu Metsu Fu Ku Fu Jo Fu Zo Fu Gen Ze Ko Ku
    Chu Mu Shiki Mu Ju So Gyo Shiki Mu Gen Ni Bi Ze Shin
    Ni Mu Shiki Sho Ko Mi Soku Ho Mu Gen Kai Nai Shi Mu
    I Shiki Kai Mu Mu Myo Yaku Mu Mu Myo Jin Nai Shi Mu
    Ro Shi Yaku Mu Ro Shi Jin Mu Ku Shu Metsu Do Mu Chi
    Yaku Mu Toku I Mu Sho Tok ko Bo Dai Sat Ta E Han-Nya
    Ha Ra Mi Ta Ko[*] Shin Mu Kei Ge Mu Kei Ge Ko Mu
    U Ku Fu On Ri Is-Sai Ten Do Mu So Ku Gyo Ne Han San
    Ze Sho Butsu E Han Nya Ha Ra Mi Ta Ko[*] Toku A Noku
    Ta Ra San Myaku San Bo Dai Ko Chi Han-Nya Ha Ra Mi
    Ta Ze Dai Jin Shu Ze Dai Myo Shu Ze Mu Jo Shu Ze Mu
    To Do Shu No Jo Is sai Ku Shin Jitsu Fu Ko Ko Setsu Han
    Nya Ha Ra Mi Ta Shu Soku Setsu Shu Watsu Gya* Tei
    Gya Tei Ha Ra Gya Tei Hara[*] So Gya Tei Bo Ji Sowa Ka
    Han Nya Shin Gyo [* * *]
    Followed by Dedication after Heart Sutra, as follows:

    Buddha Nature pervades the whole universe, Reality, existing right here now: We recall this day when some 2500 years ago, Shakyamuni Buddha, our historical Teacher, entered into Parinirvana. In reciting THE VERSE OF HOMAGE TO THE BUDDHA’S RELICS and THE HEART OF THE PERFECTION OF GREAT WISDOM SUTRA we offer our reverence, and dedicate this gathering, to our great original source teacher, Shakyamuni Buddha. On this day of his entry into Parinirvana, mindful of his Teachings, we go forward with boundless gratitude and joy and vow to practice endlessly…

    The Pure Dharma Body of the Buddha is always clear, beyond birth and death and expressed by all things, yet cannot be seen so long as one is lost in duality. The Buddha lived within coming and going, birth and death, a man of great compassion for all living beings. For this we bow in gratitude, and aspire that we may illuminate our minds in the midst of delusion.

    On this day we have gathered to commemorate our Great Teacher Shakyamuni Buddha’s entry into Parinirvana, and we offer incense, flowers, light, fruit and sweet water, all symbols of reverence, life and the satisfaction of all desires. We further dedicate the merit of this Zazen gathering in gratitude for his great Compassionate acts in leaving us these Timeless Teachings.

    The moon over Mount Ryoju, the Vulture Peak, shines wonderously in all directions.

    The sala trees bloom and their petals convey the fragrance of the Dharma down through time.

    The Buddha transcended desire and his understanding has helped all who are deluded until this present moment. The merits of suchness will extend from the beginningless past to the endless future.

    All the myriad forms of existence join in recognizing the profound importance of this day and wholeheartedly recite with us, some in words and some in silence. We are filled with awe at the countless voices which thus proclaim the Dharma, and we vow to embrace and sustain it endlessly. We also remember and dedicate this day and these efforts to all our parents, grand-parents, siblings, our relatives near and distant, all our ancestors reaching back through the generations, and our dear friends and other cherished ones who have passed from this seen world.

    Thus, let the harmful effects of words, thoughts and actions be dispelled
    and Compassion bloom in perpetual spring.
    May we all realize and live the Enlightened Way together:


    ° All Buddhas throughout space and time
    ° All Bodhisattvas-Mahasattvas
    ° Maha • Prajna • Paramita ••••••• (then 3x PROSTRATIONS by EVERYONE) • • •

    This is followed by the beginning of Zazen.
    Last edited by Jundo; 02-15-2020 at 12:30 AM.

  3. #3
    Ready. _()_

    image copy 2.jpeg

    doyu sat/lah today
    I'm a visiting unsui from Bird Haven Zendo. Take what I say with a box of salt. Mmm!

  4. #4
    Thank you, Jundo!

    As ever, I want to remember Lee/Fugu from Treeleaf, and also my Buddhist friend Nick, Haiku friend Jan and maternal uncle Tony who have all passed from the visible world in this last year.

    cold water on an african violet ghosts bloom

    -- Jan Benson, Brass Bell May 2016

    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  5. #5
    Thank you, Jundo! /\

    ôLife and death are of supreme importance. Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost. Each of us should strive to awaken. Awaken! Take heed, do not squander your life.ö ― Dōgen

  6. #6
    Thank you, Jundo

    As I traditionally do every year here, I will remember my two grandmothers, my father and some other relatives.
    And my little doggie which is new in the list this time. And of course our old member Fugu.

    Kaido (有道) Every Way
    Washin (和信) Harmony Trust
    I am a novice priest-in-training. Anything what I say must not be considered as teaching
    and should be taken with a 'grain of salt'.

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