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Thread: Chanting / sutra for those who have passed

  1. #1

    Chanting / sutra for those who have passed

    Hello all,

    Apologies if this is already in another thread (if so maybe someone could just point me to it). I was wondering whether there are any particular verses or chants to mark and pay respects to the dead. Every day news comes in of more and more people who have died in my own city, country, continent and from all corners of the world. Of course people die every day anyway, but there is a strange sense that comes with these daily statistical updates that it somehow feels uncomfortable just letting them go by. There's metta, of course, but I wondered whether anyone had anything else that they know of or that they're using themselves. The first four doctors to die in the UK were Muslim and I saw so many online saying 'To God we belong and to Him we shall return" -- well what's the Zen, not-really focussed-on-what-comes-next version?

    Gassho,
    Gukan / Libby

  2. #2
    Hi Gukan

    That is a lovely thought and it is disturbing seeing the statistics of new deaths coming in each day.

    In Zen it is traditional to recite The Heart Sutra. Form is emptiness, emptiness is form, we return to the whole that we never left.

    Metta for all affected is lovely too.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    ------------------------------------
    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.

  3. #3
    One way to do it....

    KANSHO – Tolling of the bell
    The Kansho begins the funeral service. This is a ritual striking of the bell in the funeral pattern of 7-5-3. The bell is struck seven times, followed by a crescendo and a decrescendo; struck five times,
    followed by another crescendo and decrescendo; then struck a final three times.

    Incense

    Verse of the Diamond Sutra
    Thus shall you think of this fleeting world:
    A star at dawn,
    A bubble in a stream,
    A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
    A flickering lamp,
    A phantom and a dream,
    So is this fleeting world.

    In Buddha’s Diamond Realm the light of Wisdom shines without ceasing. There is no coming, no going; no beginning, no end; no birth and no death. May the Buddhas with infinite compassion illuminate this endless field.
    For all those who have succumbed to the Corona virus and have passed beyond this life into the tender radiance of the heart of the Buddhas,
    may they together with all beings realize the end of suffering, and the complete unfolding of Buddha’s Way.

    Heart of Perfect Wisdom
    The Bodhisattva of Compassion
    from the depths of prajña wisdom
    saw the emptiness of all five skandhas
    and sundered the bonds that cause all suffering.
    Know then :
    Form here is only emptiness ;
    emptiness only form.
    Form is no other than emptiness ;
    emptiness no other than form.
    Feeling, thought, and choice—
    consciousness itself—
    are the same as this.
    Dharmas here are empty ;
    all are the primal void.
    None are born or die,
    nor are they stained or pure,
    nor do they wax or wane.
    So in emptiness no form,
    no feeling, thought, or choice,
    nor is there consciousness.
    No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind,
    no color, sound, smell, taste, touch,
    or what the mind takes hold of,
    nor even act of sensing.
    No ignorance or end of it,
    nor all that comes of ignorance :
    No withering, no death, no end of them.
    Nor is there pain, or cause of pain,
    or cease in pain,
    or noble path to lead from pain ;
    not even wisdom to attain :
    Attainment too is emptiness.
    So know that the Bodhisattva,
    holding to nothing whatever,
    but dwelling in prajña wisdom,
    is freed of delusive hindrance,
    rid of the fear bred by it,
    and reaches clearest nirvana.
    All buddhas of past and present,
    buddhas of future time,
    through faith in prajña wisdom,
    come to full enlightenment.
    Know then the great dharani,
    the radiant, peerless mantra,
    the supreme, unfailing mantra,
    the Prajña Paramita,
    whose words allay all pain.
    This is highest wisdom,
    true beyond all doubt ;
    know and proclaim its truth :
    Gate, gate
    paragate
    parasamgate
    bodhi, svaha!

    We dedicate the merit of our chanting to all those who have succumbed to the Corona virus and have passed beyond this life. We humbly pray that their spirits may cross over to the Pure Land, that their karmic afflictions may fade away, that the lotus may open to full blossom, and that they and all beings transcend all suffering and know peace.

    Ten directions,
    Three worlds,
    All Buddhas,
    Bodhisattvas; Mahasattvas,
    Maha prajna paramita.
    May all beings everywhere plagued with sufferings of body and mind
    quickly be freed from their illnesses.
    May those frightened cease to be afraid
    and may those bound be free.
    May the powerless find power
    and may people think of befriending one another.

  4. #4
    Thank you Kokuu and Emmet. Both of those are very nice ideas. I’ll try to do something at the end of each day.

    Gassho,
    Gukan ST LAH

  5. #5
    That is beautiful, Emmet. Thank you!

    For those who aren't familiar with it, this is the Kansho (ritual bell) being struck in that pattern.




    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    ------------------------------------
    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.

  6. #6
    Member Onka's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Rural Queensland, Australia
    Not sure if it's the official line but I recite the Heart Sutra when one of our critters dies. When I come across a dead critter on my travels I offer Metta.
    Before I 'sit' every morning I recite the Heart Sutra so in my noggin that's not just for me and my lived experience but for all everywhere.
    Gassho
    Onka Anna
    ST

    Quote Originally Posted by Gukan View Post
    Hello all,

    Apologies if this is already in another thread (if so maybe someone could just point me to it). I was wondering whether there are any particular verses or chants to mark and pay respects to the dead. Every day news comes in of more and more people who have died in my own city, country, continent and from all corners of the world. Of course people die every day anyway, but there is a strange sense that comes with these daily statistical updates that it somehow feels uncomfortable just letting them go by. There's metta, of course, but I wondered whether anyone had anything else that they know of or that they're using themselves. The first four doctors to die in the UK were Muslim and I saw so many online saying 'To God we belong and to Him we shall return" -- well what's the Zen, not-really focussed-on-what-comes-next version?

    Gassho,
    Gukan / Libby

  7. #7
    I am older, 68, and may live a while longer, but if contract Coronavirus, I could go because of my many concerns with my body. I’ve asked Marjorie to e-mail Treeleaf Zendo with this news. Then I ask friends to do one simple thing, recite the Heart Sutra once and remember my love of poetry. I’ve read through this simple Diamond Sutra and as I read through the second time, I remember now my mother who 22 years ago succumbed to cancer AND my uncle George who also died of cancer and also my aunt Alice who also died of cancer, my grandfather Charles who also died of cancer, my grandfather Elgwyn who died of heart disease, and grandmother Mary who died of stroke and all my relatives who have gone before finally my father who lives who this year in good health turns 90. We recite in next morning meditation I will recite the Heart Sutra for all these people. And, my father who I will call tomorrow and I will FaceTime him so I can see his face as though he were in the next room. Lenard Elgwyn Taylor who I love as a good and loving father.
    Tai Shi
    sat/ lah
    Gassho


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    The object of practice is not transcendence but transformation, yet ultimately we must transcend ourselves. (Elucidation of Dogen) in HOW TO RAISE AN OX

  8. #8
    Here is our Heart Sutra in English and Japanese, by the way. Any such way above that is heartfelt is right, I feel. Also, don't worry which translation of the Heart Sutra resonates with you, and just recite that ... as they are all translations of translations of the wordless anyway ...

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...t-Book-is-Here

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 04-06-2020 at 09:05 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  9. #9
    Thank you Onka and Tai Shi and Jundo

    And to Kokuu too for the bells. Hard to recreate at home but quite lovely to see

    I find great peace in the fact that the sutras you've all mentioned for this are the sutras that are at the very heart of our practice anyway. No need for extras or 'comforting add-ons' or special verses to help mitigate the uncertainty of what lies beyond. Our understanding of that and our understanding of the here and now are one and the same - just the one approach for the whole kit and caboodle

    Gukan ST

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Emmet View Post
    One way to do it....

    KANSHO – Tolling of the bell
    The Kansho begins the funeral service. This is a ritual striking of the bell in the funeral pattern of 7-5-3. The bell is struck seven times, followed by a crescendo and a decrescendo; struck five times,
    followed by another crescendo and decrescendo; then struck a final three times.

    Incense

    Verse of the Diamond Sutra
    Thus shall you think of this fleeting world:
    A star at dawn,
    A bubble in a stream,
    A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
    A flickering lamp,
    A phantom and a dream,
    So is this fleeting world.

    In Buddha’s Diamond Realm the light of Wisdom shines without ceasing. There is no coming, no going; no beginning, no end; no birth and no death. May the Buddhas with infinite compassion illuminate this endless field.
    For all those who have succumbed to the Corona virus and have passed beyond this life into the tender radiance of the heart of the Buddhas,
    may they together with all beings realize the end of suffering, and the complete unfolding of Buddha’s Way.

    Heart of Perfect Wisdom
    The Bodhisattva of Compassion
    from the depths of prajña wisdom
    saw the emptiness of all five skandhas
    and sundered the bonds that cause all suffering.
    Know then :
    Form here is only emptiness ;
    emptiness only form.
    Form is no other than emptiness ;
    emptiness no other than form.
    Feeling, thought, and choice—
    consciousness itself—
    are the same as this.
    Dharmas here are empty ;
    all are the primal void.
    None are born or die,
    nor are they stained or pure,
    nor do they wax or wane.
    So in emptiness no form,
    no feeling, thought, or choice,
    nor is there consciousness.
    No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind,
    no color, sound, smell, taste, touch,
    or what the mind takes hold of,
    nor even act of sensing.
    No ignorance or end of it,
    nor all that comes of ignorance :
    No withering, no death, no end of them.
    Nor is there pain, or cause of pain,
    or cease in pain,
    or noble path to lead from pain ;
    not even wisdom to attain :
    Attainment too is emptiness.
    So know that the Bodhisattva,
    holding to nothing whatever,
    but dwelling in prajña wisdom,
    is freed of delusive hindrance,
    rid of the fear bred by it,
    and reaches clearest nirvana.
    All buddhas of past and present,
    buddhas of future time,
    through faith in prajña wisdom,
    come to full enlightenment.
    Know then the great dharani,
    the radiant, peerless mantra,
    the supreme, unfailing mantra,
    the Prajña Paramita,
    whose words allay all pain.
    This is highest wisdom,
    true beyond all doubt ;
    know and proclaim its truth :
    Gate, gate
    paragate
    parasamgate
    bodhi, svaha!

    We dedicate the merit of our chanting to all those who have succumbed to the Corona virus and have passed beyond this life. We humbly pray that their spirits may cross over to the Pure Land, that their karmic afflictions may fade away, that the lotus may open to full blossom, and that they and all beings transcend all suffering and know peace.

    Ten directions,
    Three worlds,
    All Buddhas,
    Bodhisattvas; Mahasattvas,
    Maha prajna paramita.
    Thank you Emmet. ( And thanks to Kokuu for the video) This just feels right and I sat with it for a few minutes.

    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  11. #11
    I am just reminded of Nishijima Roshi's comment when we asked him what he would want. His answer, of course, was "sit Zazen." Nothing more.

    So, that is my answer too.

    However, when Nishijima Roshi died, his daughter was an ordinary daughter, and called an ordinary priest to perform an ordinary Japanese Buddhist funeral for him with all the flowers, incense and chanting, to which his local dharma heirs were invited. No, it is probably not what he would have wanted, but "funerals are actually for the living" after all, and it brought his daughter comfort. Nishijima said the following on death, very refreshing views (I feel) on death and life. He was not very concerned about rebirth or what comes "next" ...

    "Even though people are usually thinking that ... when we have died it is very sad, but Buddhism thinks that life and death are just the state at this present moment. ... So, according to Buddhist theory, we do not love life to live too much, we do not fear to die so much ... Therefore, when we are living, we can enjoy living. When we die, we can enjoy dying."

    "Fortunately, we have the end of life, that is the entering of goal. So ... existence of death is also a very well condition."

    "Sometimes foam appears on the surface of the river, and flows for awhile ... And in such situation, foam comes back to the water of the river. So, water exists but the foam has vanished. That is human life I think. Thus the water exists forever, but the foam has disappeared and does not appear again.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 04-07-2020 at 01:45 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  12. #12
    Member Onka's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Rural Queensland, Australia
    Gassho
    On Ka
    穏 火
    aka Anna Kissed.
    No Gods No Masters.
    Life is too serious to be taken seriously.

  13. #13
    Given the unpredictable nature of my illness, I created an advanced directive some time ago. Probably in dispute would be my religious wishes- something simple, low-key Buddhist, and no fuss; my family would want something high-Catholic with guarantees of my eternal salvation.

    I even have a contact from Treeleaf listed in the directive, and my family knows about Treeleaf. But everyone believes in church funerals. Except me.
    Still, I don't plan to see that day for a while.

    Gassho, meian

    Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
    Not all who wander are lost. (Tolkien)
    Underestimating a warrior, serves the warrior's advantage.
    迷安 - Mei An - Wandering At Rest

  14. #14
    "Sometimes foam appears on the surface of the river, and flows for awhile ... And in such situation, foam comes back to the water of the river. So, water exists but the foam has vanished. That is human life I think. Thus the water exists forever, but the foam has disappeared and does not appear again.
    Deep bows to Nishijima Roshi for his insights. This imagery is so helpful, while recognising the real pain so many feel at this time. I might try a short video when lockdown ends(?) It seems to echo Jundo's universal dance...

    Thank you too Emmet for helping us empathise with the lives behind the statistics.

    Gassho, Chris satlah
    Last edited by ChrisKiwi; 04-08-2020 at 01:16 AM.

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