A Buddhist altar set before the open coffin of David Powers, a long time congregation member within our Order.
Here is an excerpt from the Introduction to a booklet, now out of print, titled The Funeral Ceremony of a Lay Buddhist, copyright 1977, Shasta Abbey.
Buddhist ceremonies are an expression of the “Truth” or the “Buddha Nature” which is within us. The basis of Buddhist practice, which includes the performance of religious ceremonies, is faith in this Buddha Nature. It is we who fill the ceremonies with meaning through our meditation-faith. There is no meaning apart from wholehearted participation. The ceremony is the vehicle of our sincerity, and the form is tailored to meet the needs of the occasion. Teach individual celebrates the ceremony for himself/herself and everyone else. It is not the priest alone who does so; their faith is only the catalyst for others. In celebrating the Buddhist Funeral we know through our meditation, even in the midst of personal grief, that death is an expression of Buddhahood and that there is no beginning and no end to life; zen is eternal life. We cannot understand this with the intellect or emotions – only through our meditation.
The Funeral for David will be at 2.00 pm Pacific Time at Berkeley Buddhist Priory. See also previous posting, Thus Shall Ye Think.
Now I’d better get out from behind this computer and help set up for the funeral.