Happy Birthday Buddha

My father would have been 87 today. Looking around my room I don’t see anything of his to remind me of him. But I do remember… There was my dad’a old belt and his knitted wool hat, which he wore on the back of his head on cold days. I always thought he could have done better, but he loved that hat and kept it to the last. There was his walking stick, probably cut from a hedge. It was rather a twiggy looking affair. It had a bright orange spent rifle cartridge rammed on the bottom to stop the stick from wearing down. Maybe there was some binder twine, picked up from a field, wrapped around the stick to strengthen it. He was a man in the country where function came first.

I’ve disposed of the old belt and hat, and the wool demob coat that followed us unrelentingly from one house to the next. I think he wrapped his saws in it. The stick? That now supports a tree by a lake in Cornwall, planted in his memory.

In Buddhism there are said to be three objects of reverence of a Buddha; the physical remains such as the ashes after cremation, a tooth or lock of hair, objects appertaining to personal use, such as tools, clothing etc. and lastly objects of reverence reminiscent of the Buddha. This last object has no physical basis it is simply what we remember, what we remember gladly. And I have a lot of those for my dad, my Buddha.

Many thanks to Christine whose comment left after the posting A Beacon of Hope inspired me to write this today. I’m sorry I missed your contribution and didn’t respond at the time.

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7 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Buddha”

  1. It’s my Dad’s birthday today too. He’s still with us, but a few hundred miles away and i don’t see him too often, so your post hits the spot for me. Thankyou.
    (…and Happy Birthday Dad!)

  2. I’m not sure if this comment will be accepted or not. In some ways even if its not at least I have listened to the need to respond to your blog and given it a try. Dads, how very special they can be and how I miss mine now he is not around. He was a carpenter by trade and I have a small wood plane of his that I have carried around with me on many moves, I remember watching sharpen it with loving care that a tradesman must have for the tools of his trade. Dads can also be the cause of much embaressment too, I remember one open evening at school him enthusiastically greeting a teaching of mine “Hullo Miss Mutton” she was called Miss Lamb! I remember too your Dad’s approval of the first house I ever bought on my own after my husband died, it meant a great deal to me. Adrienne

  3. My goodness it worked! I will have to be a bit more careful with my typing if I can now actually add a comment. Once again thank you for giving me the reminder to remember people , remember things, and other beings that have shared my life and be grateful for their presence.

  4. Thanks Adrienne for leaving your reflections on your dad, and on mine.
    For anyone poised on the brink of leaving comments it can help to type what you have to say into a Text document while off line. Spell check it and then copy and paste it into the comment box.

    I should take my own advice!

    And Miles, Thanks I’m glad the dad post hit the spot. It also did for a reader over in Idaho too.

  5. Thankyou Rev. Mugo. My father would have been 100 now. We remember the dead, but they don’t remember us or that they were ever alive. 100 or a billion years are all the same time for them. A strange thought.

    Christine.

  6. Dear Rev. Mugo,

    It was very nice to meet you during the Summer Training period and i really enjoyed our conversation together.

    Sadly, the night after i returned home my father collapsed and died of a heart attack. I have had a busy week organizing the funeral and unfortunately have not had much time to sit and reflect on his passing away. I did manage to sit with the body for 20 minutes but found the rest of the funereal process to be very sanitized and designed to ‘mask’ the nature of death. In my opinion this was a bit of a missed opportunity but it seems to be the norm in this country.

    The actual funeral was fairly Christian in content and i struggled to connect with it on a meaningful level. As such, I have decided to attend Segaki at Throssel in October of this year and hopefuly I can use that retreat to connect in a more meaninful way with his loss.

    I know in the Theravadan tradition there are specific meditations designed to reflect upon death, for instance, the simple recitation of a phrase such as “This body is impermanent….I too will one day die.” However, I don’t know if such a practice is suitable for someone training in Serene Reflection meditation which doesn’t employ such methods of deliberate thought. I would find some advice regarding this to be extremely useful. I was also wondering if there were any rituals which could be performed at my home altar which might be useful for coming to terms with a persons death or perhaps where i could transfer merit to a deceased person (although i don’t profess to understand what ‘transferring merit’ really means).

    In gassho,
    Calum

  7. See the posting on August 22nd for part of my reply to Calum’s letter.

    Yes Calum, it was good to meet you too. My every good wish for you and your family. Nothing lost and nothing gained.

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