Memorial Day, 2011

Today we officially set aside time to pause and remember those in the military who have died while protecting this country.  Many of us also remember our other departed loved ones – all those who have preceded us in the transition from this physical realm to the non-physical beyond.  This dedicated public pause to reflect upon The Great Matter is an important exercise that should not be neglected.

In a Buddhist funeral, as in most Buddhist ceremonies, there is chanting, there are offerings of incense, bows and other ritual elements, and there is an “eko,” which is the Japanese word for dedicating the merit of the efforts made during the ceremony.  Here, offered for the benefit of all who have died — both those now being remembered and those who have been forgotten — is the eko or merit dedication I wrote for the first Buddhist funeral I conducted:

>  May all awakened beings manifest through the three treasures their luminous mirror wisdom.  Having chanted the Great Compassionate Mind Dharani for Removing Hindrance, we dedicate this merit to:

­ To the safety, well-being and peaceful transition of our great abiding friend(s),

<insert name(s) of the departed here>,

To all beings in the transition of death at this time,

To the comfort and equanimity of all those suffering grief, loss and bereavement at this time,

And to all sentient beings.

May the living find solace, strength and nourishment in the vast emptiness of the dharma realm.  May the deceased depart from suffering, receive great joy, and attain unsurpassed, complete, perfect liberation.  May all buddhas and bodhisattvas in the ten directions unceasingly watch over and protect us so that our vows may be fulfilled.  And may we, together with all beings, realize Buddha’s Great Awakened Way.  <

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On another, equally reflective note, I read an article today that really captures something I have felt deeply for many years, but could never quite articulate effectively.  My thanks to Jonathan Franzen for his thoughtful and skillful effort, which appeared in the Week in Review section of yesterday’s New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/29/opinion/29franzen.html?emc=eta1

Sending blessings to all -

:)  Russ

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