Appropriate Suttas for a Funeral

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Appropriate Suttas for a Funeral

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Sun Feb 27, 2011 5:26 pm

Venerable Brahmali in the Dhammaloka forum is collecting suttas that would be approprite for reading at a Buddhist funeral service on Dhammaloka, and I think that this would be an interesting discussion to have here in Dhammawheel. Funeral rites are very important for the living, and to comfort the living with the Dhamma there's many suttas that address dying and death.

There's the Metta Sutta, and verses from the Maha-parinibbana Sutta about impermanence. Then there are those about the topic of death. I liked the Simile of the Mountains from the Pabbatopama sutta (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html) which is particularly good an appropriate. I would like to know which kinds of suttas you think would comfort the living and also those that address the subject of death.
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Re: Appropriate Suttas for a Funeral

Postby Jhana4 » Sun Feb 27, 2011 5:41 pm

My perspective is that of a regular meditator, who has taken sutta classes and who has a respectful agnosticism to the Pali Canon.

A few weeks ago my father came very close to dying and within a few days of that a friend of mine did die. Last spring another friend of mine died.

The sutta quotes I keep thinking of and that I might want read at my own funeral (assuming people would understand them ) would come from the Buddha's own death.

The first being his last words, which roughly paraphrase as

"All compounded things are impermanent, study and train in the dhamma hard".

The other quote comes from a sutta in the long discourses describing the aftermath of the Buddha's death.

While the Buddha's senior students are calm and somber, his less senior students are freaking out from grief. Finally, one of the senior students says roughly

"(WTF?) Why the reaction? You've been taught that all compounded things are impermanent"

You don't have to be a serious believer for these snippets to have meaning. Time passes by very fast after a certain point in life and we all trains on the same track, headed to the same place.
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Re: Appropriate Suttas for a Funeral

Postby rowyourboat » Sun Feb 27, 2011 8:34 pm

There was the case that a famine, pestilence etc had spread to a certain city in ancient India during the Buddhas time. The inhabitants requested the Buddha to help them out. He sent his assistant ven Ananda to chant the qualities of the Buddha,dhamma sangha as a protection. It is striking that what he did was something very simple- and did not start preaching impermanence with all the death and dying around them. Perhaps that is not the best time= maybe what they need in that instance is some actual comfort and metta, rather than a long talk on how everything passes away- they need to be allowed to grieve.

However it is also the case that those who know the dhamma to some degree can give rise to 'dhamma samvega' -urgency with regard to the dhamma which would motivate their practice, during such times.

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Re: Appropriate Suttas for a Funeral

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Feb 27, 2011 8:47 pm

Hi WITF,

I presume this is in addition to the traditional chants, which stick in my mind after hearing them chanted yesterday for the Thai students who died here last week:

http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/buddhist_funeral.pdf
http://www.maha-bodhi.org/jivitam_aniytam.htm
Anicca vata sankhara
All things that are conditioned are impermanent
uppadavaya dhammino
Anything that arise disappear sooner or later
uppajjitva nirujjhanti
When arising and disappearance cease completely
tesam vupassamo suhko
That is the ultimate happiness

:anjali:
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Re: Appropriate Suttas for a Funeral

Postby Ben » Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:12 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi WITF,

I presume this is in addition to the traditional chants, which stick in my mind after hearing them chanted yesterday for the Thai students who died here last week:

http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/buddhist_funeral.pdf
http://www.maha-bodhi.org/jivitam_aniytam.htm
Anicca vata sankhara
All things that are conditioned are impermanent
uppadavaya dhammino
Anything that arise disappear sooner or later
uppajjitva nirujjhanti
When arising and disappearance cease completely
tesam vupassamo suhko
That is the ultimate happiness

:anjali:
Mike


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