The Incense

My Father’s shonanoka (The Buddhist service held on the sixth day after cremation) came. A Buddhist monk came to my house to read a special Buddhist chant sutra for my father’s spirit.

“されば朝(あした)は紅顔ありて、夕(ゆうべ)には白骨となる身なり。” 蓮如

“Sareba ashitawa  kouganarite, yubeniwa hakkotsu to naru mi nari.” (By Rennyo Shonin: The head Buddhist Priest in Japan in the 15 Century)

(Even though our bodies are young and strong, living and healthy in the morning, by the evening, we may be perishing as white ashes.)

Yeah, I know about this. My dad was fine in the morning, and the same day in the evening, he was gone. My mom said that if our bodies are gone, that is it. We do not have anything after death. If so, why do we need to hear the Buddhist chant? My dad cannot hear them anymore. Why do we prepare fruit, water, and rice in front of his butsudan (Buddhist altar)? He cannot eat them anyway.

I could no longer focus on the Buddhist monk’s chants. My dad’s life was finished. He was not with us anymore. I saw his body became hakkotsu (White ashes). Has his tamashii (spirit) gone up to the sky just like the black and grey smoke disappeared into the blue sky when he was cremated?

The smells of the incense, the tinny sound of the Buddhist monk’s little bell and okyou(chant) caused my mind to drift away. I felt detached. Maybe this is not real? Am I sleeping and dreaming a dream?

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2 thoughts on “The Incense

  1. NRW February 2, 2017 / 10:10 pm

    Your blog is beautiful! I’m looking forward to reading more of your blog entries.

    Liked by 2 people

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