Monday, May 19, 2008

A Buddhist Funeral Prayer

Botisattvas, Buddha, Compassion, Funeral Prayer, Gods, Ramsey Montgomery, Wild-Wild-East-Dailies, David Everitt-CarlsonA few months ago a friend here in Saigon, Ramsey Montgomery passed away at a rather young age. His parents held his memorial service in a Buddhist temple. Following is a prayer passed out to the gathering. We didn't speak this prayer in unison. Rather we were left to use it as we chose whilst the monk chanted and tapped out his rhythm with a wooden stick on a gourd.

The phrasings and Capitalization are how it was passed on to me:

O Buddhas and Bodhisattvas,

abiding in all directions,

endowed with great compassion,

endowed with fore-knowledge,

endowed with the divine eye,

endowed with love,

affording protection to sentient beings,

consent through the power of your

great compassion to come forth.

Consent to accept these offerings concretely
out and mentally created.
O Compassionate Ones,

you who possess the wisdom of understanding,

the love of compassion,
the power of doing
divine deeds and of
in incomprehensible measure.
( __________ ) is passing from this world
to the next.
He/she is taking a great leap.

The light of this world has faded for him/her
He/she has entered solitude
with his/her karmic forces.
He/she has gone into a vast Silence.

He/she is borne away by the Great Ocean
of birth and death.
O Compassionate Ones,
protect ( _________ ),who is defenseless.

Be to him/her like a father and a mother.

O Compassionate Ones,

let not the force of your compassion be weak,

but aid him/her.

Forget not your ancient vows.

My enjoyment and surprise is this particular evocation comes in the last line – "Forget not your ancient vows" – in that it nearly chides the Gods should they be remiss in their duty to our human friend. To me it indicates a sort of equality, a communication between the two parties, in that the Gods and we as devotees share a symbiotic relationship – something not stressed in the Christian faiths.

For clarification of the manuscript,
Buddhas are the Gods and Botisattvas are the reincarnated Buddhas such as the Dalai Lama - people who are believed to be Gods but in a human form only for a lifetime. The painting is by Robert Spellman.


  1. My grandchild passed, yesterday--and I appreciate these words--I will capture the thoughts to create my own prayer--that I can share with others.. Namaste, Ming Lee

  2. My prayer is with you Ming. Thank you for creating anew:)


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