The sun shining its last rays over the human planet sets gradually in the horizon. It is wonderful to see the colourful clouds in the evening sky. The flock of several species of birds flies back to their home for a night rest. The sounds of leaves clapping each other seem to be beautiful songs signing themselves. The breeze greets gently and kindly to my face. The fresh air makes my mind fresh. The world is amazing full of satisfactoriness at the moment.
I usually take a walk with or without one of my friends some two miles away from our paradise of Burmese temple enjoying such a nicer evening. I believe that walking is one of the best body exercises. It is so relaxing. One day when I took a walk with my friend, U Tejaniya, alongside the A4 road, I saw a series of cars running on that road led by an escort car. How many cars in the long till? I counted “one, two, three…. fifteen and more”. Over twenty cars in which a quite many people were taking their seats in order to see off the last journey of the diseased were running on the road. I saw a coffin lying in the car second to the police vehicle. The car (hearse) carrying a coffin was decorated with flowers. All cars were moving to the same direction. Of course, it was to a cemetery. I realized that it was a funeral procession.
I never thought that I would take part in such an occasion a few days later from those views of funeral procession. One day, one of my friends got a phone call from a lay-woman-devotee. She said she had a lady-friend who is a Christian, an ethnic of Kachin born in Burma and growing here in the UK. She has been working at a company belonging to a Hong Kong family. One day, the grandma of that family expired. As they are Buddhist they wanted to carry out the funeral ceremony according to Buddhist custom. Therefore, the family requested the Christian lady to look for Buddhist monks. Then she contacted the lay-woman devotee who finally contacted us.
We accepted the invitation from the Hong Kong family. Do not be confused. We are Burmese Buddhist monks. Three monks including me were brought to the family house by the Christian lady. It took about one and half hour to get there by a car. We had a lunch there in the house. Fortunately there was not a corps which has been keeping in a mortuary in the funeral service rather far from the house. If the corps was there, I could not eat the lunch since I am very sensitive and easy to be disgusted by the sight of it.
We chanted Parittas in the house before lunch. Having the lunch finished, we carried on our journey to the funeral service where the corps was being kept. The chanting process was also performed in front of the dead body in the funeral service more than one hour. When the time came, the corps was taken into a car (hearse) and all of us also took place in the particular cars. There were some ten cars which saw off the grandma of them. The series of cars partook in the funeral procession was as seen by me while walking alongside the A4 road with my friend, U Tejaniya a few days ago.
We arrived at a funeral parlour in the cemetery where the corps was put for a while. We also chanted in the parlour facing directly to the corps. When the function was complete, the coffin was carried by four funeral men systematically and harmoniously to the pit to be buried. We also followed suit. As they liked us chanting all the times, we were chanting on and on and on standing nearby the burial. While we were doing chanting, some of them were burning the pieces of papers praying for the late grandma and some were starting burying the corps with plenty of earth-lumps.
Only after all process was complete we left the cemetery together with the bereaved family and headed to a hotel for a tea. And then we, separated each other, brought back to our temple by the Christian lady. She is very kind, friendly and lovely to us in spite of different religion belonging to.
We got back to our temple in the late evening. To say the truth, we spent the whole day for that funeral event. Therefore, we got totally exhausted but much pleased ourselves with it because we acquired, at least, a new experience in a new country with different family. All it happened one and half month ago yet unforgettable throughout my life.
. ***Picture from Google search.