On October 30th, we lost a dear member of our sangha. It has been decided to have a traditional zen buddhist memorial ceremony to honor him and celebrate his life among us. As part of introducing the ceremony to everyone, we have chosen to share the entire ceremony and a recording of a seminar (to familiarize the sangha to the purpose and intent of the ceremony itself) here on our website. We thank you for your interest and potential participation in this ceremony – November 14th, starting at 6:30pm at our zendo.
At the beginning of the ceremony, the Priest begins by blessing a placard with the deceased’s name on it. Next, they start a mantra to the Bodhisattva of Limitless Compassion – the chant begins with “Daihi Shin Dharani”. The sangha then joins at “Namu kara tan…”
Daihi Shin Dharani
Namu kara tan no tora ya ya namu ori ya boryo ki chi shifu ra ya fuji sato
bo ya moko sato bo ya mo ko kya runi kya ya en sa hara ha e shu tan no
ton sha namu shiki ri toi mo ori ya boryo ki chi shihu ra rin to bo na mu no
ra kin ji ki ri mo ko ho do sha mi sa bo o to jo shu ben o shu in sa bo sa to
no mo bo gya mo ha te cho to ji to en o bo ryo ki ru gya chi kya ra chi i kiri
mo ko fuji sa to sa bo sa bo mo ra mo ra mo ki mo ki ri to in ku ryo ku ryo
ke mo to ryo to ryo ho ja ya chi mo ko ho ja ya chi to ra to ra chiri ni shifu
ra ya sha ro sha ro mo mo ha mo ra ho chi ri i ki i ki shi no shi no ora san
fura sha ri ha za ha zan fura sha ya ku ryo ku ryo mo ra ku ryo ku ryo ki ri
sha ro sha ro shi ri shi ri su ryo su ryo fuji ya fuji ya fudo ya fudo ya mi
chiri ya nora kin ji chiri shuni no hoya mono somo ko shido ya somo
ko moko shido ya somo ko shido yu ki shihu ra ya somo ko nora kin ji
somo ko mo ra no ra somo ko shira su omo gya ya somo ko sobo moko
shido ya somo ko shaki ra oshi do ya somo ko hodo mogya shido ya somo
ko nora kin ji ha gyara ya somo ko mo hori shin gyara ya somo ko namu
kara tan no tora ya ya namu ori ya boryo ki chi shihu ra ya somo ko
shite do modo ra hodo ya so mo ko
The chant goes on (may be repeated) while participants take turns lighting incense at the altar. To participate, one starts on the left side of the altar (there may be a small queue before reaching this point) and bows in sync with the individual leaving on the right side of the altar. After bowing, step in front of the altar, light an incense stick, and place it in the bowl with the others. Finally, step to the right side of the altar and initiate the syncronized bowing.
After all that are interested in lighting incense have finished, the chant will end at the last iteration of the dharani. The following is the Eko (echo) that concludes the ceremony.
Eko for Memorial Service
(Priest or Kokyo alone)
May all awakened beings extend with true compassion
their luminous mirror wisdom
With full awareness we have chanted the Great
We dedicate the merit and virtue to
Our original ancestor in India, Great Teacher Shakyamuni Buddha
Our first ancestor in China, Great Teacher Bodhidharma
Our first ancestor in Japan, Great Teacher Shogaku Shunryu
And to our great abiding friend, _____________
May all beings find peace and healing in Buddha’s way
All Buddhas, ten directions, three times
All beings, bodhisattvas, mahasattvas
Wisdom beyond wisdom
Maha Prajna Paramita
English Translation of Daihi Shin Dharani
The Great Compassionate Mind Dharani
Adoration to the Triple Treasure and to Avalokitesvara the Bodhisattva-
Mahasattva who is the great compassionate one!
Om, to the one who performs a leap beyond all fears!
Having venerated him, may I enter into the heart of the blue-necked one
known as the noble adorable Avalokitesvara!
It means the completing of all meaning, it is pure, it is that which makes all
beings victorious and cleanses the path of existence. Also: Om, the seer, the
world-transcending one! Homage to the great bodhisattva! All, all!
Defilement, defilement! The earth, the earth! It is the heart. Do, do the work!
Hold fast, hold fast! O great victor! Hold on, hold on! I hold on. To Indra the
creator! Move, move, my illusions away! Come, come! Hear, hear! A joy
springs up in me! Speak, speak! Directing! Hulu, hulu, mala, hulu, hulu, hile!
Sara, Sara! siri, siri! suru, suru! Be awakened, be awakened! Have awakened,
O merciful one, blue-necked one! Incredibly joyous greeting ! Great success,
hail! To the one who has attained mastery in the discipline, hail!
To the blue-necked one, hail! To the boar-faced one, hail! To the one with a
lion’s head and face, hail! To the one who holds a weapon in his hand, hail!
To the one who holds a wheel in his hand, hail! To the one who holds a lotus
in his hand, hail! To the blue-necked far-causing one, hail! To the beneficent
one referred to in this Dharani beginning with “Namah,” hail! Veneration to
the Triple Treasure! Veneration to Avalokitesvara! Hail!May these prayers be
answered! To this magical formula, hail!