Memorial Services

In Korean Buddhism, a memorial service is often held every seven days after death, until the seventh week, when a special 49th day service is held. After that, services are held once a year. Here at the Anyang Hanmaum Seon Center, we’ve been holding one every Monday for Daehaeng Kun Sunim. Many of our friends from overseas are unable to attend these, so here are some photos from the second service, which was held yesterday. (My thanks to Hae Young Jung for the use of these photos. Click on the photos to see a larger image.)

Nuns and monks chanting the Korean version of the Diamond Sutra

The choir came with an offering of Dharma songs

6 thoughts on “Memorial Services”

  1. Services after a person’s passing are held for the purpose of helping that person, because the period between death and rebirth is up to 49 days, that is the meaning of such services. In non-Buddhist traditions like Russian Orthodox Church for example there are also similar services with the special significance of 40 days. The service for KunSunim is not to help her, obviously, it is to show respect and to help yourself. Enlightened people when they die, they do not go through process of what a non-enlightened person would go through, so it is different, the service thus is to help those who conduct the service, because by showing your deep respect to KunSunim you can connect to that enlightened mind, to hold this service is like keeping the light on, or inviting the light to be present. I think the best service would be not only to show traditional ceremony, but personal effort in practice so that all her teachings would become your own.
    It would be nice to see the video of these memorial services with sunims chanting Diamond Sutra.
    Thank you for this post.

  2. Sunim, thank you for posting this series of pictures. I have a question: what is the large framed text on the wall behind the flowers and photo of Daehaeng Kun Sunim?

  3. “Living” “Dying”
    Such things are not my true essence.
    Thus I will become one mind,
    which transcends all distinctions
    such as realms of the living and the dead.

    The Thousands Hands Sutra
    ed. by Daehaeng Kun Sunim

  4. Somehow i only just found out this very morning about Daehaeng Kun Sunim’s life, her amazing wisdom and compassion. For several hours I’ve been doing Google searches and reading everything i can find on Kun Sunim’s life and mission and the various online talks/writings by her,… and downloading everything into a gigantic MS Word file about her.

    And just now, Chong Go, reading your several blogs about her passing, the funeral and memorial services, i just realized: TODAY is exactly the 49th day since the Master dropped her body! How auspicious….

    Tears rolling down the cheeks in gratitude to the omnipresent Daehaeng Kun Sunim who is none other than this formless, changeless, boundless and quite omnipresent and omni-gracefull Buddha-nature within all beings.

    One more uncanny synchronicity to share: just in the very moment that this heart burst open with such sweet joy and tearful poignancy upon figuring out how this was exactly the 49th day since Daehaeng left the body, my wife was in the next room watching the movie, Phantom of the Opera, and had turned up the volume for the beautifully soaring song, “Think of me.”

    [Partial lyrics:]
    Think of me, think of me fondly,
    when we’ve said goodbye. […]
    there will never be a day,
    when I won’t think of you

    The music was like waves washing over while the tears of gratitude flowed.

    What more obvious signs would one need to realize that YES, indeed, Daehaeng is truly the timeless, spaceless, all-accomplishing Buddha-Nature, the One Intelligence and Kindness, leaving little sweet “calling cards” here, there and everywhere.

    So… breath is breathing, mind is minding,
    heart is swelling, flowing, dissolving, dying,
    celebrating all souls
    and their divinely dimensionless Root.

    Thank you, Daehaeng Kun Sunim. Kwanseum Bosal….

    Bowing directionlessly to Thee, O True Self of all selves….

    –timothy conway
    santa barbara, california, usa

    author, Women of Power & Grace (i certainly need to write a “part 2” companion volume featuring Kun Sunim, among others!)

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