UNIVERSAL DHARMA

Ven. Abhinyana's funeral service

20/04/2008 Nambour, Queensland

 

 

MY FUNERAL-SERVICE

By the time this tape is played for its intended purpose, I will, perhaps, know what, if anything, lies on the other side of death. Surely, this is something that most people think about now and then. Many people live in dread of it; others live in hope and anticipation of a better life hereafter.

Although I accept the concept of the continuation of life after the body’s death, I must confess that, at the time of recording this, I know no more about it than the majority of people; it remains a concept, but it is not something that has had a great influence upon my living ~ that is, I do not live in fear or hope of the afterlife.

Years ago, I had a glimpse of what I took, and still take, to be Reality, a vision of the essential unity of all things, and of how self, in the sense of separate existence, is an illusion. Since then, I have tried to live with this vision in mind, as a guiding principle, even though I have had little success.

I have recorded this tape, not because of an egoistic desire to be in control of things even beyond my death, as I have seen that we have very little control over our lives even while we are alive, and not nearly as much as we think we have, but because I do not want anyone to perform what I regard as useless ceremonies for me; I have seen too much of such things, and have neither respect for nor confidence in them.

I have performed funeral services for numerous other people over the years, so now, for a change, I want to perform my own.

I have long felt that a funeral-service is more for the living than for the dead, as I don’t know if we can help the dead in any way, but I do feel that we might help some of the living somewhat, and a funeral-service provides a wonderful opportunity for reflection upon the nature of our lives. These words, therefore, recorded in advance of my demise ~ though how far in advance I have no way of knowing ~ may be regarded as my parting gift.

For many years, I have been a merchant of words, trying thereby to touch people, press their buttons, and inspire them to live, not just for themselves, but to open their hearts and minds and expand their mental horizons, to embrace an ever-greater portion of the life around them. Words will remain words, however, if we do not test and apply the ideas embodied in them in our lives.

Let us listen now, to an old Beatles’ song called “Within You, Without You”, which had a great effect upon me when I was just setting out on my spiritual quest and groping along in the darkness.

“We were talking
About the space between us all,
And the people who hide themselves
Behind a wall of illusion,
Never glimpse the truth,
Then it’s far too late,
When they pass away.
We were talking
About the love we all could share,
When we find it, to try our best
To hold it there,
With our love, with our love
We could save the world
If they only knew.

Try to realize it’s all within yourself,
No-one else can make you change;
And to see you’re really only very small,
And life flows on within you and without you.
We were talking
About the love that’s gone so cold,
And the people
Who gain the world and lose their souls,
They don’t know, they can’t see;
Are you one of them?

When you’ve seen beyond yourselves
Then you may find
Peace of mind is waiting there;
And the time will come when you see we’re all one
And life flows on within you and without you.”

* * * * * * *
There was a clan of people in India known as the Kalama tribe. They had seen and heard many wandering teachers and preachers, and were confused, because each teacher seemed to expound his own views about things and condemn the ideas of others. One day, they heard that the Buddha was staying nearby, and, His fame having reached them sometime earlier, they decided to go to see Him and put their doubts and confusion before Him. They told Him that they didn’t know what to believe and what not to believe, and the Buddha gave them the following advice, which is as refreshingly clear and practical now as it was so long ago. It is known to us as The Kalama Sutta.

“It is right, Kalamas, that you should doubt. Doubt has arisen in you over things that are doubtful.
“Come, Kalamas; do not believe in anything, simply because you have heard it.
“Do not believe in traditions, just because they have been handed down for many generations.
“Do not believe in anything just because it is spoken and rumored by many.
“Do not believe in anything just because it is found written in books that are considered sacred.
“Do not believe in what you have imagined, thinking that, because it is extraordinary, it must have been inspired by a supreme being or other wonderful beings.
“Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers, elders and priests.
“But, when you know for yourselves: these things are immoral, these things are blameworthy, these things are censured by the wise, these things, when performed and undertaken, conduce to ruin and sorrow, then should you reject them. And, when you know for yourselves: these things are moral, these things are blameless, these things are praised by the wise, these things, when performed and undertaken, conduce to well-being and happiness, then accept them and act accordingly.”

The same test, said the Buddha, should be applied to His own teachings: “Do not accept my Teachings from reverence, but first test them as a goldsmith would test gold.

Another song, about friendship, joy and adventure that used to inspire me, is called, “Lovely To See You Again”, by the Moody Blues. Here it is:

“Wonderful day
For passing my way,
Knock on my door,
Even the score
With your eyes.

Lovely to see you again, my friend,
Walk along with me to the next bend.

Dark cloud of fear
Is blowing away,
Now that you’re here,
You’re going to stay,
‘Cos it’s

Lovely to see you again, my friend,
Walk along with me to the next bend.

Tell us what you’ve seen
In faraway forgotten lands,
Where empires
Have turned back to sand.

Wonderful day
For passing my way,
Knock on my door,
Even the score
With your eyes.

Lovely to see you again, my friend,
Walk along with me to the next bend.

* * * * * * *
Here, I wish to read from one of my books, Because I Care, but, as to me, this reading should now be understood in the past tense.

Sometimes, like most people, I imagine, I get frustrated and depressed, and wonder where I am going. Sometimes, I cannot see the next step ahead of me, and it seems like I’ve come to a dead-end. Sometimes, when things are difficult, and there seem to be no results, or I get results other than the ones hoped for, I wish I had never gotten into this line of things. And sometimes, death would not be unwelcome; it would be a release.

But, when I get to feeling like this, I turn round and look back on the way by which I reached the present. And do you think that my way was as straight as an arrow? Of course, it wasn’t, not for more than a short distance at a time, but twisted and turn, climbed and fell, and sometimes even disappeared below ground, only to reappear again elsewhere. Many times, there were obstacles, which, at the time, seemed insurmountable. The road was often potted with pot-holes of despair, there were sufferings and sicknesses, lethargy and blues, times when I was depressed and stuck in the doldrums, and didn’t know what to do. There were times when I was lonely and sad, times of danger and fear, and times when the road ran near to hell. It is a miracle that I survived, yet survive I did and survive I do at the time of writing this. Is this not a cause for rejoicing? And does not my looking back on all the pains, defeats and failures, the facing of dangers and obstacles, and the surviving thereof, help me to face other such things with courage and understanding? I have run the gauntlet of the past and survived, and have learned something from it, and am even able to use it to deal with the problems and pains of the present. This, surely, is no small achievement. Has not my life ~ your life, our life ~ been an overall success therefore? Moreover, I am now able to use my life to help others to see things in the same way. If I had given up in despair, as I have wanted to, many times, in the past, I would not have what I now have to share with others who might be able to benefit from it ~ and there are many such people, I know.

But, through all my pain and frustration, I persisted, often with no conscious goal or purpose, and managed to reach the present. How I managed, I do not know, but I’m glad that I did, I’m happy that I have discovered something of my potential, something of value which, by sharing it with others, is not diminished, but only increased thereby. I cannot explain it, but must stand, unashamedly, with my mouth open, speechless in wonder at the way I have come. And was not your way also wonderful?

I will take no more of your precious time. My ceremony will end here with John Lennon’s best song, “Imagine”. Thankyou, and farewell.

Imagine there’s no heaven ~
It’s easy if you try ~
No hell below us,
Above us, only sky.
Imagine all the people
Living for today.

Imagine there’s no country ~
It isn’t hard to do ~
Nothing to kill or die for,
And no religion, too.
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace.

You may say I’m a dreamer,
But I’m not the only one;
I hope some day you’ll join us,
And the world will be as one.

Imagine no possessions,
I wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger,
A brotherhood of man.
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world.

You may say I’m a dreamer,
But I’m not the only one;
I hope someday you’ll join us,
And the world will live as one.

* * * * * * *

Use right mouse click here to download My FUNERAL SERVICE mp3 file. (File size 25MB)

click here to view Ven. Abhinyana's relics (*** must see ***)

Links relate to memorial services and photos

Sheila's gratitude

Quang Duc Temple ~ in Vietnamese

Vietmedia ~ this is in Vietnamese

Vietnamese Radio ~ mp3 file in Vietnamese

Memorial Service , Melaca

Memorial Service at Flinders University, Adelaide

Memorial Service at Sri Lanka Buddhist Temple, Kuala Lumpur

Service on 17th of April before the actual funeral service at Nambour


Home  -   Against The Stream  -   As It Is  -   Because I Care  -   Behind The Mask  -   Boleh Tahan -   Just A Thought -   Let Me See  -   Lotus Petals  -   Not This, Not That  -   Parting Shots  -   Ripples Following Ripples  -   So Many Roads  -   This, Too, Will Pass  -   Wait A Minute!  -   Your Questions, My Answers  -   Download  -   Funeral  -   Links  -   Contact
© 2005 UNIVERSAL DHARMA