Гражданские церемонии

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Rites of Passage

It is traditional to mark significant domestic events such as births, marriages, house blessings, and deaths with a suitable ceremony involving samaṇas.

This section refers to more personal or smaller scale ceremonies as opposed to the larger, public festivals mentioned below.

These rituals and ceremonies offer a continuity, a sense of connection in time for us. They link the inevitable aspects of living into a meaningful continūm through Dhamma; the blessing of marriage and the birth of children, and the reflections upon impermanence at the death of grandparents, all taking place under the aegis of the Triple Gem. They offer a growing sense of belonging and support at a time when one might otherwise feel a sense of isolation.

Births, Marriages, and House Blessings

In a ceremony for a birth, a marriage, or a new house, all of those present endeavour to create an atmosphere suited to the nature of the occasion whether this is one of auspiciousness and joy, or quiet reflection. A number of samaoas are invited – in Thailand, odd numbers are invited for births and marriages, whilst even numbers are invited for ceremonies around a death. Nine is regarded as especially propitious for happy occasions.

A shrine is set up, offerings are made to the shrine, and typically, the Sangha are invited to a meal. Commonly, the principal participants for the ceremony request the Three Refuges and Five Precepts.

These indicate their commitment to the standards of conduct by which they can order their lives, as well as an auspicious way to start a new life, a partnership in marriage, or setting up a new home.

Having taken the Refuges, a chanting of the Parittas by the Sangha is frequently and appropriately requested.

The Parittas or Paritta suttas are auspicious verses spoken by the Buddha on a number of different occasions. As an asseveration of Truth, they are highly regarded for arousing wholesome states of mind. Therefore, they afford their hearers protection from negative, unskilful thoughts. Certainly, ‘a paritta recital produces a sense of mental well-being in those who listen to them with intelligence and with every confidence in the Buddha’s words’ (Ven. Piyadassi Thera, ‘The Book of Protection’).

There is a special formula in Pali for requesting a recitation of the Paritta suttas, called Vipattipaṭibāhāya. This may be learned beforehand, or read at the time of the ceremony. Alternatively, the request can be made in English. As an integral part of the Paritta recitation, and to make the asseveration more tangible, a thin white cotton thread can be connected to the Buddha rvpa, to the incense tray, to each of the members of the Sangha (who hold it as they chant), and back again to the Buddha image. At the end of the ceremony, the thread is cut into lengths which can either be kept in safe custody, or tied around the necks or wrists of the assembled participants.

Even a baby can have the thread lightly tied around the wrist. At a wedding ceremony, the monks may tie the thread around the wrist of the groom’s karmically active hand – usually the right hand. The groom then ties a length around his wife’s wrist. (If a nun is officiating, then she would tie the thread around the bride’s wrist first.)

Marriages as such, are not conducted by monks or nuns who have no official capacity to act as priests, but people may have a civil ceremony first and then have the marriage blessed at some time thereafter. This obtains even in such Buddhist countries as Thailand.

It is conceivable that a lay Buddhist might be officially recognised for the purpose of solemnising a marriage in a civil ceremony similar to the authority granted to a registrar of births and deaths. A preliminary ceremony would then be followed by a blessing conducted by members of the Sangha.

An additional element to the blessing of a house or marriage is the sprinkling of holy water over the participants or around the house. It offers a lightness and tangible sense of infusing or distributing blessings as one distributes the water.

Some monks have misgivings about this aspect of the ceremony because human nature being what it is, the holy water can be seen as possessing highly desirable qualities and properties which can then arouse unwholesome thoughts of stealing, or even violence and aggression. So this must be used as a reflective ritual not an act of magic.

Funeral ceremonies

A funeral ceremony includes a shrine, offerings to the shrine, and chanting by samaṇas. The chanting centres upon the Abhidhamma Teachings which detail the basic processes and infrastructure which make up all human consciousness. This fine analysis offers the opportunity to reflect upon the nature of our physical body, and our mind or consciousness, showing how our being is but a conglomerate of mental and physical energies, forces and relationships rather than a static, unchanging form. It helps us to develop a sense of dispassion and objectivity, an increasing awareness of the arising and passing away of all phenomena.

Typically, the funeral ceremony takes place at the funeral parlour. Beforehand, the family and friends bring the components of a small shrine and arrange it with care. Usually, they include a Buddha rūpa, candles and incense. In addition, each person can bring a flower to be placed on the coffin during the ceremony.

The following is a typical programme for the ceremony when samaṇas are present. If there are only lay people, they adjust the programme as necessary.

  1. 1. A monk or nun lights the candles and incense.
  2. 2. The senior monk or nun gives a short talk about the significance of a Buddhist funeral.
  3. 3. The relatives and friends pass by the coffin spreading mettā to the deceased person and dedicating the blessings and merits of their practice to the deceased person as a way to say goodbye. If they have brought flowers, each person lays one on the coffin. 4. The monks and nuns lead the hearse to the cremation site.
  4. 5. Before the cremation, the senior monk or nun gives a short talk on the significance of death according to the Dhamma.
  5. 6. The monks and nuns do the funeral chants (called the Mātikā), while placing their hands on the coffin.
  6. 7. The mechanism for transporting the coffin into the fire is activated.

Note that some families like to add a Paṃsukūla ceremony. In this case, in step 6 robes are offered to the sama.nas after the Mātikā chanting. The family places the robes on the coffin and the monks and nuns touch them as they chant Paṃsukūla chanting: recollections on impermanence.

Memorial Ceremonies after the Funeral

Whilst we are all too aware of the death of a loved fellow-being, the insight into impermanence decreases with time. For this reason the hundredth day after death is also commemorated, although ceremonies with chanting, the transference of merit and the offering of food and requisites to the Sangha (dāna), are frequently arranged any number of years after the death. Such commemorative ceremonies soften the grieving process, allow us to recall our gratitude and respect for those who have died, and sharpen our awareness of the transitory nature of life.

The following are ways that we can remember the passing away of a friend.

  1. 1. Take some form of positive action in memory of the person who has died such as dedicating the merits of a retreat or a day of meditation, planting a tree at the monastery, a Buddhist Temple, or a Peace Pagoda, doing service in a local organisation, sponsoring a retreat, starting a fund to benefit the homeless, offering dana to the Sangha, etc.
  2. 2. Ask the Sangha to chant the traditional funeral chants, dedicating them to the person who has died. Such chanting usually takes place during the evening chanting period on the day the request was made. Auspicious times to request chanting or to remember the person who has passed away include the day of the death, and the first three days after it (or the day of the funeral/cremation), 50 days after death, 100 days after death, one year afterwards, and annually thereafter.
  3. 3. Come to the monastery with family and friends to hold some form of remembrance ceremony.

The 100th day following the death is a good time for such an occasion. It could include any of the following:

  • • Offering almsfood or other requisites to the Sangha.
  • • Planting a tree in memory of the deceased.
  • • Asking the Sangha to chant some of the traditional funeral chants at a tree planting.
  • • Requesting the Sangha to offer some Dhamma reflections appropriate to the occasion.
  • • Bringing the ashes to the monastery and scattering them around the area of the stūpa.
  • • Placing some of the ashes at the site of a tree, if one is planted in memory of the person, and scattering the remaining ashes.

Readings for Funeral and Memorial Ceremonies

The following are appropriate texts to be read or chanted at funeral and memorial ceremonies:

  • • Sections from the Paṃsukūla chants
  • • The story of Kisāgotamī and the Mustard Seed (Therīgāthā: 43)
  • • A Single Excellent Night (Bhaddekaratta sutta MN 131)
  • • Verses of Sharing and Aspiration
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Редакция перевода от 07.12.2014 19:40