Obituary : Death Verses

Jen: Your ‘imaginary funeral parlour notice’ [see below] is well written, seemingly depicting dying. Is it due to the way Buddhists view death, that there are no Buddhist obituaries in the papers?

Shi’an: Actually, there are Buddhist obituaries in the papers locally (in Singapore) – but usually only the Chinese ones (because most Buddhists here are Chinese?). Seems like not many put up obituaries in the English press with meaningful Dharma verses. Someone ought to start a trend! Maybe I’ll use the parlour notice when I die! (Pretty long though… will cost a bomb, but hey, it’s good for public ‘education’?)

The Mirror Image of Life
(An Imaginary Funeral Parlour Notice)

Other than the state of Nirvana,
everything changes constantly,
even life, and death itself.

Death is not the end of life.
It is but another form of change,
it is but a change of form.

As long as we are not enlightened,
we will be reborn, time and again,
out of our attachment to life, out of our aversion to death.

Though being reborn means
we are still trapped in the cycle of life and death,
it also means we have another chance to attain freedom.

Since death is as natural as the sun surely sets,
there is no need to grieve for each other,
but to wish each other well instead.

After the sun sets,
surely will it rise again,
just as life re-arises after death.

Life and death are two sides of the same coin.
Though death has done us apart,
our connection in karma never parts.

When we break free of the chains of life and death,
we will become one in spiritual liberation.
We ultimately reunite.

Understanding this,
may we not be attached, when it is the time of our own passing,
may we not be attached, when it is the time of our beloved’s passing.

Just as our excess grief of lost loves hurts us,
it too hurts the loved ones we cling to,
who in turn cling to us out of attachment.

Our loved ones would not wish us to grief.
Our loved ones would need to leave in peace.
Till we meet again, a sincere farewell for now.

Why not do good in their name, dedicating merits to them?
Why not be mindful of Amitabha Buddha, by chanting His name?
Why not wish them rebirth in Pureland, His ultimate bliss?

Life is too short not to realise wisdom for oneself.
Life is too short not to be compassionate to everyone else.
Life is too short to be spent grieving, to not be truly living.

To prepare for life, prepare for death.
To prepare for death, prepare for life.
Only a life well-lived is well let go of when it is time.

That which dies is not real, that which endures is true –
our undying love, our undying Buddha-nature,
our ability to be Buddhas with undying love for all.

Death reminds us to treasure life now.
Death reminds us not to be attached to life now.
Death teaches us how to live now.

Namo Amituofo, homage to Amitabha Buddha!
Namo Amituofo, refuge in Amitabha Buddha!
Namo Amituofo, gratitude to Amitabha Buddha!

2 thoughts on “Obituary : Death Verses

  1. This would be mine, and we actually chant it at Jodo Shin funerals:
    Contemplating the power of Tathagata’s Primal Vow,
    One sees that no foolish being who encounters it passes by in vain.
    When a person single-heartedly practices the saying of the Name alone,
    It brings quickly to fullness and perfection [in that person] the great treasure ocean of true and real virtues.

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