Today was Ivor’s funeral, and a chance for the majority of his family and friends to say a fond, final farewell at the graveside. In all honesty, it was not the sombre event I had dreaded. The setting, the Memorial Woodland, was the most tranquil and beautiful place I have been in a long time.
At the allotted hour, we followed the hearse to the graveside, through sunshine and shade, through ancient woodland and newly planted saplings. This was my first burial ceremony and there is a certain something about the hole in the earth that emphasises the physical finality of the service.
It was a very close family affair, even the service was performed by Steve’s dad Alan, and beautifully so. I read my little piece, putting the Buddhist perspective …
Life is a journey, an adventure during which we are set challenges to test our resolve and to help us learn lessons that will ease our steps along the path to enlightenment.
Buddhism sees death as part of that journey. Far from it being the end of life, it is simply the next step in the process.
So rather than mourning the loss of Ivor, we should rejoice in the sound knowledge that, after a short rest, he will return in a new form, in a new body.
We are all made of stardust; we are an integral part of the Universe and but a single drop of universal energy.
Just as raindrops fall to the Earth, collect in streams and rivers and flow back into the oceans, to be raised up again to repeat the process, so has Ivor joined the ocean of universal energy in preparation for the next cycle in the eternal process we know as The Wheel of Life.
Let us take comfort and rejoice in the fact that Ivor has taken another step on his path to enlightenment.
After the service, a few of us stayed behind to chant, and it was really nice to be able to offer daimoku in such an intimate way and in such a perfect setting.
The photo of the water lilies was taken from the pond outside the chapel of rest, and I think they were a very fitting embellishment to a very lovely and moving ceremony.
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo