All Beings were One in the midst of Mandarava Flowers falling from heaven.
I was on the first bus to Baek-yang-sa Temple, where the spiritual leader Suh-Ong Keun sunim’s dabee (monastic cremation) would be held on December 19. More than 220 lay buddhists and some monks from Jogyesa Temple left Seoul on five buses, at two o’clock in the morning. Outside the night was very cold, but inside, the bus was filled with lay believers eager to attend the funeral and dabee ceremony.
When we arrived there at six, a snowy white world welcomed us. The snow was already heaped up to our ankles and it was still snowing. It has been said the name of the temple – Baek-yang – came from the white rocks surrounding the temple. Snow added even more appropriateness to the name.
The funeral ceremony started with the Dharma bell being struck five times in front of the Main Hall at eleven o’clock. At that time the snow had stopped, and the blue sky showed. After the funeral, twenty-four monks carried the bier to the dabee place, and tens of thousands of monks and lay people followed them with hundreds of poles carrying flags, on which a funeral ode was written, and recollecting Sakyamuni Budda’s name in unified voice, continuously. Eventually it got dark again, and the mandarava flowers came down sporadically.
At first it looked unreal to me. But it was real.
The snow seemed to be blessings from Indra’s net, to welcome Kun sunim to the West Pure Land. Death was not sorrow; it was blessings like mandarava flowers. Death and Life were not two at that moment. Everything was one, in snow. Monks, breaking their winter retreat, from meditation halls across the country, came there. The whole scene reminded me that Suh-Ong Keun sunim was also preaching his message of “true person of no position (muwijinin)” to us without words.
We were here not only to miss and mourn, but also to commemorate and celebrate his Parinirvana in the midst of falling mandarava flowers.
His nirvana will be another moment to arouse the minds of all four groups of buddhist believers. Viva Parinirvana!
Please give a detailed explanation of “wi”(position) and “in”(person) in “muwijinin”. Is it the body that “in” refers to?
“Muwijinin” refers to “the person without position”. People who take the material world they see as reality cannot live apart from life and death, true and false, and other opposites. “Wi” refers to this mistaken perception. When this misperception is overcome the real inexistence of “wi” becomes apparent. The true self or the “true person of no position” is without birth and death and opposites. This is “in”.
– from the Interview with Suh-Ong Sunim in “Empty House”
written by Chris Verebes –