Our Privilege to Serve at a Tibetan Funeral
Last week, we had the great privilege of assisting a local Tibetan family with the funeral of one of their own.
Quite different to a Christian or other western form of funeral, the Buddhist ritual of farewell is extraordinarily serene, and begins with intensive chanting, which is attended by the entire local community.
The powerful simplicity of this single focus was a privilege to witness, and we felt truly blessed to be included into the community at this most tender of times.
Individual placing of the khata (long white scarves) by all present onto the open coffin symbolizes purity and compassion, and a safe journey for the soul of the deceased.
This beautiful ritual also allows something of a catharsis for the living, as there is a comfort in sending this great wealth of community love and respect onward with their loved one.
At the end of this ceremony of intense grieving, prayer and respect, tea and traditional food was served outside the chapel, and the warmth of hospitality was automatically extended to myself and our staff.
As we shared in the delicious, fragrantly spiced dishes, we were so touched by the serenity and poise, as over 150 people were welcomed, nourished, comforted and supported by an overwhelming strength of community.
It was indeed a rare and very special privilege for all of us - one which we continue to reflect upon, and to learn from.
Every person is unique. Every family is different.
With us, every Funeral is Individual.