Sungka Tarn, a Merit Making Ceremony for My Mom

The 3 year anniversary of my mom’s death once again united our family on Sunday, 3 of my sisters came up for a Buddhist traditional ceremony of Sungka Tarn for my Mom at our local temple, Wat Greensboro. As for some, they might find that it’s more convenient to do this at home as a part of a Buddha house blessing, but for us it’s more convenient to do it at the temple so that the monks wouldn’t have to travel a great distance just to get to our house.

A Sungka Tarn is a Buddhist merit making ceremony for the deceased, we donated daily necessity items to the monks/temple such as bag of rice, tissues, toiletries, dried foods, fruits, waters, books, pens & pencils, bath towels, coffee & tea, and other necessity items.

Since it was in the morning, we also prepared the midday meal for the monks as well.

After the meal, the monks gave us our blessing and we chanted after Ajarn (monk) Noy that lead the chanting in Pali. Lee tried her best to follow, and when the verses got too complicated, she was very quick to pickup that every verses ended with a ‘Cha-Mi’. She has a beautiful voice, and her ‘Cha-Mi’ was quiet loud, and she would say it after everyone so it sounded like an echo. My sisters that sat next to her were giggling and the monk that lead the chant tried his best not to laugh. Lee noticed that people were looking at her and she whispered to me, “Did I say something funny?” I told her that she was doing just fine, and of course, her ‘Cha-Mi’ got a bit louder and more confident this time. After the service we went to say our farewell and the head monk gave Lee a children chanting book. I’m sure she’ll be better at it the next time.

New Years Almsgiving at Wat Greensboro

“Soke Dee Pi Mai…May you be blessed in the New Year” are the words that we exchange to one another on the New Year. And to some, a New Year signifies a new beginning, but a new beginning can be any day of the year in my opinion, we can start a new beginning when ever we are ready.

According to Buddha, “the secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” This quote made me think of a quote from the movie Kung Fu Panda made by Oogway, “You are too concerned about what was and what will be. There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.”

This is so true, and present is what we’re living in, only you can bring yourself happiness like the Lord Buddha said “ Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others” and “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”

We had more turnout this year than last year, and Almsgiving on January 1st is a tradition that has passed down for generations and it’s a tradition amongst the Buddhist community, a tradition for Wat Greensboro of North Carolina.

My dad above, and my GI Joe sister’s photo below.

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