Posts Tagged ‘Remembering our ancestors’

Ching Ming Day which means “clear and bright day” is here again. It is a day to go to our ancestors’ tombs, pull away the wild growing weeds surrounding it, sweep the place clean and then offer foods, drinks and of course some money in the form of hell bank notes. Some even let off a string of fire-crackers or two to attract some good luck.

“Tomb Sweeping Day” as this practice is sometimes known, is not a Buddhist practice but a Taoist one. Of course Lord Buddha encourages us to respect our dead ancestors and hold them in high esteem but it was a Taoist practice to go to the tombs and make offerings each spring.

In the past, it is common to see people burning paper clothes, shoes, houses, cars, home appliances,  jewelries and even servants for their departed loved ones hoping to get their blessings in return. But today, this practice is getting more and more commercialized. This morning, I walked past a shop selling such items near my place and saw paper ipads hanging all over the shop. This is getting lunatic. Paper computers or mobile phones are now so passé.

As Buddhist or even Taoists, we are supposed to believe in the concept of rebirth. Our dead ancestors have died for so many years, surely they have been reincarnated, with some even a few rounds. So, if we were to burn these items, who will be there in hell to receive them?

“Hey, I’ve received the gold and silver ingots as well as the clothes you offered the other day and thank you so much!” – anyone heard of this before?

But there is something everybody heard of – those clever entrepreneurs selling these items will be laughing their way to the banks and also, with all the burnings going on for the past month, no wonder the air we breathe in is getting more and more polluted. Some may said, never mind, it’s a yearly affair, not a daily one. And so, this practice perpetuates.

Money is getting harder and harder to come by these days. I think it is a waste to spend several hundreds of dollars burning paper items for a host of dead ancestors and not knowing whether they actually got it or not. It is like burning our money. So what I did from now on is to chant some prayers for them and donate some money to the temple in their names. I chose this way to remember my departed loved ones.

How about you? What do you think of all those burnings?

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