cimg0380 900w the touch of a button

Today I gave a memorial service at a member's house and it was such a quirky, funny experience that I thought I would share it here. 

Memorial services are typically held at weekends because this is when families can gather together easily for these extended drinking parties, which is what they often become.  As a result, Buddhist priests tend to be busy at weekends. As a teacher too, who is busy all week, I end up with zero time for taking it easy, but that is another story.

Today was a 13-year-since the death anniversary for a family who live maybe 10 minutes away from the temple, by car. Our congregation are dotted around the mountains in this very rural area. Normally I can tell which house is having a service as there are lots of relatives cars around the house, but this time I couldn't see any sign of any activity so I passed the house twice and checked with a very elderly lady I found walking between the rice fields, before I decided that I had come to the right place. In the house were a couple in their 60s, an older sister of the husband and a 7-yr-old boy with influenza.

I had just changed from my travelling robes to my formal robes, drunk my tea and was settling down into seiza (formal sitting on the knees) in front of the family altar when one of the women cries "Stop! I have an idea!" She then hurried off to the next room and started rummaging around in the closet. She came back with a karaoke machine.  She said "I'll record you chanting then whenever we pay our respects at the altar, all we have to do is turn on the tape, and voila! We have an instant chanting priest at the touch of the button!" She and the husband started plugging it in, finding the mike, then much to my relief they realised that the mike was broken and they couldn't record. I had been sitting there, dumbstruck, and then I took the opportunity to tell them that the head temple had a CD of all the chants  which I could get hold of for them, but of course, the CD was to be supplement to their own chanting, not instead of them chanting themselves.

I then conducted the service with no further incidents, gave a short sermon, and we moved into the next room for a delicious home-cooked meal and chatted about the comings and the goings of the neighbours and where was the cheapest place to buy milk in this back of beyond town.

What a funny family, and I must remember to get them that CD they want so much!


jan in nagasaki
- March 10 2012 at 07:27

love it!! keep on keeping us posted...
Leave a Comment

Contact Info

Call: 0982-75-1639
Fax: 0982-75-1868
Email: Contact Us


Genbuzan Shonen-ji Temple, Kamino 2771, Takachiho-cho, Nishiusuki-gun, Miyazaki-ken, Japan 882-1411