We Bowed Before Him

The ten monks chanted. They chanted a well worn script of prayer. Together, but not quite in unison. Resonating with the constant beat of the wooden percussion. Turning the page on life.

We bowed before Him. Palms up.

Baba looked over his alter with a smile rarely captured by the camera. Handsome and proud. His alter laden with fruits and favorite snacks, flowers, and huge red envelops stuffed with origami silver and gold ingots piled high.

We bowed before him. Palms down.

The ten monks chanted. Pausing for sips of tea. Their voices rising and falling. Sometimes no more then a rumbling murmur. And other times rising in a crescendo. Passing pages marked by the ringing of a bell.

We bowed before Him. Palms up.

Baba looked at his loved ones gathered before him. To celebrate his life. To honor his death. His children and their children. His legacy of blood. And those of us that were blessed to be welcomed into his family. His legacy of love.

We bowed before him. Palms down.

After each chant. When we had all bowed both palms up and palms down. There was a break. Time for the monks to get their tea refreshed and check their phones. Time for us to walk around the temple. Families in mourning mingling with sightseers. Some lighting incense and bowing in prayers. Others curiously peeking into the alter rooms.

There were five rounds of prayer. Five rounds of bowing palms up. Five rounds of bowing palms down.

In the fifth round the monks led us in a procession to the temple’s central grounds where we were joined by other families making the same procession. In a giant urn, we placed the red envelopes filled with origami gold and silver to burn. As the envelopes were taken by flame some of the money spilled out in abundance. A good sign.

Back in the alter room, one of the monks sang about Baba, the family he came from and the family he raised. They blessed us with their prayers. We bowed before Him. Palms up.

Baba still looking upon us from his place at the alter, smiled. He blessed us with his life. We bowed before him. Palms down.

Be well,


1 Comment

  1. Kathleen says:

    Thanks for painting this picture.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s