Pow’s body was cremated day before yesterday. I was invited to come to the house at eleven, the trekk to the funeral was supposed to leave there at 12:00h.
When I came at 1short past 11:00 h the house was full of monks. 8 or 9 men of the family had ordaind for the day of the funeral plus 8 who have come from the district. The head of the district who rebuked me the other day was amongst them. He saw me, I greeted he nodded and turned around to the monk next to him and seemed to say: “This is the nun I told you of”. Then he turned to the more important things, donations. Each monk received a bucket, an envelope with money, the family monks only an envelope.
They chanted the blessings for the donators, the donators chanted something for the monks, which is not very common.
The family monks were looking desperate. Not knowing the chants, not knowing how to put the robes on. Every possible moment escaping to smoke a cigartette outside, feeling kind of strange with a bole head and touching it repetedly.
Then the monks chanted the Abhidhamma. I joint in, I don’t know it 100% but if the others chant loud enough, I can follow.
After the chants the headmonk left and all the other monks rested. The householders and guests started to eat.
At about 12:00 when we were preparing to gothe sky got dark and clouded, but it did not rain until the evening.
We walked maybe two kilometers to the cremation place. I didn’t knew that by this time and was wondering (and afraid) if we’re going to the moastery of the head of the district, which is far away, especially when one is walking barefoot on a newly made street. It had 43 C that day, I was told yesterday. All monks pulled the cart with the box with a wooden construction and others held it on the other end, some villagers following. Behind us a music combo who played traditional Thaisound (was no music to my ears)
I noted stepping, pain, pain, stepping, burning, pain,…thinking how much kilometer can I do? Deciding I go as far as the other, no matter what, pain, pain, stepping, stepping, and reached the cremation place – lucky that is only o ne and a half kilometers away from the village.
Those who came by car had prepared some soft drinks (I didn’t take) to monks and finally one nun, drinks were offered. Most of the men were carrying the box with the dead corpse at one side and opend it to get some plastikbags with ice. Unfortunately a wave of bad smell came to the audiences tribune so a lot of people thought it’s Pow’s rest which is smelling. Some brave family members came and watched the dead. Some monks and a nun felt animated to do the same.
Thai dead’s a not wearing make up like in the west. He had no more eyes, but some yellowish liquid, the eyelids were open like lets say on Buddha statues. His mouth was stiffed with paper, the skin had a weird yellow color and it was only skin and bones.
A 5 days old dead corps with ice cooled is a good meditation object. Some cried, though the Thai’s do not cry for their dead’s. Very reasonable.
I put my incense and paper flower which i got earlier on his chest and touched it, the chest. Felt like a skinny corpse. After that someone was animated by to put his incense in his hand and I was surprised that it was possible that the hand was movable, not stiff. After that one monk studied my face intensely, I watched his. The box was put on the fireplace, the wooden constructure on top, not an easy manouver.
Then robes were offered (I got one to offer it to the monks as well). A lot. With announcements of donator and receiver (monk) (they took notice that I walk barefoot and one took his shoes off to go to the offerings all the way, 15m, he smiled at me with companionship, when he came back, while others completely forgot to take shoes off), long procedure meanwhile, a “fireworker” installed cables. Then we offered the Paperflowers we got earlier to the close family. (I got a second one.)In a ceremonial act, one of the relatives pulled a lever and a firework started, around the place, closer to the fireplace until it finally reached there with orange and green smoke, some howling sirens and the final pouff which set the thing on fire. The Abhidhamma was chanted again, and then we left. It rained at night and was fresh and rainy (still hot, but not so much) until today afternoon.
Yesterday I went to Ching Mai to see Nadya and the Bikkhuni.