Memorial services are held regularly at Wabi’an for the following occasions, which are discussed in detail further down the page:
> Memorials for the Deceased
> Memorials for the Ancestors
> Memorials for Pregnancy Loss
> Memorials for Pets
The cost of these memorial services is by “dana” (personal generosity). Please refer to the Contact page for details on how to make an offering.
In Buddhism, when someone passes away, it is believed that it takes time for their spirit to enter into their next journey and so they need our love and prayers to guide and help them on their way. At Wabi’an, memorial services are held after a person passes away for each seven days for seven weeks, then at one hundred days, when the spirit is considered released from it’s earthly bonds. Memorials are held then at proscribed intervals up until the thirty-third year, by which time the person becomes an ancestor, considered as an enlightened being who can help the living find peace and happiness. If these memorial services are not performed, the spirit of the person may not be able to find their next path and so become restless and agitated and lost, and might return to the world of the living in a wrathful and damaging form that could be harmful to their descendants.
Memorials for the Ancestors:
Your ancestors are honoured by memorial services held on the anniversary of their passing at proscribed intervals. These memorials are important because it is an opportunity to offer gratitude for the fact that you are alive because of them, to show appreciation for the gifts they have bestowed on you through your DNA and for cultivating an awareness of the struggles and sacrifices made by many people who have contributed to making you who you are today. Sometimes though, there are ancestors who have died violently, suddenly or with great resistance to their deaths. It is extremely important to identify who these ancestors are and to offer special memorial services to them to help pacify these angry, restless spirits who might be wandering in the world of the living and causing problems for their descendants. Also, there may be negative karmic residues that affect you in your life now by causing emotional burdens that can be helped by memorials which focus specifically on clearing negative karmic influences. As an experienced genealogist and family historian, Cate can also help you to find ancestors who may have died in violent circumstances and who need help to ease their troubled spirits that might be harmful to the living.
Memorials for Pregnancy Loss:
In Buddhism, life and death are seen as a very fluid and continuous arising and passing away of energy. In Japan, babies who do not come to term in pregnancy are called “mizuko,” which means “water baby.” This is because the baby passes from the waters of the womb back into the flowing stream of cosmic energy.
In our Western culture, because of the controversies associated with defining “life,” which has created such heated debate in the area of pregnancy, it is difficult for parents who suffer from pregnancy loss to find rituals of closure that help them through their grieving process. This is particularly true for parents who experience pregnancy loss at less than 24 weeks. It is also difficult for many parents who have made the tough decision to terminate a pregnancy to find ways of dealing with their subsequent grief, which may surface many years after the termination. At Wabi’an, there is no distinction made between involuntary and voluntary pregnancy loss – if a parent (mother or father) feels that a memorial for their lost baby will help bring comfort or closure for their grieving then there are no questions asked about how the loss occurred or why, and no judgement that lessens the validity of their grief.
The ritual for pregnancy loss varies according to the circumstances of each case, but is usually based on an element such as water, earth, fire or air, and is worked out during a consultation with Cate prior to the day of the ritual. Sometimes it is the consultation itself that is enough for the grieving parent to undertake a suggested ritual on their own and to find comfort in that personal ritual; other times, a memorial service held at Wabi’an is felt to be more appropriate. It depends entirely on the individual.
Memorials for Pets:
In Wabi’an there is a special altar just for pets. People send photos of their much-loved animal companions who have passed away and their spirits are prayed for daily so that they may find peace and safely travel on to their next journey. In Buddhism, animals are treated the same as humans with regard to memorialising their passing and rituals of closure, are considered just as important for their grieving loved ones. The memorial is a way of honouring the loyalty and unconditional love of your pet, and it is also important to help the spirit of your pet to move swiftly on to it’s next journey, without becoming restless and jealous of other companions who might come into your life afterwards, who might suffer from this negative energy. If you would like a photo of your pet to be placed on the altar in Wabi’an, please send a standard-sized photo (enlargements won’t be able to fit on the altar) with the name of your pet, the date of it’s passing and how old it was, as well as your own contact details to Wabi’an, 8 Bouvard Drive, Bouvard 6211 WA, Australia.