Guide to Conduct and...

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Guide to Conduct and Ceremony

Part 2. Formalities concerning Family Affairs

Chapter 6. Funerary Rites

Section 2. Nirvana and Nirvana Ceremony

1. When a person is close to dying, the person or the close associates should perform the "Way of Nirvana" (The Canon of Secular Life) most sincerely.
2. When one enters nirvana, one's close associates should quietly gather the body of the deceased and cover it with white cloth, put everything in order and set up a pure quiet place.
3. One should keep the air cool in the nirvana room and be careful about the cleanliness of the body of the deceased.
4. If there is any concern about contagion caused by disease from the deceased, they must be careful to disinfect the body and room before entry into nirvana. Before disinfecting the body and placing it in the coffin, the mourners and dharma master who recite scriptures should not be brought into the presence of the deceased. Instead, a portrait of the deceased should be set up to perform a ceremony.
5. About one hour after the death, those who are concerned should gather and perform the nirvana ceremony; and after ringing the sitting bell or hand bell for one minute, the ceremony should be performed according to the following order:
1) Opening
2) Entering Samadhi
3) Mental affirmation (Ceremonial Text 24)
4) Recitation of the Sacred Mantra, 3 times (Ceremonial Text 3)
5) Dharma instruction for sending on the spirit (Ceremonial Texts 4-5)
6) Recitation of scriptures (the Il-Won-Sang Vow and the Heart Sutra)
7) Recitation of the Buddha's name (for 5 to 10 minutes)
8) Closing
6. As there are two examples of the dharma instruction fo sending on the spirit--the basic text (Ceremonial Text 4), and the one using honorific terms (Ceremonial Text 5)‐‐the proper one can be chosen and utilized according to the situation. If the dharma stage of the deceased reached or exceeded that of Right Master (Chŏngsa: status of "Dharma Strong and Mara Defeated"), then the reading should be omitted at all ceremonies including the first and last deliverance services except for Part 3. Rites and Rituals of the Order, Chapter 13. Ritual Objects of the Order, section 5.7
7. Before finishing the Nirvana Ceremony, those present should not audibly mourn.
8. After finishing the Nirvana Ceremony, those in charge should pull back the drapes and straighten the room, enshrine the photograph in front of the room, and receive condolences. Appropriate recitation of scriptures should be offered.