City of Ten Thousand Buddhas - Ritual of Scattering the Ashes

 
I came from empty space, and I will return to empty space.
 

I came from empty space,
and I will return to empty space.

On July 29, one day after the body of the eminent Buddhist monk Venerable Master Hsuan Hua was cremated, his ashes were scattered in the air above the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas by his disciples, fulfilling the Venerable Master's wish, "I came from empty space, and to empty space I will return."

At eight o'clock in the morning on July 29, over a thousand of the Venerable Master's disciples stood in the meadow in front of the Five Contemplations Dining Hall at the Sagely City, waiting for the hot air balloon to fill up and rise into the air.

Dharma Masters Heng Sure and Heng Lai (American disciples of the Venerable Master) as well as Dharma Master Zhenyi (the Abbot of Baoyuan Monastery in Costa Rica) boarded the hot air balloon, carrying the Venerable Master's ashes.

At eight-thirty, the balloon began to rise slowly into the air. The Dharma Masters riding in the balloon began slowly scattering the Venerable Master's ashes. The ashes quickly dispersed in the air, like undulating tendrils of smoke that soon merged into the void.

A few of the faithful who were present were choked with tears as they cried out, "Teacher, don't go! Teacher, don't go..." The vast majority of the disciples continued solemnly reciting the name of the Buddha, completing this Final Ceremony.

Waiting for the hot-air balloon to carry the ashes into the air

Waiting for the hot-air balloon to carry the ashes into the air.

The Venerable Elder Master has gone, and the way he left accorded with his words when alive: "Sweep away all dharmas. Separate from all appearances." What he left behind for his disciples were great responsibilities--to continue propagating the Buddhadharma, translating the Buddhist Canon, carrying out the ideals of education well, and so on.

by Tong Xinci,
p. 112, "In Memory of Ven. Master Hua, Vol. II"