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Inter-being and honouring ancestors

KeromeKerome Love, love is mysteryThe Continent Veteran

I came across this section in Thich Nhat Hanh’s No Death, No Fear and it reminded me...

Each time my feet touched the earth I knew my mother was there with me. I knew this body was not mine alone but a living continuation of my mother and my father and my grandparents and great-grandparents. Of all my ancestors. These feet that I saw as "my" feet were actually "our" feet. Together my mother and I were leaving footprints in the damp soil.

My ancestors were dour Dutch fishermen and farmers, their beliefs connected to the Dutch Reformed Church. Honouring their ancestors was not a great part of their tradition, and I’m probably the first to examine this way of thinking about those who came before us. Now I don’t think i’ll convert to ancestor worship, but it does make me feel a great deal of sympathy for my ancestors.

Do you have a tradition for honouring your ancestors?

Comments

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I wouldn't call it a tradition, but I do honour and respect my immediate grandparents for the thins I know about them; the lives they led, the children they had and the trials they bore....

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Do you have a tradition for honouring your ancestors?

    I swim in the ocean....

    lobsterFosdick
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    Do you have a tradition for honouring your ancestors?

    No.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited August 24

    @federica said:
    I wouldn't call it a tradition, but I do honour and respect my immediate grandparents for the things I know about them; the lives they led, the children they had and the trials they bore....

    I think that is more normal in Europe. But it’s interesting, how rarely people talk about ancestors beyond those we immediately know ourselves. My mother sometimes talks about her grandfather, my great-grandfather, who she lived with for a while when the family was all housed in a large house along one of the canals. I remember meeting him when I was very young, I watched a disaster movie on his TV about a plane which crashed in the sea and sunk to a shallow depth with all the passengers on board.

    But out of all my great-grandparents he was the only one I knew. I never even heard my father talk once about his grandparents on his father’s or his mother’s side. So in a way you really don’t know very much about where you came from, who these people were and what were the important stories of their lives.

    Edit: and wouldn’t you know it, exactly today my mother tells me a long story about her childhood in her parental house with her father and his family, and how musical and joyful they were when she was very young.

    Shoshin
  • KundoKundo Veteran Sydney, Australia Veteran

    Do you have a tradition for honouring your ancestors?

    For my Jewish ancestors I keep Shabbas and follow some traditions (light Shabbas candles, make challah, observe the holy days etc).

    For my other ancestors - my background is Northwestern European and my recent ancestors are Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish. I have always been interested in their lifestyle and how they would have lived. So I observe the festivals and rituals to honour the dead that they would have performed.

  • rocalarocala Explorer Explorer

    I do honour them. I am a keen genealogist with a very rich family history. I spend time with them, whether they be medieval royalty or the poor of Dickensian London.

    I try to understand their lives and their contribution to this world and their part in what has become 'me'.

    Sometimes I feel incredibly close to something that is both me and beyond me.

    federicaKundolobster
  • KundoKundo Veteran Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @rocala said:
    I do honour them. I am a keen genealogist with a very rich family history.

    Ditto :)

  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    Knowing the roots and route causes of ego. One thing.

    Another is the relative [pun fun intended] unimportance/subsidiary nature of this indulgence.

    The placeless unborn is not rooted but grows in the homeless. In other words:

    We are not the mountain
    the mole hill
    or even the climber ...

    Did I mention The Buddha is my Mother?

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    In Zen sometimes they say that you can’t truly be mature until your parents have died. That the conditioned response to one’s parents is so great that they are still with you, and that only in death does that communication become clear...

    federicalobster
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