Buddhism, Community, Lao Tradition

Bung Sa Goun in Remembrance of Our Passed Loved Ones at the Temple

Bung Sa Goun Ceremony

Sunday I attended a Buddhist ceremony at one of the temples in Charlotte, NC, quiet a bit drive from our house.  This ceremony is called Bung Sa Goun, which is a memorial service ceremony in remembrance of the passed loved one and in this ceremony, two families held the ceremony together, one family was for their father, and his son and daughter in-law, and another family was for their uncle.

What is unique about this ceremony is that there are four beds (one for each deceased person) that are called Gong Bung and on them contain items that we want our passed loved ones to have in their afterlife.  The Buddhist believe that in the spiritual world, our passed loved ones still use these items, we want them to have the necessities of the daily life convenient such as pillow, blanket, plates and bowls, and other items. As for item of personal clothing article, many would also offer this, but ask to get it back by offering donation called Busar, and the monetary amount offered is up to the offered because there is no set amount.

Gong Bung

Gong Bung

Meal is also offered to the deceased, this is called Pra Kao Thip.

Pra Kao Thip

I’ve been working hard in my garden, but my trees don’t look anything like this, might be because I water my trees with water (Nom in Lao language), but I do wish that I have a money tree at home.  The money tree here is called Tonh Ga La Pirk, this would give friends and families the opportunity to Tum Boun (merit making) with the host families, offering their money by hanging it on the tree, this tree is obviously watered with Nom Jai, water that came from the heart (Jai).  The money is then donated to the temple.

Money tree

The ceremony is performed by monks, started with chanting.

Bung Sa Goun Ceremony

Bung Sa Goun Ceremony

This is to offer foods or items to the passed loved ones, and at this point, one can also make a wish to receive the merit for him/herself.

Thom holding Almsgiving items

Thom holding Almsgiving items

According to our Buddhist belief, Tuk Badt or Almsgiving is believed by many that it’s a Boun (merit making) of life, that they’ll live a long and healthy life, which technically speaking, by Tuk Badt, they’re offering foods to the monks to sustain their livelihoods.

Almsgiving

Many people were there, this lady has a cool tattoo.

Lao lady with Lotus tattoo

Lisa and Thom

Lao guy with his son

The desserts

Steamed Coconut Balls ( Ka Noom Tom ) Kanom Mor Gang

Lao Foods

Nham Spicy Beef Salad

Som Pak, aka pickle salad hot tomato sauce

Patties Fried fish and Lao beef jerky

Sung koo yud sai Tum Maak Houng, aka Spicy papaya salad

This temple is new, they’ve been here less than 4 years, and they’ve a nice pond in the back.

Pond

13 thoughts on “Bung Sa Goun in Remembrance of Our Passed Loved Ones at the Temple”

  1. thanks sao for putting the pictures up =), oh and i found danny at target lol, tell him im proud of him =)

    1. Hi Lisa, you’re welcome. Your picture came out real nice, and I’ll email the pictures to you. I’ll let Danny know, he’d be happy to hear from you. 🙂

    1. lady0fdarkness, some temples don’t have Gong Bung (bed), then what we did for our mom was to get huge laundry baskets and put the essential items that the monks can use on a day to day basis, this is called Sunka Tarn.

      Sounds like you did a Sunka Tarn for your Dad, I personally like this better than Gong Bung because all the items that came with the bed are just there for show, no one would really use it in real life, but the Sunka Tarn the monk can use the items.

      1. Those bed and stuffs are there for us to “buy” but then donate back to the temple. The temple and the monks would rather have the money. I don’t mind the that the money needed for the upkeep of the temple but the monks should not be too dependent of it.

        1. Ainoo, it is called Busar, not buy. I think Wat and monks don’t have much saying in what we want to offer, whether items or money, they just glad that we do. Since monks don’t work a 9-5 job like us, and have normal income like us, then this is one of the sources of income that comes into Wat, unlike Wat in Laos, Wat in the US have mortgage, of course they’d depend on the money that people offer to pay for expenses to run Wat, just like the churches in the US depend on the tide money.

          1. What would the English word be for Busar? I think we should monitor what the monk buy and how much they get from all the donation. What do you think?

            1. Ainoo, Busar would loosely translated as offering in monetary term for goods at Wat. Wat can’t sell stuff, but they will take offering or donation.

  2. Ainoo said: “I think we should monitor what the monk buy and how much they get from all the donation. What do you think?”

    Sounds like you’ve just created a job for yourself.

    Some Wat have a committee that monitor and managed the money, but there is always that transparency issue that most can’t provide to temple goers when asked, they get very offended and to me if you’re honest about how you manage the money, you should not be offended and to do so only throw a red flag indicating that you’ve been stealing the money, (this is from the auditor point of view). I think transparency means that every dollars should be accountable for and it shouldn’t be based on trust, it doesn’t work that way this day and age.

    Personally, Wat in the US, I prefer the abbot of the Wat to manage the money and might be oversee by a committee, there should be a check and balance type of system.

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