Sungka Tarn, a Merit Making Ceremony for My Mom

The 3 year anniversary of my mom’s death once again united our family on Sunday, 3 of my sisters came up for a Buddhist traditional ceremony of Sungka Tarn for my Mom at our local temple, Wat Greensboro.  As for some, they might find that it’s more convenient to do this at home as a part of a Buddha house blessing, but for us it’s more convenient to do it at the temple so that the monks wouldn’t have to travel a great distance just to get to our house.

A Sungka Tarn is a Buddhist merit making ceremony for the deceased, we donated daily necessity items to the monks/temple such as bag of rice, tissues, toiletries, dried foods, fruits, waters, books, pens & pencils, bath towels, coffee & tea, and other necessity items.

Since it was in the morning, we also prepared the midday meal for the monks as well.

After the meal, the monks gave us our blessing and we chanted after Ajarn (monk) Noy that lead the chanting in Pali. Lee tried her best to follow, and when the verses got too complicated, she was very quick to pickup that every verses ended with a ‘Cha-Mi’.  She has a beautiful voice, and her ‘Cha-Mi’ was quiet loud, and she would say it after everyone so it sounded like an echo.  My sisters that sat next to her were giggling and the monk that lead the chant tried his best not to laugh.  Lee noticed that people were looking at her and she whispered to me, “Did I say something funny?” I told her that she was doing just fine, and of course, her ‘Cha-Mi’ got a bit louder and more confident this time.  After the service we went to say our farewell and the head monk gave Lee a children chanting book. I’m sure she’ll be better at it the next time.


  1. This is a wonderful tradition your family is doing to remember your mom.

    And Lee is doing such a good & funny job of chanting. I think I was much more shy when I was Lee’s age. I can barely catch up with the chanting at this age! 🙂

    • Cambree, Lee is shy, but when everyone else was chanting, she felt like she had to do her part as well.

      I think it’s still hard for any of us to accept her death even though it had been 3 years. 😦

  2. Buddhist traditions like this is so peaceful and beautiful. It warms my heart knowing that we could still do something for our loved ones, even after they’re gone.

    • lady0fdarkness, I think it’s something nice that we can do for Wat also and assuming that your passed loved one can’t come and receive your offering because they’re in a place that they no longer needs it, then the boun comes back to you. The survival of our local Wat depends on our support.

  3. Nye – Once a year, my parents would do the same thing you guys did for my grandparents. It is much easier for most of us just go to the temple, rather then picking and dropping off those monks. My parents would pick the weekday to do this thing so the temple is not full of people.

    • seeharhed, the monks have a way to get to our house, but it’s 1.50 hours one way, and 3 hours round trip, it’s better if we visit the temple. It’s nice to know that people in your area are doing it also, a great way for younger generations to learn about our tradition.

    • mozemoua, my dad knew a thing or two about Kean, I might let him teach her on the weekend, he can use my second sister’s Kean. Kids are funny sometimes. 🙂

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