Buddhist Merit Making for Passed Loved Ones

The Dragon Boat race was on Saturday and I missed it to attend a local Boun event. It was a memorial service ceremony in remembrance of passed loved ones, and their pictures were at the top left hand corner of the image below.

The money tree of Tonh Ga La Pirk was there to give friends and families the opportunity to Tum Boun or merit making with the host families.

Lee offered her money by hanging it on the tree.  The money was then donated to the temple.

Some offered money in envelopes. What is unique about this ceremony is that there is a bed called Gong Bung and on it contains items that we want our passed loved ones to have in their afterlife.  The Buddhists 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.

The ceremony was performed by monks chanting.

Long candles made by the family were lit as part of the ceremony as monks chanting.

Ajarn Somsak of Wat Greensboro performed the ceremony below.

The foods were prepared for offering to the monks after the chanting ceremony.

I didn’t feel well and didn’t stay for the whole ceremony.  My sister drove us home and the sky was nice with a few streaks of clouds here and there.  I was hoping to see the Super Moon but it was too cloudy on Saturday night. I’m glad that I took the picture of the moon on Friday night, it’s a day early but it is still the Super Moon to me.

All photos were taken with Canon T2i, and EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens.


    • seeharhed, there’s actually many kids her age there, and mostly went with their parents. I guess Lee doesn’t have many friends and would go where ever we go, so there’s not much influence by her peer.

  1. Do you call it “Gong Bung”? I always say “gong boon”. Maybe it’s just pronounced differently. 🙂

    • cn, I used to call it gong boon also until one of the monks said that it is actually called gong bung. I’m not sure if gong bung is only referred to when the bed is there, and they called the bed with items gong bung. I don’t think it is a regional term, your mom might know the answer. I have to ask my dad also. 🙂

  2. I asked my mom this weekend and she said many Cambodian monks at their temple like to refer to it as “gong bung”. As in bungsakoun for the deceased.

    But for Lao monks, it’s refer to as “gong boon”, even with the bed and other donated stuff. I am curious as to what other elders would say about it too. 😉

    • cn, come to think about it the monk at Wat Greensboro speaks Cambodia. I guess it makes sense to call it gong bung as in bungsakoun, and also makes sense to call it gong boun since it’s for tum boun. As for the elder, I bet different ones call it differently. I can ask a Lao blogger that lives in Laos to see what they call it back home.

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