On the other hand, what do you think about your parents, grandparents, great grandparents and other ancestors? All would agree that the nuclear family is family. Most would say the same for their extended family. Do you think of your ancestors as part of your family?
Cherish Yourself and Your Family
All of us will lose our parents someday. As time passes we will lose husbands, wives, brothers, sisters or children. Are the deceased a part of your family? Once they are dead, do they cease being part of your family? From a Buddhist perspective, they are your family whether they are living or dead. No matter what happens, family relationships are forever.
Your parents, grandparents, great grandparents, aunts and uncles did their best for you just as you are doing your best for your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. We are here today because of the efforts of our family over the generations. If one link was missing in our family chain we would not have been born. We do not live alone, separate from our past or future. We are a living link between the past and the future. We are the connection between our past and future families. It is our responsibility to take good care of what our past family has left for us, make it better and pass it on to our future family. If someone does not take care of their parents, they may not be taken care of by their children. Our children learn from the example we set just as their children will learn from them. So all family is equally important, whether they lived long before you or will be born long after you die. A religion which does not teach about the importance of past and future family does not teach true family values.
The True Meaning of Memorial
Holding a memorial service is a way we can honor our past family for their sacrifices and efforts on our behalf. We accumulate great benefits by chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo and then, transfer these benefits to our past family.