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Changing Order

The Abbot's time was near, and a certain gloom fell on Mubanrao. He was old, he was not actively helping Mubans any more - and this could have been a big problem if it weren't for the outsiders. There was much talk of the successor, not to the outsiders, although Tanbo and Far learnt of the tradition from their partners. And neither understood.

At the time of the Abbot's death Dom Kajaa's Elders would search Mubanrao for a successor. There was a Dom, Dom Pinaika, far from the main village up in the mountains where the elders would go to mourn his death. After the mourning they would then meditate and pray for the Kajaa to choose a new Abbot. They never knew what they were looking for in a new Abbot but they trusted Kajaa. This was the one time the Mubans were not at their best. It was such a prestigious post that everybody wished to be chosen. It was usual but not always the rule that the Pinaika Elders chose a child so that they could train him - it was by tradition a boy.

So the Elders were heralded wherever they went. Different people would describe exploits of magnificence, usually of other people but sadly not always, sometimes their children and even themselves. It became very difficult for the Elders to decide. One time it was 5 years before they chose someone, and because it was not clear they chose a young boy who had shown no signs. They trained this boy up, and he became one of their best loved.

This time proved just as difficult. They searched Mubanrao, and found no-one they could agree on. Some children they found to be close. Kind-hearted caring dutiful, many other virtues, but it needed to be stronger than that. It was kind of like grabbing, the Elders knew that the Presence of the new Abbot had to grab them and almost force them to anoint. But whilst commending the obvious virtue they left dissatisfied to search further.

They returned to Dom Pinaika to seek refuge and recharge the batteries. It was the tradition that a new Abbot be appointed at the time the Old One was interred in Dom Kajputao where all the other Abbots were interred. It was believed that the preserved bodies of the Abbot lineage watched over the Mubans, and many still prayed before them especially if one such was in their family. So pressure was mounting on the Elders to appoint so that the Abbot could be interred.

However the Mubans respected the Elders' privacy in these difficult times so they were let be when they returned to Dom Pinaika. They searched Mubanrao high and low, and were still in a quandary returning to Dom Kajaa to pray before returning to Dom Pinaika again. They passed where Yunio and Mpho lived, it had been many years ago an old Dom but had been converted to accommodation for people on retreat. Until the Abbot had given it to Yunio and Mpho. And as the Elders passed it felt like a Dom again, as the people were there praying and listening to Yunio and Mpho. The Elders had been grabbed, and their search was over.

For a while there were some grumblings at the prospective anointing of the outsiders but this soon passed as once people realised the wisdom of the choice they soon forgot their own egoist family interests. Many had visited both Mpho and Yunio, and had felt Kajaa was with them. But this broke many traditions, two Abbots, a female Abbot, both were much older than was usual for a new Abbot. Some grumbled at this breaking of tradition fearing the end of the old ways.

The night after they were chosen, the Link met. They too were concerned for the tradition. They had grown to understand Kajaa for Kajaa was beyond physical boundaries. They had initially heard Uu talking about Daam, the way of Nature, and now they arrive in Mubanrao they hear of Kajaa. The words changed but the spirit - the underlying teaching - was the same. For this reason Mpho and Yunio could discuss Kajaa in much the same way as Daam.

Of course not all Mubans understood this. Whilst they respected the outsiders, and the trust the Abbot and the Elders had put in them, there were customs and practices they carried out that Mubans considered was Kajaa. Mpho had once tried to explain to some that Kajaa was not the physical form, but this had led one or two Mubans to complain to the Abbot. The Abbot eased the peoples' fears by explaining that there is some Kajaa best for Abbots alone, and the Mubans were happy with that. He warned Mpho against discussion of the customs and practices, more he warned her not to try to debunk faith in them, after all these customs and practices whilst not being Kajaa protected Kajaa and its annointees. Seeing the sense in this protection the Link never questioned the customs and practices but were happy to fit in with them as a means of securing Kajaa.

The Link decided that they must resurrect all the traditions concerning the death of an Abbot and the annointing of a new one. To this end they asked Sarpo to research all he could into the history of such traditions. And to this end a whole section of the Annals were just directed towards such descriptions.

And true to the link's design the ceremony became the most traditional. The Mubans enjoyed such rituals and their generous hearts often embellished the more material of the practices. Mpho directed the Elders to ensure that such embellishments were saved to the feasting afterwards, and that the ceremony itself should reflect the respect for the office and Abbot - both outgoing and incoming.

As the day of transfer approached the Elders prepared Dom Pinaika. Because it was far from main Mubanrao, at times of transfer it became transformed into a meeting place for all in Mubanrao. This was no small feat. There became two separate preparations, the place of ceremony and the place of feasting.

On the day itself people arrived from all over Mubanrao. Those that had travelled from afar had been hosted in Mubanrao itself as it was the practice to keep Dom Pinaika for the day itself. Their first stop was to bring food to the place of feasting where many women organised, flapped and generally felt important. After they had offered the food there began the procession around the place of Ceremony. Strategically placed near the ceremonial Altar were the symbols of Kajaa, the huge cylindrical wheels they called Kajaalor. As each person on the procession passed a Kajaalor they bowed three times to respect Kajaa, the sanctity of Abbothood, and the joy of their community Mubanrao. Then they walked onto the next Kajaalor placed some distance away. In recent times this procession had become an occasion of reunion. People from afar would arrive and begin the recounting of recent adventures. Mpho and Yunio had asked for this to stop. The Elders were assigned to walk around near Kajaalors, and ensure that the procession was a time of reflection and not reunion.

The procession returned to being a time of great spiritual reunion and a reinforcement of the great joy that was Mubanrao. Once the people knew they were not partaking of discussion, their minds returned to reflection and this joint reflection brought great harmony. It was a great sight that filled the hearts of the Elders with joy, their people wandering along the procession deep in contemplation pausing only to bow at the Kajaalors.

Once it was clear that all had arrived the Elders moved the procession inside the area that was designated for viewing the Altar. Once seated the chimess began as all around the area stood up Mubans dressed in purple and orange with bright green hats. The Mubans took it in turns to sound the chimes, it was a quiet sound as if a gentle wind was blowing around the arena. They called this the snake-chimes as the snake that protected the whole of Mubanrao had descended and now protected the arena of transfer. Once the snake had been secured by one circuit of the chimes, Elders brought in the body of the abbot in the open glass casket. Following the casket were Mpho and Yunio dressed down in the simple robes that an Abbot wore daily. This again was an old tradition that had fallen away, and a reminder that although the Abbots were important because of their relationship with Kajaa they were just simple people as well. The significance was not lost on the Mubans who had been expecting great pomp from the outsiders.

The casket was taken to the altar, placed on a podium, and the lid of the cask was raised. Mpho and Yunio followed the body onto the stage, knelt and bowed three times before the body of the Abbot. She began to recite the litany:-


1. There is no possible way to escape death.

2. Life has a definite, inflexible limit and each moment

brings us closer to the finality of this life. We are dying

from the moment we are born.

3. Death comes in a moment and its time is unexpected.

All that separates us from the next life is one breath.

After saying this she went up to the Abbot kissed him on the forehead and moved to the right of the casket, sat and faced the arena; Yunio did the same moving to the left. There was a great silence as the arena reflected on the finality of the death of the Abbot and the greatness that his life had brought. For some this brought tears of reverence in memory of how the Abbot had helped Mubanrao.

After a while rustling started and Yunio began to speak:-

4. The duration of our lifespan is uncertain.

The young can die before the old, the healthy before

the sick, etc.

5. There are many causes and circumstances that lead to

Death but few that favour the sustenance of life.

6. The weakness and fragility of one's physical body

contribute to life's uncertainty.

Let us try to ripen our inner potential now, without delay."

Again there was silence as all reflected on these traditional words, then for the last time Mpho spoke:-

"The only thing that can help us at the time of death is our mental/spiritual development.

7. Worldly possessions such as wealth, position, money

can't help.

8. Relatives and friends can neither prevent death nor go

with us.

9. Even our own precious body is of no help to us. We have to leave it behind like a shell, an empty husk.

In this time of change let us spend some time to ripen our inner potential purely."

At this there was again silence as Mubans began a short collective inner journey. After a suitable interval Mpho and Yunio stood and moved to kneel before the casket, so indicating it was time for the next part of the ceremony to proceed. The Elders then stood and waited for the chimes to sound once around the arena, and they then moved to stand behind the casket facing the arena. Two Elders then took from the casket two amulets, and placed the amulets over the heads of the new kneeling Abbots, these amulets to be worn for a year as symbol of transfer from the old to the new.

Mpho and Yunio then stood, bowed before the Abbot's body, and moved to the back of the arena. The Mubans followed, each in turn moving to the front of the arena to bow three times to the Abbot. As Mpho and Yunio reached the entrance of the arena they led the procession around the Kajaalors bowing three times as was the practice. The people followed in silence reinforcing the strength of their traditions. Once they had competed one circuit of the arena, they turned to the Mubans behind to gesture that they should move off to the place of feasting, and the Elders led them off whilst Mpho and Yunio moved back to the altar, bowed before the casket, sat either side and resumed their meditation. There was still many Mubans inside the arena and they were shocked at this break in tradition, but as they rose to join the procession they saw people filing off to the place of feasting. This was a symbol of the changing order, and they saw in it a sense of commitment to the priorities of the inner journey of their new abbots. Not liking change Mubans discussed this at the feasting but saw in it a change for good, a recognition of the priority of the Inner.

As night fell the feasting had been progressing a few hours, and Mpho and Yunio finished their meditation and went to join their people. Places of honour had been set for them but many thought this had been a lapse and that they were not going to attend. They sat down, and the feast organisers presented them with food which they ate sparsely but gratefully. Throughout the rest of the evening casually different people came up to them and wished them well as the Abbots of Mubanrao. They took a special amount of time in conversation with Blenbu but with the others of the 10 they gave no special attention as they were now all Mubans not warranting special treatment. Of course everyone knew this was Kakangpokao, and he was special.

The feasting went on for days, food kept arriving and people stayed in reunion, until eventually it was time to return to life without feasting. It was a memorable time, the changing order to the new Abbots. It was recorded - the changes in the ceremony of the new Abbots, a great recognition that the priority of Abbots was the Inner journey and for Mubans this was a change they welcomed as for some it had become forgotten.

After the day of transfer Mpho and Yunio left and went up to the mountains with Blenbu, they realised there was much to learn of the NaAgu tradition that Blenbu had locked into.