22 September 2009

The next life-the Dusuns' traditional belief

It is expected that in the era of major world religions, this is not a belief that most Dusuns will readily accept. Nonetheless, it is something that is worth knowing, if only for the sake of getting to know one's heritage.

The Dusuns believed (note the use of past tense- to emphasize that it is almost impossible to find a believer nowadays) that the rusod 'soul' of the departed first went to Pongoluhan, a place high up above that most thought must be on top of the Mount Kinabalu. Then they moved on to the next life, wherever that was. It was supposed to be closer to the world of the livings than the livings realized, for the departed could see the livings. They could even be called up from their world if such needs arose, but this could only be done by the bobolians 'shaman' though.

In the next life it was believed that everything was in the opposite direction from the world of the livings. But way of life was supposed to be the same. There, the departed would reunite with family members who died before them. The departed was also supposed to take with them their possessions on earth. That's why during the funeral, they would need a proper sendoff in the forms of material things. The most common ones being rice, canned foods, clothes, and some of their favourite items while living. In small quantity, that is. Either the Dusuns practiced the concept of symbolism, or...they were too thrifty that they couldn't let themselves waste material things for the sake of the deceased. I'm not sure whether money was ever one of the sendoff items though- I've never seen that on any graveyards before. Perhaps money was too precious to waste? Or money wasn't relevant in the past?

It was perceived that the more items the departed was given as a sendoff, the easier his next life journey would be.

In my parents' village, I know of a person who still believes in this practice. Her reason? Because her husband was buried years ago with the same practice. She refuses to embrace any religion for fear that she might not see the love of her life ever again in the afterlife if she does so. Now that is a truly remarkable lady...


smallkucing said...

Tabik to the lady. Loves knows no borders.

azamain said...

I actually had experienced this before,during one ritual to find the root cause of an illness. Those around [I forgot who] heard my name was called-out by the 'bobolian'[actually asking for confirmation,I guess]. My mom told me this and it happened when I was in primary 1,a ritual whereby a form of communicative platform was 'established' with the unseen,souls probably [?] . Imagine,who turned
whiter than pale !!

The after life which was termed as going 'opposite direction' seems to have something in common with the 'parallel world' theory.

Please,keep informing......-)

vpa73 said...

smallkuching- she deserves our tabik :-)
AA- it does have something in common with the parallel world. Pretty exciting...I am impressed that you actually was in 'that' ritual once. I have no recollection of anything- I remember that bobolians came to our place when I was very young, but that's it, because I was always disturbed when they started chanting so my parents always sent us to bed before the exciting bit happened...one day you must share your experiences with me.