Life's eternal strength
Everything in the cosmos is subject to the same cyclic laws that do not stop for the fate of an individual or for that of whole cultures. Exactly a year after his funeral, Ilona and some relatives and friends returned to Andy's grave. They held a memorial service conducted by a monk. Despite feelings of grief, those present also sensed harmony and peace. They took the time to soak up the atmosphere and the intense strength embodied in the place: Fond memories and thoughts were exchanged, or people abandoned themselves to peace and meditation.
Suddenly a wind sprung up and blew gently over the terrain, but then it soon blew stronger and stronger and caused the mood to change. It was the typhoon that had been announced previously on the news, which was now making its presence clearly felt as the group slowly dispersed. Since Andy had taken the nickname of 'Typhoon' during his Kyokushinkai period, Ilona was deeply touched that on this of all days just that kind of tempest was passing through this place. She smiled, convinced that Andy had wanted to bid her farewell as she left.
Rebirth is the key to the understanding of human development. Each of life's divisions ends with a new beginning and returns to the origin of its strength, so that new ideas can be created and realized.
In life, Andy had followed his inner conviction and had put all his heart into living out his dreams. Now his soul had left his body and taken itself off to there where the waves of his life force will break on a higher shore. The inhabitants of the Okinawa islands, the site of the art of karate's origins, believe that the spirit of the dead supports people and enriches them with those powers that they needed on their journey through life. In this manner, the cycle of life endlessly repeats itself.
Farewell to a great human being
Solemn moments that give people an insight into nature's works: The cycle of a great human being had ended – the power of the universe corresponds to a limitless power that alters and renews everything. Within this unending change, people look for ways in which they can live in harmony with nature and need have no fear of death. The all-dominating grief of many visitors in Japan and in Switzerland transformed into a strength and a unity with Andy, his family and with nature.
On the 28th of August 2000, the official ceremony and Andy's cremation took place in Japan. The column of black limousines that accompanied his coffin was awaited by some 12,000 people - fans who cried out his name in despair. This unimaginable attendance caused everyone to sense the devotion and love with which he had been honoured in this country. Fighters, friends, captains of industry, politicians and admirers had come to express their dismay and contributed with their presence to giving Andy strength for his last journey.
Each culture has its own religious rituals. They convey a spiritual unity and help people to find their inner peace. His family, his relatives and numerous fans from Switzerland were not in a position to travel to Japan in order to take part in the funeral ceremonies. For this reason, Ilona decided that an additional funeral service should be held in Zurich's Grossmünster church, so that here too everyone could unite hearts and minds and say their goodbyes to Andy. Several thousand visitors assembled there on the 1st of September.
First the invited guests were admitted, then other friends and admirers of Andy, who had come from all over Switzerland. Unfortunately, a lot of people had to remain outside, since there was nowhere near enough room inside the cathedral. The service, the various speeches, the heavenly tones of Andy's favourite music and, once again, Erkan Akis' singing, all caused an atmosphere to be generated that linked the feelings of mourning with traditional elements of Christian spirituality to form a worthy occasion. On leaving the church, all those in attendance placed flowers one by one in front of Andy's picture. Many gave free rein to their tears. The genuine sympathy of these many people and their devoted farewell were very moving.
A place of stillness and strength
Andy's ashes were deposited in Japan, in the cemetery of the Hoshuin Temple. This giant complex with its 32 temple buildings is a place of tranquillity that at the same time radiates peace and strength. The garden is a masterpiece of elegant simplicity. Only a small part of it is accessible to the public. The beauty of this place of strength causes visitors to sense a deep feeling of peace.
The temple was erected in Kyoto in 1608 in the honour of the great warrior, Toshiie Maeda. In Japanese history, Maeda symbolized important characteristics of Bushido ideals. His early death strengthened the resolve of many later samurais in taking responsibility for these ideals and causing them to be revived. In the mystical understanding of Japanese warriors, Maeda has become immortal and his spirit is like a spring, from which living samurais can draw spiritual strength. His wife Matsu had the temple built for him and was later buried there beside him.
Andy's last resting place is about ten metres in front of the graves of Toshie and Matsu Maeda. It is an extraordinary honour and an expression of the highest recognition to provide this place for Andy's urn. Since this temple is not accessible to the public, it is a real place for reflection that mirrors the grace of Japanese culture and the harmony of perfect shapes. It has an atmosphere that causes sensitive people to perceive the presence of the souls of great personalities.
Memorial at the source
On the 7th of September 2004, the monument in Wohlen that Ilona Hug had created on behalf of the municipality in Andy's honour was ceremonially dedicated.
The monument consists of three parts: