Buddhism has several branches, each of which has its own rituals and practices. But the fundamental tenet of their religion is their faith in the process of life, reincarnation, virtue, and enlightenment. The customs surrounding dying and buddhist funeral services benefit the departed in their afterlife. The ultimate objective is to break free from the recurring rebirth and death to achieve nirvana. To achieve true enlightenment, they must ultimately purge themselves of all concepts of self and their fundamental wants.

Here are some of the most important things to take care of during a Buddhist funeral.

When death is approaching

It is the process before the funeral but is equally important. Friends and family should gather around the dying person and make them feel comfortable and calm. They should ask them to recall the good deeds and seek Buddha’s blessing as they feel life escaping their body.

Immediately after death

buddhist funeral services

After the breathing stops, the deceased body should be left alone. No one should touch, move or disturb the body. Buddhists believe that the soul does not leave the body immediately after death.

Preparing the body

The family should wait till the body gets completely cold to the touch. Once cold, the deceased body should be washed and clothed in everyday clothes. If it seems fit, the family can also donate the organs or the body to a person seeking a donor or for medical research.

Wake and visitation

In case of a wake, the room where the body is to be kept should be peaceful and calm. The deceased body should be kept in an open casket and simple clothes. One can also have a statue of Buddha and some pictures of the deceased. Occasional chanting can take place if monks are present. The duration of the wake can take place for as long as the family wants.

Cremation

Embalming is acceptable in the Buddhist faith. The monks should be present throughout the ceremony if the family opts for cremation. The remains should be scattered over the ocean or in a garden.

What is the right time?

The laws of the faith also dictate the time of the funeral. The buddhist funeral services are usually held on the 3rd, 7th, 49th, and 100th day after the death. It may vary a little if the family has something else scheduled on these days.

The venue

The ceremony can take place at the monastery or at home. The venue also depends on the number of people attending the funeral. The family may also choose to keep it a close and intimate ceremony or open it for community service.

So, these things should be kept in mind while organizing a Buddhist funeral.