Sacred Buddhist Funeral Customs And Their Significances

The basic teachings of the Buddha form the core of the Buddhist religion which is practiced in many countries in the world today. Mercy and love for mankind and acknowledgement of the Ultimate truth are essential in Buddhism.

These Buddhist teachings are apparent in the rites seen in a Buddhist funeral. Certain mandatory rites should be followed once a person Buddhist person dies, to ensure that the dead’s soul gets elevated to a higher level in their next life. To guarantee the deceased’s deliverance from this birth and bidding them the best for their next, prayers are said to invoke the good energies of the dead.

The first task in funeral rituals is that of giving a traditional wash to the body. Buddhist monks read out from religious scriptures, which are thought to give the deceased the right guidance to attain spiritual freedom. The monks read out those teachings of Lord Buddha that speak of the importance of practising mercy and kindness. In the meantime, the body is prepared for the final journey. The deceased is generally offered with some coins placed in his casket by the family. This is for enabling the dead person to pay and go across the River of Three Hells.

Then the friends and family come and pay their last respects to the deceased as the casket is put at the altar. While friends and relatives offer condolences, visitors are expected to offer prayers for the dead person. The ceremony is accompanied with recitation of relevant sutras by the priests. The attendees present have to bow before the altar when this chanting is completed. After the proceedings, the family members of the departed give out gifts to the attendees for sharing their grief.

The family members can decide upon whether to cremate the body or bury it according to their familial customs, once all these important rituals are completed. These rituals are meant to allow the family to overcome their grief by saying prayers that will raise the deceased to a higher pedestal of enlightenment and knowledge.

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