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What is a Buddhist Funeral and What are its Traditions?

The Buddhist community tends to vary by location, ethnic and cultural origins. Many families like to integrate their Christian beliefs into Buddhist funeral traditions, but some may choose to go for Buddhist funeral traditions. Still, the general protocol for the Buddhist funerals is that a simple ceremony is organized at a family home, funeral home or a Buddhist temple. There will be an officiate present, generally a monk, but sometimes, also a minister or a priest if the family prefers to integrate the traditions with Christian faith. There are no formal guidelines involved but you can expect prayer and meditation and take place, and sometimes sermons and eulogies. There will also be a wake, funeral and a memorial service or reception after the funeral has been done. When it comes to planning and organizing one with ease, you can hire Buddhist funeral services.

Buddhist funeral traditions

There will be a wake where the mourners will pay their respects to the dead and express their condolences to the family. There will also be a portrait of the deceased placed in front of the casket. This acts as a centerpiece of the alter that is organized by the family for the wake. This alter will also bear candles and other offerings like fruit and flowers. You may also find an incense burning. If the wake is organized in a funeral hall, the flowers will be showcased modestly.

The Buddhist rites state that an image of Buddha shall be placed at the alter as well. They usually prefer cremation, but embalming can be done as well. The families can organize according to their personal preferences too. There are no hard and fast rules for governing when the cremation or burial takes place. The funeral rites are performed on the morning of the burial or cremation ceremony.

The verses are chanted and the monks conduct the ceremony on the basis of the funeral traditions. This may again depend on the wishes of the family. The cremation or burial ceremony can be organized by the family. Buddhism doesn’t restrict on the donation of organs. They deem autopsies as an act of helping others, so no restrictions there as well. They would prefer a medical examiner to wait for at least three to four days before the autopsy, until the soul has departed from the body.

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