Rituals and Traditions of a Buddhist Funeral

Buddhist funerals is one of the different types of funerals in Singapore. It is unique and special because death is regarded as a very important period for a Buddhist.

Buddhists believe that death is a transition period for the deceased for his rebirth (the cycle called samsara), and that the next life is determined by the actions of the person in this life. By freeing oneself from worldly notions and desires, the reincarnations is believed to bring the deceased closer to nirvana, the complete spiritual enlightenment. With this, Buddhist funerals are celebrated with the credence that the soul of the dead ascends from the body and not merely death in its essence.

Dealing with the body

With the belief that the soul does not leave right after a person stops breathing, the body of the deceased should not be touched right after the person stops breathing. It should be downright cold until the body can be prepared for either the burial or the cremation. Clothing should be what the deceased wears on a day to day basis and nothing fancy or extravagant.

Burial or Cremation?

Although land burials are accepted in Buddhist funerals, majority still prefer cremation, following the example set by the Buddha. Monks and family members may be present during the cremation to lead the chanting. The cremated remains may be scattered or kept in an urn, depending on the family’s discretion. In some countries, cremation may take place in an open pyre but local crematoriums have become more convenient and widely available these days.

Buddhist Funeral

In tradition, Buddhists memorial services are held on third, seventh, forty-ninth, and one-hundredth day after the death, but can be adjusted depending on the family’s availability. It can be held at the deceased’s home or in a monastery, and the family has the freedom to decide whether it is an intimate service comprised of family members only or if other members of the community may participate.


Buddhist Wake

Should there be a wake, the room should be serene and the body must be in the simplest casket which should remain open for the length of the service. An altar may also be setup which can have Buddha’s image along with other items such as candles, flowers, and fruits. Monks may perform chanting during the wake and perform the last rite which takes place in the morning before the interment. It is after the ritual that the body is buried or cremated.

Buddhist Funeral Service

Buddhist funeral services in Singapore are made easily available but one should take extra caution in selecting the right people to take care of such an important religious event. Funeral services may take in various forms–a service prior the burial, prior the cremation, or after the cremation. A Buddhist funeral, if anything, is the last place for unnecessary display of wealth. The funeral service should maintain simplicity, solemnity, and dignity.

Buddhist funeral services in Singapore are made available for those who need people to rely in ensuring that the needs are well-taken care of. There are also other funeral services near Singapore who have established an expertise in Buddhist funerals who can provide a comprehensive Buddhist funeral and bereavement services.


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