How Families Prepare for a Buddhist Funeral Service

Getting ready for a Buddhist funeral is a sequence of customs and ceremonies reflecting Buddhist teachings. These customs are meant to respect the departed, assist their path to the next world, and console the bereaved relatives. Families get ready for a Buddhist funeral service in great detail here.

Getting Ready for the Body

The first stage in preparing is definitely physical one. Usually, family members clean and clothe the body in basic, understated attire. Some customs have the departed clad in white, signifying purity. Usually representing the calm journey to the next world, the body is shown in a coffin with a quiet look.

Setting Up the Altar

A Buddhist funeral revolves mostly around the altar, which acts as the focal point for prayers and rites. Families arrange an altar in their house, temple, or funeral home. Usually, the altar features:

  • A photograph of the deceased
  • Offerings such as flowers, fruits, and incense
  • Candles and oil lamps
  • Statues or images of the Buddha

Family and friends can honor each other, reflect, and pray on the altar.

Selecting the Appropriate Location

The Buddhist funeral service’s setting should be chosen with great care. Many families would rather have the service at a Buddhist temple where monks might lead the ceremonies and pray on behalf of them. Depending on convenience and the preferences of the deceased, the service could also take place at a funeral home or the family’s house.

Engaging Monks and Spiritual Leaders

Buddhist funerals are much enhanced by monks, or spiritual leaders. They are frequently requested to lead contemplative activities said to help the spirit of the departed and chant sutras, Buddhist scriptures. To guarantee their availability for the service, the family should arrange with the temple or the monks well beforehand.

Combing the Wake

The wake, which can run several days, gives family and friends a chance to be together, meditate, and send prayers. Typical events during the wake include opportunities for personal introspection, monk-led chanting sessions, and meditation periods. Often offerings put on the altar include food and flowers brought by guests.

Managing the Funeral Service

A full ceremony including additional chanting, prayers, and eulogies takes place on the day of the funeral. The service stresses the cycle of reincarnation and the transience of existence. Monks may soothe and counsel the bereaved family by preaching on the Buddhist doctrines.

Burial or cremation

The family’s choice and cultural traditions determine whether the body is buried or cremated following the funeral service. Common in many Buddhist traditions, cremation represents the discharge of the spirit from the body. The ashes could be maintained in an urn at the family house or a columbarium or dispersed in a significant site.

Following Funeral Customs

Buddhist burial customs often carry on long after the death. As these are important in many Buddhist cultures, the family could arrange memorial ceremonies on the 7th, 49th, and 100th days after the death. These services give the family a means to process their loss and continuous assistance for the journey of the departed.


Getting ready for a Buddhist funeral demands both great respect of Buddhist ideas and practices and careful preparation. From getting the corpse ready and setting up the altar to planning the wake and post-funeral rituals, every action has significance and goal. Apart from honoring the departed, these ceremonies give the bereaved family comfort and continuity. A Buddhist funeral is essentially a very moving statement of love, respect, and the ongoing link between life and death.