Funeral Traditions Under Buddhism

By: Jacklyn Hutchens
Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Throughout the years, many denominations of Buddhism flourished, all with varying ceremonies and customs. But all Buddhists share the belief in the cycle of life or reincarnation towards enlightenment. Their strong faith in following the righteous path dictates their way of life and practices regarding death. Here's what you need to know about Buddhist funeral rites.

Buddhist Views on Death

Like Hindus and Sikhs, Buddhists view death as part of the natural order of existence, and it is not the end but a new beginning. They believe that their actions in the present life will determine how they can be reborn or reach enlightenment. This is why a person should accomplish all the doctrines and keep doing moral acts. The core spiritual principle of Buddhism on reincarnation creates a calm and accepting outlook on mortality.

Buddhist Funeral and Cremation

When a person passes, it is customary for their body to remain untouched for hours because Buddhists believe the soul needs time to leave the human form. The body is then washed and clothed in a simple garment. It is essential for the atmosphere surrounding the death to remain tranquil and solemn, with family and close friends honoring the deceased. The bereaved get together and remember the good deeds of those who passed, hoping it will help them achieve a more favorable status in their next reincarnation cycle. 

What Happens at a Buddhist Funeral Service
The funeral service is held at a monastery or the family's residence. Monks lead the ceremony with Buddhist teachings and prayers. The body is often laid out in a simple open casket with a close-by image or statue of Buddha. Family and friends light incense while placing candles, fruits, and flowers around the dead.

After the service, mourners form a funeral procession behind the hearse, taking the body to the crematorium. Buddhists prefer cremation as the physical body only serves as a vessel for the eternal soul.

A Simple and Dignified Service

Although death may seem grim for others, Buddhists see it as a new beginning and an opportunity to celebrate the life of someone who passed. At Direct Cremation Services of Virginia, we provide solemn and worry-free funeral planning for all religions. Contact us for assistance today. 


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