For practitioners of Buddhism, death and life are part of samsara – a cycle where this life and all the previous ones will eventually lead to nirvana, or the ultimate spiritual goal. But, even so, that doesn’t mean that they do not have funeral rites. In fact, a Buddhist funeral ceremony Singapore can be quite different from the typical funeral.
On dying and the time of death
Buddhists believe that practitioners should die surrounded by peace, calm, and sensitivity. Many politely request that no special procedures are done to the deceased for quite some time. In fact, among many Buddhists, they believe that it’s necessary for someone, such as a mentor, teacher, or close friend, to accompany a dying person during or after their death.
While it can differ from one tradition to another, it’s not unusual for Buddhists to also request days before the deceased’s body is subject to autopsy or cremation.
It’s also important for Buddhists to not have the body embalmed if possible.
When and where are Buddhist funerals usually held?
Buddhist funerals also typically adhere to their own funeral schedule. Usually, the funeral is held on any one of the third, seventh, forty-ninth, and one-hundredth day after passing away. Although, in recent times, Buddhism has become much less strict and are more willing to adjust to the deceased family’s schedule.
Buddhist Funeral services in Singapore are usually held at home or at a monastery. Families are allowed to choose whether or not they want to keep the affair private, or if they want to invite other people to grieve with them.
Either way, in Buddhism, “Dana” is performed to purify the mind of the giver and give way for blessings to be received by the community that is then subsequently given to the deceased.
What to expect from a Buddhist funeral
The funeral can either happen before the body’s burial, before cremation, or after the cremation. Regardless, it’s important to keep the event simple and solemn. There’s no need to display any kind of wealth, nor should anyone grieving use wealth as a way to express themselves.
As with traditional funerals, the casket or cremated remains are placed at the front of the room. There is also an altar usually present. It can either be a photo of the deceased or that of Buddha.
For visitors who want to pay their respects and mourn, make sure to approach the altar slowly and bow while pressing your hands together as if in prayer before taking a few moments to reflect on the altar before going back to sit down.
One thing that most people don’t know about is that a Buddhist funeral service Singapore isn’t always a cremation service. Even if cremation is commonly practised, they are not necessarily against burying the body. Instead, to them, cremation holds more significance because Gautama Buddha was once cremated on a funeral pyre and they believe that this is the best way to release a soul from its physical form.
Just like with any other traditional funeral, there’s a lot of emphasis in keeping the event solemn and simple when it comes to Buddhist funerals.
Keep these mind, and don’t be afraid to ask around. That way, you know what to expect and how to act when attending a Buddhist funeral service.