The core of Buddhist religion, practiced in many countries the world over, comes from the basic teachings of Lord Buddha. This religion involves love & mercy for humankind and recognition of the Ultimate Truth.
Buddhist funerals show these practices of Buddhism. When a Buddhist person passes, to make sure that their soul gets to a higher level in their next life, mandatory rituals should be observed. Prayers are used to invoke the positive energies of the deceased, ensuring his or her deliverance from this life and wishing them the best for their next life.
The first stage in funeral rituals is that of giving the body a traditional bath. After that comes the stage of reading out from religious scriptures by the monks, thereby guiding the soul to the path of spiritual freedom. Then Buddha’s teachings that highlight the significance of kindness and concern are read out loud by the monks. In the meantime, the body is prepared for the last journey. The deceased is generally provided with some coins put in his casket by the family members. This is supposed to help the deceased cross the River of Three Hells to reach his ultimate destination.
The casket is then placed before the altar in the house for the loved ones to pay their final respects. While friends and relatives give condolences, attendees are expected to offer prayers for the deceased. The ceremony is accompanied with chanting of relevant sutras by the monks. Everyone present have to bow at the altar when this chanting is completed. The family members then thank the visitors for sharing their grief by distributing gifts to them.
The family members can decide upon whether to cremate the body or bury it according to their familial customs, once all these important rituals are completed. These rituals are meant to enable the family to alleviate their grief by saying prayers that will elevate the deceased to a higher state of enlightenment and knowledge.
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