Buddhist Funeral

Funeral customs can differ greatly within the Buddhist religion. But at the core, every Buddhist believes that every soul is reborn into the world of suffering (our universe) until the soul has been cleansed and Nirvana achieved.

Buddhist funeral services focus on ensuring the honoree a safe and pleasant journey to the next life. There are no hard-and-fast rules governing a Buddhist funeral, which can take place in pretty much any venue that the family prefers, including outdoors, a private home or a funeral home. Keep in mind if the funeral is taking place at a Buddhist temple, you are expected to remove your shoes.

Dress comfortably; showy dress is neither expected nor the norm. The funeral will either be led by a minister or priest if following the Japanese custom, or by a monk in the Southeast Asian tradition.

An open casket is customary. Guests are expected to greet the family, offer their condolences, then view the body and make a slight bow as a sign of respect.

As in Western religions, flowers are an acceptable way to remember the honoree, unless the family has asked that in lieu of flowers donations be made to a charity.

Because funeral customs can vary so greatly - Buddhist services are often tailored to the individual and incorporate elements specific to each family - we advise you to call a local Buddhist temple or the funeral director to find out what you can expect at a specific funeral, what form the service will take, and what appropriate attire will be.

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