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Buddhist Funerals: Customs and Traditions

The Buddhists believe that life and death are a part of samasara. They believe in reincarnations and karma. They believe that the karma of this life will determine your reincarnation. The cycle of life and birth is seen as a shackle for the human spirit. The ultimate goal for a Buddhist is to free one from these shackles and to attain nirvana (salvation).

Buddhism accepts death as an inevitable reality. When a Buddhist is approaching death, his family members should calm him and provide comfort and warmth. The family members should try to make the dying person accept this reality. When the person dies, a proper Buddhist funeral should be offered to ensure that the spirit achieves salvation and is freed from the shackles of life. You can either conduct the funeral yourself or can contact a repatriation service provider and opt for a Buddhist funeral package. There are many service providers who offer repatriation and funeral management services. Most of the service providers in Singapore provide a Buddhist funeral package.

Further, Buddhism encourages organ donation. If the organs of the donor are healthy then there are no religious restrictions on organ donation after death. After the death the body should not be washed until it is completely cold. The body should then be washed and dressed in modest clothes. Buddhism accepts both cremation and burial. The body should be cremated or buried as per the family or the deceased person’s wish. If the body is being cremated, monks are supposed to chant holy verses. If the monks are not present, family can lead the chants. The attendees of the funeral are supposed to maintain calmness at the funeral service. Buddhists also prefer to wear white clothes in funerals as opposed to catholic funerals where black clothes are accepted.

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