A Buddhist funeral can be an emotionally difficult experience. It’s even harder if you have never experienced a funeral before. Harmony Funeral Care has seven guidelines that can help you deal with a Buddhist funeral, even if it’s your first time. The Buddhist funeral is much shorter than the Christian one and they do not have a body cremation or burial. Buddhist funerals are usually held in a crematorium or a large chapel and many people will attend the funeral. The ceremony will be solemn and there will be silence.
So, let’s say that you were invited to attend a funeral, and you didn’t know the deceased person. What would be the appropriate thing to do?
1. Always attend a funeral in a group
There’s a huge difference between the way funerals are treated in the Asia and in Singapore. In Singapore, we mourn the death of our friends and family members at funerals. Funerals are social events. In Singapore, funerals are social obligations, but only in groups. No one goes to a funeral alone, unless it’s a close friend. Funerals are generally held within the first 3 days after a person has died, and there is no particular “rite of passage” to follow. Instead, the bereaved are left to their own devices, and spend the day with their closest friends and family members.
2. Don’t be surprised if people don’t come
When you hear someone talking about having a funeral service, it’s probably because someone else didn’t show up. A funeral is supposed to be a celebration of a life and a time to honor those who were affected by that life. The service should bring a sense of closure and should include a remembrance of the person and their contributions to society. So if the guest list doesn’t show up, and no one’s there to pay their respects, it can be a bit disconcerting. But it’s just not something we think about very often.
3. Don’t be scared of the dead.
One of the reasons why funerals are considered as the most stressful day in our life is that we think of death every day. We are scared of death; therefore we have a tendency to avoid the topic, and we tend to overthink about death instead. Death is something that we don’t want to face. However, we have to confront it. We can only conquer our fear of death if we face it.
4. Don’t talk about the dead, just be there for them
The fourth Do is being there mentally. When someone is grieving the death of a loved one, he or she wants to know that you are thinking of them in their absence. This is achieved by
showing empathy, and being present for the deseased family emotionally rather than simply providing a networking experience.
5. Don’t worry about what you think about the deceased
At Buddhist funeral rites, the deceased is not identified with a name or a face. Instead, mourners look at their departed loved ones as a manifestation of a powerful and universal force called “the dharma” or the Buddha’s teachings. This helps to remind mourners of a common thread that runs through all living beings, and connects everyone to the world at large, rather than focusing on an individual.
6. Don’t feel guilty about being sad
There is nothing wrong with getting upset and crying at a funeral. It is important to show your emotions so that you can get through the loss. You need to be strong because people who suffer a loss of some kind may not react well to your tears. Instead, they will try to help you deal with your pain. You can also wear a black outfit, especially if you lost the person who died. Also, you can say a special prayer or meditation in honor of the person who died. These things will help you to remember that person.
7. Don’t wear red clothing
Red is often associated with bad luck, and wearing red at a funeral is believed to be particularly unlucky. Red clothing is also used to indicate mourning, which can also mean the wearer is grieving. So, if you wear red to a Buddhist funeral, it’s not a sign of joy, but instead it’s considered an extremely disrespectful act. So, if you attend a Buddhist funeral, you’ll want to avoid wearing red clothing.
In conclusion, there are a lot of people who are afraid of attending funerals because they assume that it will be an incredibly depressing experience. That is a very wrong assumption. Funerals are actually a celebration of a person’s life and the opportunity for family and friends to share stories of the deceased, and that is something that everyone should be able to enjoy.