Death In Buddhism

1342 Words 6 Pages
Within Buddhism, death is considered to be one of the most significant events that occurs (just as in most other religions). It is important for the deceased, as “it marks the moment when the transition begins to a new mode of existence within the round of rebirths,” and for those who survive, as it gives them time to focus on what has occurred and to acknowledge impermanence. In reading on the rituals of Death in Buddhism, I have come to realize that just as in other major religions, the traditions of the Buddhist who is facing death can vary greatly depending on culture, location, and type of Buddhism one believes in. However, there are several main ideas that are generally followed by all Buddhist groups. For example, all Buddhists find …show more content…
This practice is still followed today by most Buddhists. This means of disposal can “take place within a day of death or after as much as an entire year, depending on the arrival of relatives and the status of the deceased.” Some traditions within Buddhism state that 4 days must pass before the body can be cremated, and most believe that “embalming should be avoided if at all possible.” While cremation is the primary means of body disposal, “it is strictly a personal choice and there is no restraint on how long the body should lay in state before the funeral.” Some other notable methods within Buddhism include dismemberment, burial, cremation of one’s horoscope (if a body is not located), throwing the body into a river, or the very graphic concept of allowing the body to be consumed by vultures. In addition, some western Buddhists may also be concerned with whether or not to donate organs rather than allow the body to be fully disposed of. An interesting practice that still occurs in Buddhism in the mainland of Southeast Asia is that the body of a Buddhist is to be placed in a cage within a monastery in order to act as a focus for meditation. By meditating on the body, a person may gain a better understanding of impermanence in order to remove human desires. This meditative practice evolved from a fifth century BCE common practice of …show more content…
As with many Eastern religions, Buddhist death rituals borrow from other local religious ceremonies. This is “in part because Buddhism did not on the whole seek to monopolize social religious practices outside matters that deal strictly with salvation.” With varying religious traditions being utilized in the death ceremony, there can be participation from people of differing religious perspectives. This, in turn, allows the ceremony to be more accepting of all people. Some of the rituals that occur include oiling, washing, and dressing the body; transferring consciousness from the body (in Tibetan Buddhism); and, in Laotian tradition, giving “a special offering to the deceased individual[s]” that “informs them of their own death, so that they no longer linger among the living.” In learning on Buddhism’s practices on death, it is apparent to me that it cannot be easily categorized into any one ceremony or ritual. Each Buddhist culture is independent and follows many traditions of the local community. There is no requirement on how the body is to be disposed of (though cremation is common). The funeral rituals are mostly based in Buddhist culture, but it can be very individualized. I find this to be very significant, as Buddhism is such an individualized religion, so it is very fitting for Buddhist practices on death to be just as

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