Special Topics

​Procedures for the Buddhist Service for the Deceased

I. Dying at Home or in Hospitals 


II. End-of-Life Chanting by Family Members

A. Dying at Home
  1. Prepare an audio file of Amitabha Buddha's name and a white blanket. Decide the venue for the end-of-life chanting.
  2. End-of-life chanting is most essential for the dead, so family members should give their blessings by chanting the Buddha's name and dedicate the merit to the deceased, thereby helping them to gain rebirth in the Buddha's Pure Land.
  3. Prior to the funeral, the body of the deceased could be cleaned and dressed by professional funeral staff.


B. Dying in Hospitals
  1. In the case of accidental death, the first family member reaching the accident site or the hospital should immediately perform end-of-life chanting, before the body is examined.
  2. Please keep chanting while the body is being examined.
  3. Contact the unit that helps with organizing a Buddhist funeral.


III. Procedures Following the Chanting / Where to Keep the Corpse after Chanting

A. Keep the body of the deceased in the house

B. Send it to a funeral parlor
  1. Remove personal belongings from the deceased.
  2. Send the body to a funeral home for refrigeration.
  3. On the way to the funeral parlor and back, continue to recite Amitabha Buddha's name in silence.


IV.   Set up a Memorial Space or Altar
  1. Set up a memorial space or altar, preferably at home. Photos of the deceased and a Buddha statue/image can also be placed there. Keep the decoration simple and solemn.
  2. Design it in a way to help relieve grief for friends and family.
  3. It should provide a supportive space for friends and family to remember the deceased and perform Buddhist rituals (Buddha-name or sutra recitation).


V. Funeral Arrangement and Coordination
  1. Consult relevant units for the funeral details.
  2. Discuss with family members how to conduct the funeral and burial.
  3. Contact a funeral home to confirm the service, ritual, and price.
  4. Decide the date and time of the funeral.


VI. Prepare the Required Materials and Items

VII. Buddhist Practices for Dedicating the Merit to the Deceased
During the 49 days after the death, family members should engage in the following practice events as best as they can.
  1. Practice vegetarianism.
  2. Chant sutras every day or constantly recite Amitabha Buddha's name.
  3. Attend Dharma assemblies held by Buddhist monasteries to deliver the deceased and transfer merits for them.
  4. Do good deeds, such as making donations or offerings to the Three Jewels, and participate in charitable events.
*Dedicate the merit of the above good deeds to the deceased.   

VIII. Decorate the Funeral Venue
Decoration should be simple, well-arranged, and makes attendees calm; the ritual should be solemn, heart-warming, and peaceful.

IX. The Funeral Ritual

Visit HERE to find out more about Buddhist funerals.

X. Burial in Tomb/ Cremation (buried in grave, urn burial, and natural burial)              

Family members silently recite Amitabha Buddha's name
  1. throughout the cremation and burial process.
  2. on the way to the graveyard or the place where the urn or remains are to be located.
  3. on the way back home.
XI. End of the Funeral Ritual

XII. Self-Care Following the Funeral

After the funeral, family members can participate in Dharma assemblies and events held by Buddhist monasteries or engage in activities beneficial for physical and mental well-being, to help themselves through the grieving period.

Dharma Drum Mountain Social Care Center

Extended Reading:
How to Conduct Buddhist Services for Those Who Are Dying or Have Just Passed Away

How to Conduct the 49-Day Buddhist Service for the Deceased

The Principles for Conducting a Buddhist Funeral