Special Topics

Q1: Where will our relatives go after death? If they are already reborn, would our prayers for the deceased help them?

A: Yes, prayers for the deceased can help to increase their karmic blessings, in addition to improving their circumstances. In Buddhism, sentient beings are classified under six major categories: namely, heavenly beings, humans, asuras, hungry ghosts, animals, and hell-dwellers. They repeatedly go through the cycle of birth and death in these six destinies of transmigration, ceaselessly and indefinitely. Thus, when a person dies, there is a one-in-six chance of becoming a ghost. Regardless of which destiny our deceased relative is reborn into, performing a deliverance service in their name is to send our blessing to them. If they have already been reborn as an animal, prayers can improve its living environment, and perhaps even spare them the agony of being slaughtered. If they have been reborn in the human realm, prayers can improve their physical health and enhance their life quality. If they have attained rebirth in the Western World of Ultimate Bliss, prayers can help upgrade their level of rebirth, thus bringing them a step closer to attaining Buddhahood.

Related articles:

Deliverance Service Benefits Both the Living and the Deceased

The Seventh Lunar Month Dharma Assemblies (I): The Ullambana Assembly – Repay Our Parents' Kindness with Merit Transfer

Dharma Assemblies in Lunar July (II): Yogacara Ulka-mukha Dharma Service to Save Hungry Ghosts from Suffering

Dharma Assemblies in Lunar July (III): Practicing Repentance at Emperor Liang’s Repentance Eliminates Delusion, Karma, and Suffering

Q1: Where will our relatives go after death? If they are already reborn, would our prayers for the deceased help them?

Q2: Is it necessary to participate in Dharma assemblies if they are not performed for the deliverance of a deceased relative?

Q3: Why does Buddhism maintain that care and concern for the deceased can be conveyed through Dharma assemblies?

Q4: If we are unable to attend a Dharma assembly at a temple or monastery, can we, alternatively, perform the deliverance ritual at home for our deceased relatives or friends?

Q5: How do we go about dedicating the merit? Can our deceased relatives actually receive the merit that is being dedicated?

Resource: Issue 240 of Humanity  Magazine, Dharma Drum Publishing Corporation
Translation: Cheng-yu Chang (張振郁) 
Editing: Keith Brown, Chiacheng Chang (張家誠)