A Buddhist funeral can be complex and hectic from the perspective of a funeral services provider, but for the bereaved family, it could even be highly shocking and overwhelming.
#1 Funeral wake requires strong coordination between various parties involved
Compared to Christian or Catholic funerals, A traditional Buddhist and Taoist funerals are generally more complex logistically, given their ritualistic nature. As such, the typical set-up usually involves many third parties. These individuals each have a clear agenda to fulfill throughout the funeral scene. Thus it could be rather chaotic as they swiftly fulfill their roles while waiting for the deceased to arrive at the void deck. Some families may decide to do away with some standard practices, or procedure leading up to the prayer can be done in a very simplistic touch. However the third parties continue to work with one another to quickly prepare what was necessary on the following procedures till the final day of the funeral wake.
#2 A lot of preparation work is needed behind-the-scenes
For Buddhist Funerals, the deceased’s body and the coffin may come separately. This is because other items may have to be added into the coffin before the body can be en-coffin, and because of the Buddhist belief that the coffin should only be opened once. As such, before the deceased and coffin arrive at the void deck, for efficiency’s sake later on, it is important to start preparing these items first. This could be cutting open packets of incense and wood chippings in advance, or asking for a few outfits from the bereaved family. It is also important to note the nature of the items.
#3 Sequencing procedures are extremely important
For rituals, the beauty and complexity appear to lie in the small details. This could come in the form of table arrangements for the offerings, whereby the sequence of how the food items are placed is important. These items would also be used on the final day of the wake, where the eldest son would be offering them to the deceased. With that said, the order whereby offerings are made is also important. The beverage needs to be offered first, followed by the rice, the fruits, then the Chinese fortunate cake and steamed bun.
This order is also crucial during the en-coffining process. As the deceased would be placed in the coffin with his / her outfits, as well as other religious items (i.e. incense, cedar wood, pillow, cotton wool, yellow blanket and white pearl etc.), it is also important to take note how and when these items are respectively placed into the coffin. After the numerous layers of items and the body are placed into the coffin, the Lotus Blanket was then used to cover the body, tying everything together.This gives the whole ritual a sense of completion, before final touches are added.
#4 The funeral is for both the dead and living
As much as a funeral is to celebrate and commemorate the deceased, Due to the ritualistic nature of the funeral and perhaps also the sudden departure of their loved ones, the bereaved family could be highly confused and sensitive. As such, Singapore funeral services providers should be more careful, forgiving and attentive when conversing with them. This could be as simple as letting them know what to expect and prepare, or could be as complicated as injecting a personal touch in the services provided. Priorities eventually become more slanted towards the deceased, ensuring that the entire procedure flows smoothly. In the process, they may neglect the bereaved family’s feelings and opinions, which would definitely be problematic. As the bereaved family would always be watching as we are working,