Death is the greatest tragedy of life. Where for some, it’s God’s plan to take what was forever His, others believe it to be a portal towards reincarnation. Whatever the beliefs maybe, a funeral is marked with utmost respect, dignity, and remembrance. It becomes a stage for one to measure his steps and evaluate the course of his life.
This blog, today, will brief you on how Christian funeral services differ from Buddhist funeral services.
As per the tradition followed for hundreds of years, Christians- first and foremost- get in touch with a funeral home. This eases their burden of getting the legal documentations, preparing an obituary, and selecting a casket or cremation.
Every Christian funeral service includes a minister who officiates the religious rites. It is always recommended to choose someone already known and associated with the deceased. However, if that’s not the case, then someone suggested by the funeral home can be a good choice.
A Christian funeral can become an event of overwhelming emotional remembrance for many. This is made possible by the family’s choice to opt for specific songs or music to be played. Bible verses, speeches, and sermons are the heart of every funeral, focused on exchanging evaluations and perspectives on death.
In some instances, if the deceased has made a will, a special singer or speaker performs for the sake of his fulfillment. Also, the mourning family can choose to arrange charity instead of letting the guests bring flowers.
Eulogy makes a funeral more personal and emotional. It acts as a way for the mourners to cherish the dead’s life and deeds and ensure that their hearts always in support. However, it is ensured that this doesn’t last very long to keep a breathing space for other rites.
Upon washing, cleaning, and dressing the body in the nicest clothes, the dead is deemed ready to get buried or cremated (as per the family’s belief).
In guests’ company, the minister gives a detailed sermon from the Bible, evaluating the general Christian beliefs in death and life.
After the eulogy, the body is taken to the cemetery and is ready to be buried. If cremation takes place, this is followed after that.
Buddhism’s belief that the soul is freed from the body for a new liberated life after death determines the dynamics of their funerals.
For the most part, Buddhist funeral services are kept modest and straightforward. They take place at a temple, funeral home, or the residence of the dead.
As per the sectarian division, Buddhists either go for cremation or burial. For either of these, there is a Wake during which the guests pay their regards and condolences to the dead for either of these. Beside the casket, a portrait is kept as a symbol of love and remembrance.
Preferably, flowers are also kept in the proximity of the portrait; the colors varying but never red.
Chants and songs may be played as the guests share the family’s loss and the monk prepares for the final rites. The mourning family is usually attired white, while the guests wear modest black clothes to avoid unnecessary showcasing.
In respect to the soul’s devotion, the mourners obtain an aura of calm and quietness, which channels to their faces too.
Pouring water, gifting the monk some clothes, and almsgiving are all part of the Buddhist funeral services, after which the body is burnt, and the ashes are taken to bury.