Buddhist Funeral Services Rituals
Public Visitation (Vigil Ceremony )
Upon Sangha members entering into the hall of service, all attendants please rise and face towards the central aisle, in Gassho position by placing the hands, palms together, in the “prayer” or “praying hands” pose to respect the arrival of the Venerable Masters.
Venerable Masters lead the incense offering, follow by the eldest son, to the Three Jewels (Buddhas, Dharma and Sangha) and the deceased.
After the Venerable Masters take their seat, family of the deceased and all other attendants are to be seated. The chanting session shall commence now.
Reciting the “Incense Praise”
Purpose: In Buddhist recitations, in order to express praise to the Buddha and Bodhisattva and the extraordinary teachings of the Buddha, traditional ceremonies will start off with "Incense Praise" to express respect.
Reciting the Diamond Sutra
Purpose: By reciting of the Sutra and the Buddha's name, the merit will guide and persuade the ancestors to let go of all conditions (such as love, hatred, happiness, unhappiness, etc.) from his previous life, according to what the Buddha taught in Sutra, and reborn in the Pure Land.
要意：認先人聞得經文，佛號， 依佛所說萬緣放下， 往生西方極樂世界。
Each family member pays respect to the deceased by offering an incense stick. Note: Family members can represent other absent relatives to offer incense also.
After offering incense, the vigil ceremony is completed. Please follow and accompany the Venerable Master to exit the hall in Gassho position.
意義：願以所持誦之經文，經咒， 佛號，迴向給亡者， 消除業障，離苦得樂， 同生西方極樂國。
Upon arrival of Sangha members into the gathering hall, all attendants please rise and face towards the central aisle, Gassho position by placing the hands, palms together, in the “prayer” or “praying hands” pose to respect the arrival of the Venerable Masters.
Family of the deceased are to join the Venerable Master on the central aisle with the Purification ritual. In order to purify the environment, Venerable Masters and family members with their palms joined, chanted the Great Compassion Mantra, while circulating the hall in clockwise direction for three rounds.
After the completion of Purification ceremony, family of deceased and all other attendants are to be seated. Masters began to recite the Amitabha Sutra.
After reciting the Amitabha Sutra, the family and the masters circumambulate the Buddha, chanting Amitabha, Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, Bodhisattva of Great Power and Bodhisattvas in the Quiet Sea
After the circumambulation, the family offered incense to the deceased. Then everyone follows the Venerable Master in dedicating the merits to the deceased.
Purpose: By dedicating the merits of recitation of sutras, mantras, verses and Buddha’s names to the deceased, we pray that our ancestor will let go of all attachments and seek rebirth in the Pure Land.
All family members kneel down (represent the deceased to pay respect to the Three Jewels) and listen to the master’s speech to the deceased.
Family member(s) of the deceased deliver(s) a speech.
The master led the family members to pay homage to the deceased and cover the deceased’s body with layers of Child and Grandchild Quilt. Starting from the youngest child, each one pulls the corner of the lowest layer of guilt over the shoulder of the deceased. The eldest son is the last one to pull the top Amitabha Quilt.
After closing the casket, pallbearers carry the casket from hall to hearse. Other family members follow and recite the Buddha's name to the hearse with the Venerable Master. Until the casket is placed, the hearse door is closed. The master and the deceased family go back to the auditorium to pack everything after the ceremony.
The designated drivers for the masters and the family should go to pick up their cars and line up behind the hearse. The vehicles of the masters should be the immediate vehicles behind the hearse and the vehicles of the family should follow the master’s vehicles. The vehicles in order will then follow the lead car by the funeral director from funeral home to cemetery or crematorium.
誦彌陀經完畢，家人跟師父們繞佛， 念阿彌陀佛， 觀世音菩薩，大勢至菩薩，清靜大海眾菩薩。
意義：願以所持誦之經文，經咒， 佛號，迴向給亡者， 消除業障，離苦得樂， 同生西方極樂國。
Venerable Master offers incense first, follow by the eldest son to the Three Jewels (Buddhas, Dharma and Sangha) and the deceased. The rest of the family members follow to offer incense.
Remove filial: By take out the filial flower or ribbon from your clothes; pin it on the flower provided to each family member and then place the flower on to the top surface of the casket.
After vegetarian lunch, the family will go to Cham Shan Temple for setting the memorial plaque for the deceased in Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Hall. The eldest grandson holds the picture of the deceased and enters the hall first. After the picture holder (represents the deceased) bows to Buddha 3 times, then place the picture next to the memorial plaque.
Every family member pay respect to the deceased by offering incense and bowing 3 times to the deceased as well as heartily recite the name of the deceased.
Note: The rundown above is based on a deceased parent with kids/grandkids and for reference only. It may subject to change due to special request from family, the actual number of family members attended, environment, time available, weather, gathering hall layout and arrangement by the funeral director.
It is our temple's intention to guide the families of the deceased and all attendees in the funeral service to understand and respect Buddhist funeral rituals and its principles behind. Through the participation in a solemn Buddhist funeral ceremony, we are expressing our gratitude, respect and loving kindness towards the deceased.
To book a Buddhist Memorial Service, please contact the temple reception
phone: (905) 886-6481 or