Singapore Funeral Committee

Nov 09, 2023

The Buddhist Funeral Process in Singapore: A Comprehensive Guide

With a deep understanding of the rituals and customs followed by Buddhists upon the death of a loved one, we offer you valuable insights into this sacred journey. Our detailed article will walk you through each step of the funeral process, shedding light on the practices and beliefs that shape Buddhist funerals in Singapore.

Cleansing and dressing of the deceased

In Buddhism, it is believed that the soul of the deceased remains in the body for a certain period after death. As a result, Buddhists refrain from touching or moving the body for approximately 3-4 hours. During this time, the body is kept in its original state. Afterwards, the cleansing process begins, where the body is carefully washed and dressed in plain everyday clothing. It is important to note that simplicity and modesty are highly valued in Buddhist funeral customs.

Chanting and prayers

Buddhist funerals in Singapore are often officiated by Buddhist monks who guide the bereaved family and friends through the mourning process. The funeral service typically begins with the resonating sound of a gong or bell, symbolizing the commencement of the ceremony. The monks may deliver a sermon to offer spiritual guidance and solace to the attendees. Chanting of prayers is also an integral part of the service, creating an atmosphere of reverence and reflection. During this time, incense sticks are lit, filling the air with fragrant scents that symbolize the purification of the surroundings.

It is customary for family members to present a cloth to the officiating monks as an expression of gratitude for their role in conducting the funeral service. This gesture serves as a heartfelt acknowledgement of the monks’ spiritual support during this challenging time. Additionally, some family members may carry sticks while walking around, representing the need for collective support and strength in coping with grief.

Open casket viewing

Buddhist funerals in Singapore often include an open casket viewing, providing an opportunity for family, friends, and mourners to pay their respects to the departed. The casket is displayed with reverence, usually accompanied by an altar adorned with a photograph of the deceased and an image of Buddha. This arrangement serves as a focal point for reflection and remembrance. Following the funeral service, the casket is sealed shut, and family members come together to carry it to the hearse. The mourners typically form a funeral procession as a final tribute to the departed soul.


In line with the Buddhist belief in reincarnation and the impermanence of the physical body, cremation is a common choice for the final disposition of the deceased. The act of cremation signifies the release of the soul from its earthly vessel, allowing it to embark on its next journey. Buddhists in Singapore prefer cremation as it aligns with their core spiritual principles and helps facilitate the soul’s transition to a new life.

Post-funeral arrangements

Buddhist families in Singapore observe extended mourning periods as a way to honour and remember the departed loved one. In addition to the initial funeral service, they often hold additional services on specific days following the death, such as the 3rd day, 7th day, 49th day, and 100th day. These services serve as opportunities for family and friends to come together, offer prayers, and support one another through the grieving process. Participating in these services showcases respect for the deceased and shows solidarity with the bereaved family.

Importance of offering condolences to the family

While Buddhists embrace the idea of the continuous cycle of life and death, the loss of a loved one still brings profound grief and sorrow. Offering condolences and sympathy messages to the family is an essential way to express empathy and support. By acknowledging the loss and affirming any shared beliefs, you can provide comfort during this difficult time. Your kind words and gestures can offer solace to those mourning the departure of their loved ones.

How to handle the ashes or remains after the cremation or sea burial

After the cremation process, there are several options for handling the ashes or remains of the departed. Two common choices are placing the ashes in an urn and either storing it in a columbarium or opting for a sea burial. A columbarium is a dedicated building that houses small niches designed to hold urns. It provides a serene and respectful place for families to visit and remember their loved ones. On the other hand, a sea burial offers a fitting solution for those who had a strong affinity for the water. Biodegradable urns, such as salt urns, dissolve when exposed to water, ensuring a harmonious return to nature.

In conclusion, understanding the rituals and customs of a Buddhist funeral process in Singapore is essential to provide support and respect to the bereaved family and friends. By following the practices described above and offering your condolences, you can navigate this sensitive time with compassion and understanding. At Singapore funeral Committee, we are dedicated to providing you with the most comprehensive and informative guide to help you navigate the Buddhist funeral process in Singapore.