When considering making a gift or donation in memory of the deceased, it is difficult to know the customs and rituals that each religion and culture may observe. What are the appropriate items to bring or send to express condolences to the grieving family in the Buddhist tradition? The type of condolence gift and amount spent is generally dependent upon the relationship shared with the deceased and family.
There are many steps involved in the Buddhist mourning process. The rituals vary tremendously depending on the sect of Buddhism followed by the deceased. Though allowing for differences and circumstances, a humble service and time of mourning reflects on a family’s dedication to the Buddha and respect for the deceased.
An important part of the grieving and healing process is visiting the grave site of the loved one. The visit to the cemetery or mausoleum expresses a strong statement that the deceased as not been forgotten. Religions and cultures often have traditions about how often and when the cemetery should be visited. Many religions stress the importance of remembering and honoring those who have passed away while maintaining a balance of continuing life with a hope for the future.
The death and burial customs of a religion concerning the funeral and burial can provide structure and comfort for the grieving family during the difficult time of loss. In many religions, the rituals also prepare the deceased for the life to come. The time before death to many Buddhists is a time to comfort and soothe the mind and spirit of the one dying. By creating a positive atmosphere, the family passes on the merits of good karma to help prepare the spirit for a good rebirth and next life.