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At Newrest Funerals, we can assist with the funeral arrangements of all of the world’s major religions – Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism and so on. We can also help with Buddhist funerals. Of course, Buddhism is not a religion in the accepted sense of the term but it has many facets of a religion, especially when it comes to things like funerals. That’s why it can be tricky for some people who are not well-versed in Buddhist beliefs if they need to plan one for a friend or family member who has just passed on. If so, we are on hand every day of the year to offer professional and impartial advice. What are the main things to prioritise?

To begin with, you will need a death certificate to organise the funeral arrangements. Obtain this from the local registry office and ask us to help if you don’t know how to go about this. You will need a medical certificate from a doctor plus something that proves the ID of the deceased, such as their passport, for example.

In addition, you will need to choose a firm of funeral directors. Picking a firm that has experience with Buddhist funeral rites would be a good idea depending on the sort of service you will want. Bear in mind that Buddhist funerals are not that commonplace in the UK, especially outside of the bigger cities so seeking guidance can be helpful.

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Look for a funeral plan that the deceased might have left behind. You might find out that they’ve given consent for their body to be used by medics in training or for their organs to be donated. You may also find that they want an ecological funeral instead of a traditional cremation. Sometimes, Buddhists will have paid for their funeral in advance either with a funeral plan or from insurance. This will help you to cover some – if not all – of the funeral expenses.

The Buddhist Society, which is located in Pimlico in London, can provide advice on Buddhist temples where funerals can be staged. They deal with Theravada, Tibetan and Zen Buddhist funerals but they’re a good port of call for general advice even if the deceased didn’t subscribe to one particular school of Buddhism. That said, it is most common to have Buddhist funerals conducted at a local authority crematorium. There are no hard and fast rules with Buddhist funerals, after all.

During the funeral service, it is common to have an open casket but this is not mandatory. An image of the Buddha and of the deceased will be on display next to the body, often decorated with flowers, incense or candles. Members of the Buddhist community will read sermons and a eulogy is commonplace. Ask mourners who are not used to Buddhist funeral rites to bow their heads and place their hands in the prayer position when they enter the venue. Please ask attendees to avoid brightly coloured clothing. White is often okay but not always since Japanese Buddhists tend to prefer black attire.