A Buddhist funeral consists of extensive last rites performed according to sacrosanct rituals and traditions. The funeral service, according to Buddhism, signifies the setting free of the deceased person's soul, which was trapped in the mundane world of existence, and its search for a new life thereafter.
The Buddhist funeral ceremonies which end with cremation in most cases, are carried out by monks with the help of the bereaved family. When a person has died, Buddhist monks read verses from scriptures to allow the good energies to be set free from the soul. To prevent any decomposition in case of a late cremation, the deceased's body is prepared carefully while the chanting is going on. After bathing the body, it is placed in a casket with candles, bouquets, fragrant incense and a picture of the deceased.
If the funeral is delayed by a few days for distant relatives to get a last look, the monks go to the deceased person's residence daily and recite sutras from the Abhidharma, an important Buddhist holy scripture.
On funeral day, monks perform the last rites and the chief monk expresses his condolences to the family and speaks words of encouragement to them along with tribute to the dead person recounting his life. Other rites like wrapping the casket with a white cloth during the religious invocation and Pansakula, a custom of passing on virtues and blessings to the departed soul are also carried out.
Before the cremation, a family member or closest kin has to say something about the deceased person. A light meal for all the visitors is organized after the Buddhist funeral rituals and the cremation is carried out.
Some alterations in the specific rituals may be found in different cultures, but these are the key rituals followed during a Buddhist funeral in many countries like China, Thailand, and Tibet by the followers of the religion.