Buddhism is practiced the world over, the core of which is taken from the primary teachings of Lord Buddha. Mercy & love for mankind and realization of the Ultimate truth are essential in Buddhism.
These basics of Buddhism can be seen in the rites practiced in a Buddhist funeral. Certain mandatory rituals should be followed when a person Buddhist person dies, to ensure that his soul gets elevated to a higher level in the next life. Prayers are used to invoke the good energies of the deceased, ensuring his deliverance from this life and wishing him the best for his next.
A traditional bath to the body marks the beginning of the Buddhist funeral rituals. After that comes the stage of chanting of religious scriptures by the monks, thereby directing the soul to the path of spiritual liberation. The monks recite sermons of the Buddha that refer to the importance of practising mercy and kindness. Meanwhile, the deceased is prepared for the final journey. Relatives normally place some money in the casket of the deceased. This is done to pay for the dead person's journey across the mythical River of Three Hells.
The casket is then placed before the altar in the house for the loved ones to pay their respects. Visitors are expected to pray for the dead person and the family and friends give their condolences. Priests who carry out the rites continue to recite the appropriate sutras. Once the recital is over, people bow before the altar to pay their last respects. As the visitors start leaving, the family members give a gift to each other to show gratitude for partaking in their sorrow.
The family can decide whether to bury the body or cremate it according to their family beliefs, once all these essential rituals are completed. In all, the rites try to bring a sense of acceptance and peace to the people left behind while praying to promote the departed to a higher stage of knowledge and enlightenment.