Buddhist Funerals: Spotlight on Traditions

At Valley of the Temples, our Oahu cemetery honors the traditions of all faiths. Our non-practicing Buddhist Byodo-In Temple welcomes people of all religions to worship and meditate in the beautiful surroundings. The temple is also a peaceful spot to visit your lost loved one buried on our grounds. Among the many different style funerals we hold, we welcome practicing Buddhists to use our grounds and temple to honor lost family members. Here is an overview of some common Buddhist funeral traditions we welcome. 

Byodo-In Temple

Funeral Scheduling

Buddhist tradition holds that religious funeral services should be scheduled for the third, seventh, 49th, or 100th day after the death. However, in modern times, this schedule has been made more flexible to accommodate the needs of the family. According to tradition, the funeral may be limited to close family, or it may be opened up to the general public. Before the service, Dana—an act that is supposed to purify the mind of the person performing it—is done so that Sangha, or a blessing of the community, can be delivered and then bestowed upon the deceased.


Visitation is not always part of Buddhist funerals. When it does occur, the deceased is dressed in simple clothes and placed in an unadorned casket. Near the casket, an altar with images of Buddha, a photo of the deceased, flowers, and incense is set up. Chanting may be performed to aid in reflection of the loss. Non-Buddhist tributes, such as military or civil rites, are welcome as long as they don’t conflict with Buddhist beliefs.

Funeral Service

Guests at a Buddhist funeral service should dress in white clothing, rather than black. During the service, chanting, often led by monks, will take place. After the service, if there is to be a burial, guests may travel en masse to the cemetery for a final graveside service.

Let Valley of the Temples help you plan a funeral for your loved one that honors all of your beliefs and traditions. Our Oahu cemetery offers a wide range of options to ensure your memorial to your loved one is truly fitting. Find out how we can help you by calling (888) 723-6620.  

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