A Guide to Planning a Buddhist Funeral in Singapore

Buddhist funeral services in Singapore

As they are rooted in the fundamental philosophy of Buddhism, the Buddhist funeral services in Singapore are centred around the concepts of peace and serenity. Buddhists believe that a funeral ceremony serves two purposes: it allows a period of mourning for bereaved family and friends while assisting the soul of the deceased in their journey to the next life. Due to the concept of Samsara, also known as the never-ending cycle of death and rebirth, being a core belief in the Buddhist faith, Buddhist funeral rites strongly emphasise ensuring a quiet and peaceful transfer of the deceased into their afterlife. Scripture chanting is often performed at the service to facilitate this, and monks may preside over significant events during the period.


Depending on the country, Buddhist funeral rituals can vary between traditions or ‘schools’ and occasionally even within ‘schools.’ Some ceremonies are traditional and ritualistic, while others are simple, solemn, and dignified. Even though different denominations have distinct rituals or practices, the framework of a standard Buddhist funeral service remains the same. It can be divided into three main sections: the wake, cremation, and after-funeral ceremonies.


Read on to find out what measures to take after the death of a loved one and how to prepare a Buddhist funeral service in Singapore.


Death Registration

The first step after a person’s passing is registering their death to obtain a Certificate of Cause of Death. This document is necessary to accomplish a variety of tasks, such as closing bank accounts, claiming insurance, and so on.


Certificate of Cause of Death

If one’s death occurs in a hospital, a Certificate of Cause of Death will be issued free of charge. However, if the person dies at home, their family must consult a doctor to certify the death.



In the case of natural death, an autopsy is not required. However, if the death is not natural, an autopsy is conducted under the Coroner’s Act to identify the cause of death.


How to Prepare for a Buddhist Funeral Service in Singapore?

Some practices leave the deceased’s body unattended for four to eight hours since the departed is believed to be still moving out of the physical body. In the meantime, family members can have a medical professional certify the death at home or at a hospital. Then the body is transported to a funeral home to prepare for the wake. At this time, the family must select a location and plan the necessary logistics.


The Wake

In Buddhism, odd numbers are significant as they indicate a ‘becoming’ or transitional number. As a result, Buddhist funeral services in Singapore often last three to seven days. The wake can be hosted at the deceased’s home, a monastery, a funeral parlour, or a void deck. Everything will be set to receive the departed when the casket arrives, including the altar, flowers, joss sticks, offerings, chairs, and Buddhist items such as bells, gongs, and images.


During the ceremony, the immediate family members will be dressed in white and present to greet the guests. Those who attend can wear white, black or neutral-coloured attire for the service. To pay their respects to the departed, visitors will typically bow to the deceased, offer a lit joss stick at the altar, or walk around the casket once led by a family member. Afterwards, they can spend time with the bereaved family, offering condolences and words of comfort. While they can participate in the chanting and sessions during the ceremony, they are not required to sit through the entire wake.


Monks usually arrive on the final day of the wake and lead a final prayer session.


The Cremation

Once the funeral rites are carried out over the required number of days, the casket is taken to the crematorium. Cremation is a popular choice among Buddhists and Singaporeans alike. Family members or professionals will transfer the casket to the hearse after the ceremony. Therefore, it is common for family and friends to walk behind the hearse for a short distance as a symbolic procession before travelling to the crematorium individually or in groups.


There are three crematoriums in Singapore.

  • Mandai Crematorium and Columbarium Complex (State-Owned)
  • Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery (Private-Owned)
  • Tse Toh Aum Temple (Private-Owned)


Due to their religious affiliations, Buddhists may prefer the private-owned crematoriums.  


When the casket arrives at the crematorium, it is handed over to the staff, while the family is led to the viewing room for the final send-off. Once properly prepared, the urn is given to the family for custody. The family may decide to retain it at home, in a columbarium, or scatter the ashes at sea.


After-Funeral Ceremonies

Following a Buddhist funeral service in Singapore, the family will hold a prayer session every seven days for the next seven weeks to help the departed with the transition. It is believed that the deceased will pass on to their next life on the 49th day, and a final significant ritual is performed to commemorate this milestone.


The mourning phase following the death of a loved one can last up to 100 days, and families avoid joyous or celebratory gatherings during this time in respect to the departed’s memory. On the 100th day, a festive ceremony is organised to honour the new journey of the deceased in their next life.


Buddhist Funeral Services in Singapore

Funerals are an unfortunate occurrence in life. However, if you are prepared with accurate information, you will be able to properly carry out the funeral rites of a loved one.


A. LifeGrad Funeral Services LLP is a one-stop destination in Singapore that offers funeral services for people of all faiths. They are dedicated to organising memorable and dignified funeral ceremonies for their clients and have over 15 years of experience in the industry. As part of their service offerings, they also provide Buddhist funeral packages in Singapore, which can be customised to the needs of the bereaved family. For any inquiries, reach them at +65 6262 3086.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *