Legend has it that when a man went to the Buddha professing his grief over the loss of a friend, the Buddha gave him particularly sage advice: Throw a party!
Death is a way to reach the next reincarnation and move closer to Nirvana, the state of absolute bliss. Buddhist funerals are often more like celebrations, where followers focus on the soul of the deceased as it makes its ascent from the physical body.
The Buddhist funeral services revolve around the concepts of sharing, good conduct and meditation. Buddhist chants, incense and colorful dresses create a festive and positive atmosphere. Blanketing is considered an important gift for the journey of the soul. Friends and family drape sheets of silk, velvet and satin over the loved one in the casket.
The first service is held within two days of a death at the home of the bereaved. A second service is held two to five days following the death, and is conducted by monks at a sacred location. The third and final service is held seven days after the burial or cremation and is meant to create positive energy for the deceased as (s)he transcends to the next stage of reincarnation.