Buddhists take a positive stance when it comes to death: the best way to approach it is without fear. Two of the most important aspects celebrate life more than they dwell on death. “It is only by recognizing how precious and how short life is that we are most likely to make it meaningful and to live it fully and by understanding the death process and familiarizing ourselves with it, we can remove fear at the time of death and ensure a good rebirth.”
Among Buddhists death is regarded as an occasion of major spiritual significance, both for the deceased and for the survivors. For the deceased it marks the moment when the transition begins to a new mode of existence within the round of rebirths. When death occurs all the karmic forces that the dead person accumulated during the course of his or her lifetime become activated and set about determining the next rebirth. For the living, death is a powerful reminder of the Buddha’s teaching on impermanence; it also provides an opportunity to assist the deceased person as he or she fares on to the new existence.
Burial is very rare in the Buddhist religion as the act of cremation symbolises the release of the deceased’s soul from the body allowing the re-birth of the soul.
Among the important principles leading up to a funeral in the Buddhist tradition, believers practice mindfulness and gratefulness for their lives before they reach their deaths. A great deal of personal, spiritual work goes into planning for death, which understandably lends one to have a positive outlook and some amount of control when their time comes. Whether practicing Buddhism or not, it seems there are many valuable ideas we can take and use toward our own relationship with death and end-of-life experience.