Buddhist Funeral Essay

Buddhist Funeral

My grandfather passed away in 2017 in Taiwan. The family chose to have a Buddhist style of music playing in the background while the monks pray to show respect for my grandparents’ religious beliefs. Taiwan nationals are mostly Buddhist, and their funeral practices are very different from Christians’ or Catholics’ practices.

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Buddhists utilize ‘suona’ and ‘muyu’ to play funeral music. The two musical instruments originate from China. During a Buddhist funeral, the monk prays to God to bring the deceased’s soul to the pure land of Buddhism, hoping and waiting for reincarnation. Homophonic music, which is very simple, repetitive, and calm, plays alongside the monk’s prayer. People have limited music choices in the event of Buddhist-style funerals in Taiwan. The Monks decide the funeral playlist. Interestingly, the monks trace the deceased’s birth date and time and select the most appropriate hymn.

I cried hard during my grandfather’s funeral, mainly because of the loss and the emotional music sung during the Buddhist funeral. I also cry a lot when I attend funerals, even when I do not know the person, and I believe the reason is the music. However, I appreciate “understanding how music can help to express or channel people’s emotions….”[1] Music is so powerful that it can bring and influence one person’s emotions, and I am aware of how the music from my surrounding often control my emotions. When I am stressed, I tend to find meditative or soft music for both physical and mental relaxation. After a while, I find myself becoming more peaceful and calm. Music has been all over the places in my life, and it is a powerful force that influences my wellbeing and accompanies my thoughts.





Clarke, E, Didden, N., & Pitts, S. (2010). Music in people’s lives.  Music and mind in everyday life. (pp. 1-14).  Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

[1] Clarke, 2017, p. 8.

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