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From the moment the ancestor passes away, funeral prayers and rituals follow in the way of Chinese traditions. We had researched in depth, especially in the modern Singapore society today, in eliminating unfavorable elements while preserving traditional virtues that is in pace with the ever changing modern concepts.
Settling the spirit of the departed:
The calling of the soul of the departed immediately after their passing signifies that the soul has a place to return to and not end up a wandering spirit. As for the process of settling the spirit of the departed (placing the tablet of the departed on the altar), it is a way of respect and filial piety on the part of the younger generation so that they could continue to fulfil their filial duties of paying respects to their ancestors.
Paying respects and offerings to the spirit of the departed:
Paying respects and offerings to the spirit of the departed (i.e., placing food offerings on the altar of the tablet) is a symbol of filial piety to the ancestors or the departed. It is the belief and custom in Buddhism to pay respects to the departed with rice and food offerings till the end of forty nine days.
Ending of mourning period to the spirit of the departed:
Ending of mourning period to the spirit of the departed (removing of the tablet and altar) usually happens on the completion of the forty nine days period. The ending of the mourning period signifies the family returning to their usual life.
Shi Jin (Bone Picking, the relocation of remains):
The staff of Nirvana Memorial Garden will personally go to the crematorium and lead the bone picking ritual (to place and seal the cremated bones of the departed in the urn). This represents the first time that the departed and his family are meeting in this manner, and also marks the beginning where relatives and friends prepares to pray to the newly departed as the “God of the House”. The solemn ritual was also known as “Shi Jin” (“gold picking”) in early times.
Changing of Urn:
Changing of urn usually happens during exhumations, reburials or secondary burials (to move the bones of the departed to a new urn).
Interment of Urn (Moving of urn into niche):
The moving of the urn into the niche (the ritual to move the urn of the departed into the niche), is like moving the departed into a new home filled with respect and care; in the beliefs and customs of the religion, it is akin to having the departed ascending into a new level in accordance with the practices of Buddhism.
Settling in to the ancestral tablet:
A more complete saying is to “install an ancestral tablet” (to place the name of the newly departed together with the family ancestors to enable the family and descendants to pay their respects). After the ritual, it means that the newly departed is now also deemed as the God of the House. This ritual is usually performed after the mourning period of forty nine days.
Includes the big seven (first seventh/third seventh/fifth seventh/seventh seventh). In the Buddhism belief, the newly departed goes through a different crucial point of trials or reincarnation every seven days, thus families hopes that through chanting, praying or transference of merits, it would help the newly departed to gain blessings and attain enlightenment.
Praying on the 100th day after the passing of the newly departed.
Praying on the anniversary day one year after the passing of the newly departed, commonly used with “First Anniversary”.
Originally referred to as the second anniversary after the passing of the newly departed, because once the praying ceremony on the first anniversary ends, it is immediately followed by the praying ceremony for the second anniversary; thus the anniversary and first anniversary falls on the same day and time, resulting in the mixed usage of these two phrases.
Praying on the third anniversary of the newly departed.