The silence and serenity of Buddhist death rituals

Sad, certainly. Not to mention quiet. But perhaps because of those elements there was also an incredible sense of serenity.

Japanese Buddhist funeral


  1. says

    Great shot! Works very well in B&W.

    Like so many Europeans I’m fascinated with Buddhism, especially after a temple stay in Mt Koya, and a bit less so with Shinto because it seems to feed the nationalists (although a Shinto shrine usually makes for fabulous photography.)
    However, a Japanese friend of mine cooled pretty much on Buddhism after her mother died and she found the rates of the services a bit extreme and the way it was handled way too mercenary. :-)

    • says


      Yes, I know what you mean. I’m not a believer of any religion, but Buddhism remains fascinating. Temples (and shrines) are places I always visit too.

      I have also heard the same thing. An ex-colleague whose brother-in-law is a priest used to joke about him driving a BMW. What he described as the standard car for priests.

  2. winnie says

    I feel peaceful looking at this picture.
    Sorry if I off topic. But remind me of the serenity of Japanese cemetery, I always feel peaceful whenever I have a chance to visit them.

    • says

      I’m exactly the same. Have you been to Tama Cemetery? If not, it’s a beautiful place to walk round, particularly during cherry blossom season.

      • winnie says

        I have not been to Tama Cemetery. The one near ASIJ in Tama station?
        Okay, thank you for sharing! I will go to visit the cemetery. Hope the weather will be nice when I go there next month. :)

        • says

          No, it’s in Fuchu. A huge place. Not sure which is the nearest station though as I’ve always gone by bike. There are a few famous people buried there too. The artist Okamoto Taro (although I’ve never managed to find his grace…) and Mishima as well by all accounts.

          • winnie says

            Cool!! Thank you.
            Sorry, I was confused with the place. I will google for the map of the cemetery. :)

  3. says

    While it is true that there are always profiteers in any religion, let me just add that as a Buddhist, and someone who attends a Zen temple regularly, such cynicism is not always applicable. I know monks who are REALLY struggling to get by. Like anywhere, the funeral business is the one never affected by economic downturns, and this was the reality, even in the Depression. People die, and people get exploited.

    • says

      Yes, despite my cynicism in regards religion, I’m well aware that for every person simply out there to line their pockets or enhance their position, there are others who participating for all the right reasons.

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