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[4C] Important Guidelines: (3) After Dying 重要指示: (3) 往生后

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[1] Guidance To The Deceased: The following should be read aloud sincerely near the body of the deceased for encouraging Niànfó, as he or she might be within or near, due to habitual attachment. It should be put in words familiar to the deceased, by the person appointed or closest.

[1] 往生者的开示:为了鼓励往生者念佛,应当在遗体附近,真诚地如下出声念。因为习惯性的执着,亡者可能还在遗体内或附近。指定的被委托人或最亲的人应当以往生者熟悉的文字,对他/她开示。

Only when it is not convenient should it be thought ‘aloud’, for the consciousness of the deceased to read one’s mind for the message.


‘Dearest _____ [name of deceased], as you are now deceased, it is time to Niànfó with us sincerely now, so that you can reach Āmítuófó’s Pure Land – where there is no more suffering, where there is only bliss.

「亲爱的_____ [往生者名],因为您已经过世了,这时应该真诚地跟我们一起念佛。这样就可以往生到阿弥陀佛的净土。那里没有痛苦,只有安乐。

Please do not be attached to your wealth and family, as you have to leave them behind. We assure you that all will be well. They too will Niànfó to reach Pure Land when it is time to meet you there.


Please Niànfó with us as sincerely as you can because this is the only way to have the best rebirth before it is too late. This is the best thing you can do for yourself and your loved ones.


_____ [number of] days later, your body will be cremated/buried. Please do not be attached to it. Please continue to Niànfó sincerely all the way, until you see Āmítuófó come to guide you to his Pure Land. Please follow only Āmítuófó and no one else. Let us Niànfó sincerely now. Āmítuófó, Āmítuófó, Āmítuófó…’

_____ [数] 天后,您的遗体将会被火化/埋葬。请别执着它。请继续真诚地念佛,直到您看见阿弥陀佛来接引您到他的净土。请只跟着阿弥陀佛去,而别跟随其他人。让我们现在用最真诚的心念佛。阿弥陀佛、阿弥陀佛、阿弥陀佛…」

[2] Continual Chanting: There should be uninterrupted support-chanting for as long as possible after death (between 3 to 8 hours), before touching or moving the body. (8 hours is a popular duration.)

[2] 持续念佛:往生后尽可继续不间断的助念,维持越久越好(如3至8小时)。过后才可以触摸或移动遗体。(8小时是最常用的标准。)

[3] Eyes & Mouth: If the eyes and/or mouth of the deceased are open after death, do not forcibly close them or place items on them. With continual support-chanting, they might close naturally.

[3] 眼睛和嘴巴:如果往生者的眼睛和/或嘴巴往生后是开着的,不可以强行关闭,或摆放物品遮盖。随着不断的助念,眼睛和嘴巴可能会自然关闭。

[4] Before Moving Body: The Third Great Essential of the section on ‘The Three Great Essentials When Approaching Death’ (see page 45) should first be understood.

[4] 移动遗体前:应当先理解第45页《临终三大要》中的 「第三大要」。

Before touching the body of the deceased anywhere or moving it, announce the need, and with ongoing Niànfó, tug at some of the hair at the centre of the crown (about eight fingerwidths back from hairline), or tap that area if bald, to stimulate the consciousness, if still present, to exit from there for Pure Land.


Avoid touching the hands, legs and anywhere below the heart area for as long as possible, as this might stimulate lower rebirths. Whenever there is handling of the body, there should be announcement with ongoing Niànfó.


[5] Minimise Moving Body: If in a hospital, do your best to request medical personnel to let the body be untouched for as long as possible, to lessen touching while certifying death, and to touch only gently when needed (e.g. when removing medical apparatus). The bed or bedding should be moved together with the body if it has to relocate before sufficient time has passed. Some hospitals have prayer rooms for this purpose, where there can be further Niànfó. Refrigeration of the body should be avoided.

[5] 减少移动遗体:如果在医院,尽力请求医护人员尽可能延迟触动遗体,也尽可能以最少触摸证明死亡。无法避免(如拆除医疗器材时),动作应当轻柔。如果在助念时间不足的情况下必须把遗体送到别处,应当一起移动床或床单。若医院设有的助念室,应当送到那里继续助念,避免冷冻遗体。

[6] Death Notification: To certify death, medical personnel should be notified after the above support-chanting, as extended after end of breathing, so as to not touch the body too soon, which might disturb the consciousness.

[6] 死亡通知:断气后,应当继续把以上的助念指示做足,才通知医护人员前来证明死亡,以免太早触摸遗体,而干扰到神识。

[7] Death Administration: The following procedure is in the Singapore context. (For updates and details, please see

[7] 死亡行政处理:以下是新加坡的程序。(欲知最新详情,请看

(a) Certificate of Cause Of Death (CCOD):

(a)   死因证明书(CCOD):

(i) Death at home

(i) 家中死亡

Contact family doctor of the deceased or any doctor who can make a house call, to certify death and issue CCOD if possible. If not, contact the police for the body to be sent to mortuary for certification.


(ii) Death at hospital from natural cause

(ii) 医院中自然死亡

Get CCOD from ward nurse by producing identity card of the deceased.


(iii) Death at hospital from unnatural cause

(iii) 医院中非自然死亡

On the next day, bring all of the deceased’s medical documents, medicine consumed and identity card (with the informant’s) to the mortuary, where the body would have been sent to.


(b) Death Certificate (DC):

(b) 死亡证明书(DC):

Bring CCOD and identity card of the deceased (with the informant’s) to register death within 24 hours of death at any police station or Registry Of Births & Deaths for exchange of DC. (Death will be registered at mortuary if body was sent there.)


[8] Cleaning & Changing: When undressing, cleaning (wiping with clean or scented water) and re-dressing a stiffened body, use a warm towel to soften the joints. (Suppleness of the body is an auspicious sign of a good rebirth.)

[8] 清理和更衣:脱衣、清理(可以用清水或有香味的水擦拭)和更衣时,如果身体僵硬,可以用温毛巾软化关节部位。(身体柔软是往生善趣的瑞相。)

[For Guidance Texts before (6) cleaning and dressing, (7) encoffining, (8) funeral procession, (9) cremation, (10) urn storage, (11) scattering of ashes, (12) burial, and (13) offering food (to the deceased), see]

[可在 净身换衣(7) 入殓,(8) 出殡,(9) 火化,(10) 安放骨灰瓮(11) 撒骨灰(12) 埋葬,(13) 供养(亡者)食物之前的开示文。]

[9] Choice Of Clothes: The deceased should be changed to his or her preferred clothes (if they are not already on), with no need to insist on an outer layer of Hǎiqīng (海青: black robes for those who have taken the Threefold Refuge or not) if the deceased did not like it when alive.

[9] 衣服的选择:如果临终时没换好衣,这时应当换上往生者喜欢的衣服。如果往生者生前不喜欢,不必坚持额外穿上海青。(海青虽然是佛弟子的黑色汉服,未皈依者也可穿。)

The second outer layer of Mànyī (缦衣: brown robes for those who have committed to the Five Precepts or Bodhisattva Precepts) is optional too.


While the Hǎiqīng can be cremated, the Mànyī should not be, as it is regarded as a Dharma robe. It can be washed, reused and kept at the home shrine to remind family members to continually Niànfó to help the deceased.


[10] Funeral Arrangements: A trustworthy funeral service, ideally run by an authentic Buddhist organisation should be engaged to collect the body for sending to location of the funeral. Following the instructions in this book, there should be strictly Buddhist arrangements with minimal touching of the body.

[10] 丧礼的安排:应当采用能信赖的,正信的佛教葬礼服务,把遗体送到丧礼地点。丧礼应当按照这本书的指示,严格依照佛教仪式进行,并减少触摸遗体。

[11] Embalmment: Avoid embalmment as it might cause pain and distress if the consciousness is still within the body or near, and is attached to it. Make-up which involves more touching is not needed. Casket should be closed if facial expression is unpleasant.

[11] 防腐处理:由于往生者可能会放不下,而还在体内,或神识还在附近,应当避免注射防腐剂,以免生起痛苦与烦恼。也不需要化妆,以免有多余的触摸。如果面部表情难看,棺木应当完全封起。

Incense can be put in the sealed casket and offered nearby to mask any possible bad smell, with cotton wool inside for absorbing it.


[12] Casket: There is no need for a lavish casket, especially if it will be cremated. One as environmentally friendly as possible should be used. Even if to be buried, it will eventually decay.

[12] 棺木:尤其如果即将火化,没必要使用奢华的棺木。尽可能使用环保的棺木。即使将埋葬,棺木最终也会腐坏。

If the deceased is likely to be attached to its quality, one of reasonable expected quality should be used. An Āmítuófó picture or statue can be placed near the head of the casket at the funeral as a reminder to Niànfó.


[13] Save Expenses: There is no need for lavish expenses on big obituary advertisements and banners (unless they share the Dharma) or wreaths. Jewellery need not be worn by the deceased and should be considered for donations. Money is better contributed for Dharma propagation (e.g. printing and distributing of Dharma books, such as this one), proper animal liberation and signing up for Dharma ceremonies (法会) to create and share merits with the deceased.

[13] 节省费用:不需要花费大笔金钱刊登讣告、订购布条(除非以上有弘法的法语)或花环。往生者也不需要佩戴金银首饰。反而,应当转换金钱用于捐款与弘法(如印送经书与佛书,如这本书),正确的放生,和报名超度法会。如此能造更多功德,回向于往生者。

[14] Guard Body: Guard the body during the funeral to ensure there are no disturbances, as the consciousness might still be attached to the body’s welfare.

[14] 看护遗体:因为神识可能还执着遗体的安置,在丧礼期间,应当看护遗体,确保不受干扰。

[15] Ongoing Chanting: Following the support-chanting sessions before and after death, there should be as much regular chanting as possible within 49 days after passing, as rebirth usually occurs within this duration. The section on ‘Guidance To The Deceased’ (see page 82) can be read near the body at the funeral before each Niànfó session.

[15] 持续助念:因为轮回转世通常在往生后的49天内,  随着往生前后的助念,在这段期间也应当尽可能继续定时助念。在丧礼每次念佛前,应当在遗体附近念出《往生者的开示》(第83页)。

Do not stop regular chanting unless there are unmistakable signs of having secured birth in Pure Land or a good rebirth. In case of uncertainty, and for peace of mind, Āmítuófó should be sincerely prayed to for clear signs, followed by sincere Niànfó. However, do not keep asking for signs, as this distracts oneself from continuing sincere Niànfó to guide the deceased, who might not yet be reborn.


Even if the deceased is already reborn in a less fortunate realm, merits from Niànfó shared can alleviate suffering there, and expedite a better rebirth. There should be some shifts to continue support-chanting, instead of wasting time during the funeral, or merely chatting with relatives and visitors.


[16] Sharing Of Merits: Each Niànfó session should be concluded with the ‘Verse For Sharing Of Merits’.

[16] 回向功德:每当念佛完毕时,应当念《回向文》,做为结尾。

Verse For Sharing Of Merits

May these meritorious virtues, adorn the Buddha’s Pure Land [so as to be born there], repay the four weighty sources of kindness [which are our parents, the Triple Gem (Buddhas, Dharma, Saṅgha), society (country) and all sentient beings] above, and relieve suffering of the three paths [of hell-beings, hungry ghosts and animals] below. If there are those who see or hear this, may all give rise to the Bodhi Mind [(Bodhicitta) which is the aspiration to attain Buddhahood while guiding all sentient beings to the same goal], and at the end of this one retribution body [that is karmically subject to suffering], be born in the Land Of Ultimate Bliss [which is Āmítuófó’s Pure Land] together.



After reciting the above for all beings, the following can be added.


‘May _____ [name of dying/deceased], along with his/her karmic creditors be reborn in Āmítuófó’s Pure Land too.’

「愿_____ [临终者/往生者名],连同他/她的冤亲债主,一起往生到阿弥陀佛的净土。」(注:四重恩是父母、佛法僧三宝、国土与一切众生。三途是地狱、饿鬼与畜生道。菩提心是上求佛道,下化众生的大愿。一报身是这一个受恶业报应的身。)

[17] Monastic Chanting: If possible, invite experienced monastics with right understanding of the Pure Land teachings from authentic Buddhist organisations for support-chanting when person is dying and during the funeral, with focus on Niànfó (to guide similar Practice to reach Pure Land) and the Amitā[bha] Sūtra (阿弥陀经: to introduce Āmítuófó and his Pure Land). Other chants might confuse the deceased as to where to go and what to do to reach there. Even though they offer general guidance and general merits, it is best to clearly align the power of guidance with the power of merits in terms of Āmítuófó and his Pure Land above.

[17] 法师助念:在临终和丧礼期间,尽可能邀请对净土法门有正见和经验的正信佛教法师前来助念。应当专注于念佛(为引导往生者一起念佛,往生净土)和念《阿弥陀经》(为简单介绍阿弥陀佛和他的净土)。其他的念诵可能会混淆往生者,导致不知该往哪里去与如何去。即使种种念诵能给与一些引导与功德,但最好明确将引导力和功德力指向阿弥陀佛和他的净土。

Family and friends should sincerely chant with the monastics to create more merits for sharing with the deceased. If there are no monastics available, they should chant by themselves too. As the deceased can read the minds of those chanting, when those with right understanding chant sincerely, this offers proper guidance.


[18] Funeral Days: The funeral should offer enough time for the consciousness of the deceased, who might still be around, to have enough guidance for Niànfó Practice to reach Āmítuófó’s Pure Land.

[18] 丧礼长短:丧礼应当为往生者可能还在的神识提供足够时间,以便得于足够的引导,而念佛往生净土。

Depending on nature of the person and the passing, the number of days should be neither too few nor too many. For instance, one who died unpeacefully should probably be offered more time (such as 5 days), while one who is likely to become attached to staying indefinitely (although impossible) with the passing of time should be offered less time (such as 3 days).


The number of days left before cremation or burial should be periodically reminded, so as to urge more sincere and diligent Niànfó. The section on ‘Guidance To The Deceased’ (see page 82) can be read near the body before each Niànfó session.


[19] Peacefulness Of Funeral: There should be no drinking, smoking or gambling at the funeral as the deceased, if still around, might see these as celebratory and disrespectful, which distracts him or her from Niànfó. The funeral should thus be kept peaceful – without crying, singing, music, laughing, fighting and loud talking.

[19] 丧礼的清净:避免在丧礼喝酒、吸烟或赌博,因为如果往生者还在,可能会把以上视为不尊敬的庆祝。这则分散他/她念佛的专注力。丧礼应当保持清净 — 无有哭泣、唱歌、音乐、嬉闹、吵架、和大声说话。

[20] Food Offerings: All food offerings to the Buddha and the deceased during the funeral and 49 days after death must be vegan (free of meat and animal products) and without the ‘Five Pungent Roots’ (see page 65). All meals offered to visitors during support-chanting and at the funeral must be vegan too, so as to not create the slightest negative karma in the name of the deceased linked to direct or indirect killing or harming of any sentient being through the cycle of supply and demand.

[20] 供养食物:在丧礼和往生后的49天,供养佛陀和往生者的所有食物必须是净素(不含肉类与动物产品、酒精和五辛:看第65页)。提供给助念与丧礼访客的饮食也必须如此。这是为了避免因为牵涉到供应和需求的循环,直接或间接,以往生者的名义,造任何杀害,或伤害众生的恶业。

[21] Veg[etari]an Food: Family and friends should go vegetarian (or ideally, vegan) during the above period or even beyond, to create merits for sharing with the deceased. Even if the deceased is already reborn in Pure Land, merits created can still benefit oneself.


[22] Other Offerings: Periodically make offerings (e.g. water, light, incense, fruits) and prostrate at the funeral and home shrines to Āmítuófó and the Triple Gem (Buddhas, Dharma and Saṅgha) on behalf of the deceased.

[22] 其他供品:定时代表往生者,在丧礼和家中的佛龛前,顶礼,(用水、灯、香、果)供养阿弥陀佛和(佛法僧)三宝。

[23] Paper Offerings: There should be no burning of paper offerings (of money, houses, cars and such) before and after death, especially not near the (dying person or) deceased, as this can (cause breathing difficulties and) confuse the person into thinking the offerings can be gotten, giving rise to attachment due to anticipation, and aversion when not received. Burning leads to pollution, waste of paper, time, energy and money too.

[23] 冥纸:特别是在临终者或往生者附近,不该焚烧冥纸(钱、房、车等),因为这可能导致临终者呼吸困难,或让往生者错认能够收到供品,因期盼而生起执着,收不到而生起嗔恨。焚烧冥纸,既造成环境污染,又浪费纸张、时间、精力、和金钱。

[24] Dreams: If the deceased used to stubbornly believe in the need for paper offerings, to give peace of mind, just a little can be burnt to prove it is pointless. Likewise can be done if there are requests for paper offerings in dreams, although these might arise in the minds of family members due to their own attachment to such offerings. Whether real or not, the deceased who appears in dreams should be guided to Niànfó sincerely, to be reborn in Pure Land swiftly.

[24] 梦:如果往生者生前执着要烧冥纸,为得心安,可以烧少许,证明它的无益。同样的,如果梦见往生者要求烧冥纸,可以烧少许。但这可能是亲属因自己执着冥纸而有所梦。无论是真或假,应当直接引导在梦中出现的往生者如何真诚念佛,迅速往生净土。

[25] Family Funeral Wear: There is no need for family members to wear traditional funeral clothes, headdresses and badges. For instance, they can wear all white, all black or white tops with black bottoms to express purity, solemnity and respectful uniformity. There is no need to place clothes, shoes and other items of the deceased aside at the funeral as they might stir attachment, while the consciousness no longer has physical form for using them.

[25] 亲属孝服:不需要穿传统孝服、披麻戴孝、戴头饰或徽章。可以穿全白、全黑,或白色上衣与黑色裤子,为了一致表达清净、庄重和尊敬。不必把往生者的衣服、鞋子和其它物品摆放在丧礼中,以免引起执着。况且,神识并无躯体,无法使用这些物品。

[26] Red String: There is no need for visitors of the funeral to collect and wear red strings, believed by some to be able to protect against unseen beings who might follow them home. As such strings are usually not consecrated, they offer no protection. As some might not understand this, some strings can be made available for them. Niànfó will be adequate for protection, for those who are fearful.

[26] 红线:常有访客相信在丧礼拿取而戴上的红线能预防孤魂跟着回家。其实,这些线一般未曾加持过,所以无保护作用。因为一些人可能不理解,可以提供一些给他们。害怕者应当念佛。这将得到充分的保护。

[27] Urn & Tablet: After cremation, there is no need for a lavish or traditional urn to store the remains, especially if it is going to be dropped into the sea. An urn (or a simple container) as biodegradable and environmentally friendly as possible should be used.

[27] 骨灰瓮与牌位:火葬后,没有必要用奢华或传统式的瓮存储骨灰。尤其如果即将海葬,应当使用生物可分解的环保瓮(或简单的容器)。

If the remains are to be scattered in the sea or on land, the urn need not be disposed. The name of the deceased can be written on it to serve as an ‘ancestral tablet’ at the home shrine to remind family members to continually Niànfó to help the deceased. (The Rebirth Blanket can be washed, reused and kept at the home shrine for the same purpose.)


A simple card with the name and/or a picture of the deceased can serve the same function as a ‘tablet’. Otherwise, a traditional tablet can be signed up for in an authentic Buddhist temple that has regular ‘live’ Niànfó. However, personal chanting by close family members and friends at home can be just as, if not more powerful, due to strong karmic affinities and concern. There can be a tablet at home and another in a temple too.


If the deceased did not like sea burial, and preferred the urn to be kept in a certain place, for peace of mind, it should be kept there (e.g. in a temple’s columbarium or at home). However, upon storing the urn, there should be reminder to the deceased, who might still be around, to not be attached to the urn or its location. As there will be rebirth eventually and possibly suddenly due to the law of karma, he or she should continue to Niànfó sincerely, to be reborn in Pure Land swiftly.


[28] Seven Sevens: Every seven days after death, on the 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th, 35th, 42nd and 49th days, make more offerings to Āmítuófó and the Triple Gem (Buddhas, Dharma and Saṅgha) and practise more Niànfó following chanting of the Amitābha Sūtra to offer guidance and merits – as these are days when the deceased’s consciousness is more likely to take rebirth, if not yet reborn.

[28] 七七:在往生后的每七日,如头七、二七(十四)、三七 (二十一)、四七 (二十八)、五七 (三十五)、六七 (四十二)和七七 (四十九)日,向阿弥陀佛和(佛法僧)三宝做更多的供养,并且在念诵《阿弥陀经》后,多念佛,为提供引导力和功德力。如果往生者还没转世,这些是他/她比较可能转世的日子。

[29] Seventh Day: Do not request or anticipate the deceased to return on the seventh, or any other day or night. Instead, there should be as much Niànfó as possible to encourage the deceased, if still around, to also Niànfó sincerely, to be reborn in Pure Land swiftly.

[29] 头七:不应该请求或期望盼往生者,在第七夜,或任何其它日子返回家中。相反的,应该尽力多以念佛,鼓励可能还在的往生者,也真诚念佛,迅速往生净土。

[30] Continual Broadcast & Chanting: Keep the name of Āmítuófó playing non-stop in day and night at the home of the deceased, using any device (e.g. Niànfó devices, CDs, MP3 players, phones, tablets, computers) for at least 49 days. This is to remind and encourage everyone at home to practise Niànfó to create merits for the deceased.

[30] 不间断播放佛号与念佛:可以使用任何仪器(如念佛机、光盘、MP3播放机、手机、平板电脑、电脑等),昼夜不间断地在往生者的家里,播放阿弥陀佛的名号,长达至少49天。这是为了提醒和鼓励家中成员为往生者多念佛,多造功德。

As the deceased’s consciousness might still be around, it is important that there is regular ‘live’ chanting to sincerely guide him or her to also Niànfó sincerely, to be reborn in Pure Land swiftly.


[31] Dharma Ceremonies: Dharma ceremonies (法会) for offering guidance and sharing of merits at authentic Buddhist temples and centres should be sincerely participated in as much as possible. If not, the name of the deceased should at least be signed up for dedication of merits.

[31] 法会:应当尽力,以真诚心,参加正信佛寺或佛教中心的法会,为提供更多引导力和功德力。如果不能参加,能至少替往生者写牌位,为回向功德。

Many Pure Land retreats have this function too, which are also best personally participated in to create more merits for dedication.


© Shen Shi’an (Recirculation with permission via

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