In an interview with a funeral parlour’s CEO, he said, ‘we learn about the life that the departed had. For instance, if a grandma has passed on, I will always ask questions like, “If you think about your grandmother, what do you remember?” They might say, “Oh, my grandma is a good cook, and she always liked to cook curry chicken.”
And this, we will note and we will make sure that one of the dishes catered in the next few days will be curry chicken. This will help to invoke memories. Beautiful memories between the next generation and the departed.’
Question: Is the above a good practice?
Answer: It is not a good idea to do anything that might make the survivors and/or the deceased (if still around as the consciousness) be more attached to one another. This is so as the consciousness can read the minds of the survivors. If knowing they are very attached to her, she might not be willing to practise Nianfo sincerely (with the right Faith and Aspiration) to reach Pure Land.
It is also important to note that a Buddhist funeral is not really meant for commemorating or celebrating the deceased’s life, with her favourite foods and such, but for guiding the deceased to reach Pure Land with guidance and Nianfo. Sight and smell of the deceased’s favourite food can make her unwilling to Nianfo too. Likewise, the food can stir up the survivors’ attachment to her, that distracts them from doing the fruitful.
What more, in this case, the food is a meat dish to be cooked in large quantities for many family members and friends, which creates negative karma in the name of the deceased – due to being linked to the supply and demand of chickens to be killed for their meat. There should only be vegan food offered to all at the funeral for every meal, which creates positive karma instead.