Question: If the deceased is found in an unsightly position in an awkward place, is it alright to use the rebirth (Dharani) blanket (往生被/陀罗尼被) to cover, while others Nianfo?
Answer: Even though there is Nianfo, there is still chance that the deceased’s consciousness, if attached to the body, feels pain, as the deceased might not follow the Nianfo wholeheartedly straightaway. Thus, the blanket should be put on only if the victim did not die undressed, as the whole body will have magnified sensitivity of 9 times, which will feel extreme pain if touched. (The skin is the body’s largest organ, while the rebirth blanket is best used when already dying, not only after death.)
If beyond personal control, such as medical personnel having arrived to put an ordinary blanket, the rebirth blanket can be placed on it. If with clothes, the rebirth blanket can be placed lightly above them. Priority must be on comfort of the deceased; not the survivors. The head area should be covered lightly, only if the expression is too strong a distraction during support-chanting. Even if the whole body is not covered, it is alright as long as there is sincere and respectful offering of guidance and support-chanting. As the blanket is for protection, support-chanting will offer it too.