Is Inland (And Sea) Ash-Scattering Alright For All?

Question: What are considerations for inland scattering of ashes of the deceased, in a garden of sorts, with no name markers, and with flowers or other plants grown over the ashes?

Answer: There are four considerations to make.

[1] First, will the deceased like this? Even if the consciousness has left the remains, there might still be attachment to them, and thus aversion if displeased. (This is why cemeteries and columbariums tend to be haunted to some extent, by the deceased who wrongly assume they should reside there indefinitely.)

[2] Second, without name markers, the survivors might not have a specific place to make offerings to the deceased, if the deceased is indeed attached to his or her remains. (Religious rituals might not be permitted in such gardens too. Even clear instructions to not be attached to the remains might not be able to be offered properly there.)

[3] Third, if there will be new ashes mixed later due to lack of space, the second consideration will be multiplied in complication.

[4] Fourth, if there will be stepping over the land to tend to it, and if the deceased is attached to his or her remains, and since there are no name markers, there might be aversion arising from seeing this as disrespectful.

In summary, inland (and sea) ash-scattering are alright ONLY if certain that the deceased will not be attached to his or her remains. This can be ensured by having clear discussions when alive, to ensure there will not only be NO attachment to the remains, but that there ARE clear instructions on how to swiftly reach Pure Land. (Blessed Sand Of Golden Bright Light [金光明沙] should be placed with the body before burial, and with the ashes before scattering.)

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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