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Buddhist and there practices


Specializes in CCU, med/surg (cardiac/tel). Has 13 years experience.

I was caring for a pt that was a buddhist and he passed away. I have never experienced nor learned about all of the different rituals and requirements they need to have met. For instance we were kind of in a bed crunch and the pt had passed and 3hrs before and they stated they needed to not move him for 8hrs and finally settled on 4 after discussing it with the priest/monks that had come up to pray with them. They daughter stated that if we moved the body to soon the pt soul could be lost and confused. Well I can't argue about that. We were not trying to rush them, but did know what was required. Also they wanted everything quiet, no one was supposed to cry. I don't know. I try and not offend people especially in such a delicate state of just loosing a loved on, but I felt so inept to take care of their needs, because I did not understand what they needed. Is there anyone out there that can explain what is needed/expected after a buddhist pt passes. I would be devistated if I caused someone's loved on to loose their soul or not be able to find his/her way. If anyone could help me I would be very grateful.


Has 6 years experience.

It's great that you're sensitive to these concerns. Unfortunately, I don't know the answer to your questions. If your hospital has a buddhist minister on their chaplaincy service, maybe he/she could provide some answers.

I'm Buddhist and I didn't really learn about any of our practices until I lost someone recently. We didn't know anything at the time to get a monk to pray/chant but after our loss, religion has really helped us cope. It's important not to touch the body for the first few hours because Buddhists believe that the spirit still lingers for a few hours after passing and the spirit can either be affected by what happens to the body (adversely in terms of reincarnating) or can still feel things that happen to the body. Buddhists want the monk's chanting to be the last thing they hear so that it will direct them to follow Buddha and not become lost. I also did a cultural project for my OB class recently and this link helped me with some of my research: http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma5/viewdeath.html

As for being quiet and not crying...I was told to try and not cry so that I don't hold him back from leaving and following Buddha or to go where he needed to go. I learned after the fact that we can't cry on his face because our tears would hold him back. This was learned after the fact. I just remembered that they kept telling me to try and not cry at the funeral and if I did, I have to make sure not to drop any tears on the body.

I don't know the answer to your questions but buddhist belive in reincarnation, (as do I) so maybe the reason they didn't want anyone to cry is because there loved one has been reincarnated into a diffrent life, long medatation's after the passing wouldn't be to umcommon neather, I think it is important to respect everyones beliefs even if you dont belive in them your self. That is great that you ask such questions it shows that you are a very great nurse. :)


Specializes in CCU, med/surg (cardiac/tel). Has 13 years experience.

Thank you so much for explaining. No one that I talked knew what was needed and the chaplin that showed up at the code just stated that he didn't think he was wanted and was going to leave. He stated he didn't know what he needed to do to help except to respect what he thought their wishes were and to back off. That is all fine and dandy for him but I have of course bounded with the family and did not want to upset them by doing something they would consider disrespectful. I appreciate you responding so quickly. I will share the infromation with my co-workers that way next time we will be more prepared.


Specializes in mental health. Has 3 years experience.

I wonder if there are differences between different communities of Buddhists, such as between Sri Lankan Buddhists and Cambodian Buddhists. Because local customs and beliefs vary so much. For instance the customs of Norwegian Christians and Peruvian Christians would be very different. And as a Hindu I know that customs and beliefs among Hindus vary from place to place even within the same country - India. So I don't think there's any way you can know everything about any one religion. If you have a local community you can try and learn about them - that's the best you can hope for.

This is very interesting information. It is important to accomodate peoples beliefs and this made me think it might be good to have a section on different religious practices and beliefs on allnurse so we can have some knowledge & understanding on certain practices all gathered in one place.

In an accute care setting tying up a bed for 4 hours could on occasion be a problem. It might end up with another patient lying in a hall somewhere and suffering for lack of care. How is that for a problem?


Specializes in Family Practice, Urgent Care, Cardiac Ca. Has 3 years experience.

I am a Buddhist!

There are HUNDREDS of different schools of Buddhism, so each may differ in their approach to death. Buddhism is NOT the worship of the historical Buddha, the word literally means "awake one," so he was an example for each of us to awaken to compassion, kindness, and enlightenment. For almost all Buddhists, the moment of death is the most important time to test one's practice of fearlessness, compassion, and courage. Mnay Buddhist believe (especially in the Tibetan traditions...), that the spirit does not leave the body for several hours after death, and much ritual surrounds reminding that person to leave gracefully without fear, as they transition into either their next birth or enlightenment.

I am honored that you asked, are committed to culturally competent care, and hope this helps!


It would be great to take a cultural anthropology course or something similar. I know that most Jews and Muslims do not believe in autopsies and usually have a prayer. It's great that u are sensitive to their needs.


Specializes in Psychiatric, MICA. Has 4 years experience.

I wonder if there are differences between different communities of Buddhists, such as between Sri Lankan Buddhists and Cambodian Buddhists.

Yes. Reincarnation and many other beliefs have filtering into various Buddhist traditions on top of the core teachings of Buddha, which center entirely around this life and how it is lived: he advised not wasting time on speculations about the afterlife. Regarding how to die, though, I believe he advised that every event in life be experienced mindfully and with aware serenity or detachment. It would be advantageous for you to explore the Buddhist tradition involved and depend upon its community for answers.

BuddhaNet - Worldwide Buddhist Information and Education Network

Death and Dying in the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition

Death and Dying

Buddhist View on Death and Rebirth

A Buddhist Guide to Death, Dying and Suffering.

Buddhism and Death



Has 14 years experience.

What a nice thread. Thank you.