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This article is from a sharing by Dr. Wong Yin Onn to his Buddhist friends.
The early Buddhists followed the Indian custom of cremation. The Buddha’s body was cremated and this set the example for many Buddhists.
When someone is dying in a Buddhist home, monks and laypeople come to comfort them by chanting verses for them, and sharing the Dhamma. It is hoped that if the last thoughts of the patient are directed to Buddha and the Dhamma, taking refuge in the Triple Gems and Precepts, and recalling a virtuous life keeping the precepts, then the fruit of this meritorious act will bring good to the deceased in his/her new existence. The dying person must be put at ease from pain, and given a serene and familiar place to have a composed and calm mind. He and the family must be reassured that the wholesome acts done in the past will assure a good rebirth. He/she and the family must be counseled that Death is a natural process and merely a door to a new existence. Birth and Death are but 2 sides of a coin.