For Buddhists and Taoists, the cremation or burial of a departed loved one is not necessarily the end of the death ritual. Many will engage in prayer and offering ceremonies over a period of 49 days following the passing of a kin. This 49-day long ritual is what we call an ling (安灵) and ji ling (寄灵). Why do people observe the an ling and ji ling tradition and what’s needed when doing so? Read on for a quick understanding.
The purpose and significance of an ling and ji ling
You may already know that reincarnation or rebirth is a central concept in Buddhism and Taoism. To explain further, when a person passes on, they enter an intermediate state between their previous life and next life. The transition can last as long as 49 days, which is why family members continue with prayer rituals for that duration, so as to give the spirit of their loved one a place to rest while awaiting reincarnation.
In addition, the prayers are meant to guide the deceased in their journey towards a new life. This is also a way for bereaved descendants to show filial piety and respect for an elder who has passed. While an ling refers to the 49-day long offering carried out at home, ji ling takes place in a temple, monastery or columbarium.
The steps involved in an ling and ji ling
To observe an ling at home, you’ll need the following:
- The ancestral tablet
- A picture of your loved one
- A joss pot and joss sticks
- Drinks and food
- A table for all the above items
Food, drinks, and joss sticks must be offered daily throughout the 49 days. On top of that, prayers should be recited on the 7th, 21st, 35th, and 49th day. However for Taoists, the prayer dates may differ depending on the family’s dialect.
As for ji ling, since it’s conducted in a temple, monastery or columbarium of your choice, the monks, priests or caretakers will see to the offerings and chantings on your behalf.
How a funeral company can help with an ling and ji ling
Calculating all those prayer dates can sometimes be confusing. A funeral company like Direct Funeral Services can take the load off you and your family by providing the list of important dates, making sure that you won’t miss out on any of the prayer sessions. We also work with a team of experienced monks and priests, who are able to perform the prayers for your loved one.
If you wish to find out more about our an ling and ji ling services, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you with the information you need.