Buddhists believe death is part of the cycle known as saṃsāra, in which a Buddhist’s actions in life and all previous incarnations of life will affect future incarnations. Although there are many forms of Buddhism, the belief that reincarnation of the soul occurs after death underpins most Buddhist funeral customs. 

By freeing themselves from all desires and notions, Buddhists believe they will leave the cycle and reach the state of nirvana (Heaven). 

A Buddhist funeral ceremony can be quite diverse. It is typically held at a Buddhist monastery, though some families prefer to do it in their own home. Most practising Buddhists are part of a community who will be able to provide a teacher to lead the service, including Buddhist funeral readings that are appropriate for the tradition of the deceased (for example, Theravada, Tibetan or Zen).

During the service, monks and other members of the Buddhist community are invited to read sermons or eulogies. According to Buddhist funeral customs, chanting may be led by monks and guests can either join in or sit silently. At this time, mourners and monks may also sing Buddhist funeral prayers which are also known as sutras. These Buddhist funeral prayers are detailed canonical scriptures that often include repetition.