Buddhist death rituals

People who were involved in this project

Principal investigator:

  • Professor Paul Williams


PhD students:

  • Ingmar Heise
School Humanities
Department Theology and Religious Studies
Dates 2007-2010
Website Buddhist Death Rituals
Funder AHRC Research project
Contact person Dr Rita Langer

More about this project

Buddhists have over the centuries developed rituals, grounded in Buddhist doctrine, to assist in the transition from one life to the next for the deceased, and at the same time to guide their families during a period of mourning. Indeed, for many in Asia, the most likely time of contact with Buddhist monks and nuns is upon the death of a loved one.

Our project combined textual analysis, history and fieldwork to examine Buddhist death rituals in South and Southeast Asia, and in China. The project funded one post-doctoral fellowship, a studentship for a PhD student, and funding for fieldwork for one member of the Bristol staff in Theology & Religious Studies. Members of our team organized exhibitions and produced a series of documentary films. An edited volume including scholarship both by members of the Bristol team and other scholars on Buddhist death ritual will appear (from Cambridge University Press) later this year.