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From: Jesse

I know this might seem a little out of point but i need to know if there are any Buddhist customs, teachings and precepts that prevent someone from visiting another person's house within 100 days of a funeral?

I've heard that if someone's family had just only had a funeral, the person cannot step inside another person's (anyone thats not related by blood) house as it will bring serious "bad luck" or karmic ripening. A 100 days will have to pass before the individual can visit other houses. Is this true?

Thank you very much for helping me.




The 100 days mourning is a cultural tradition common with the Chinese. One important function of such customs is to allow the bereaved individuals to get used to the idea of having lost a person who was once a part of their life. This is the world's way of resolving the universal problem of impermanence.

Various rules govern mourning so that it will work in "rehabilitating" the bereaved individuals to function again as normal human beings and as useful members of society.

My guess regarding the 100 days has to do with the Chinese idea of a "wandering soul", who would finally depart (happily or unhappily) to their own realm. This idea may or may not be based on the Mahayana/Vajrayana teaching of the 7 weeks of the dying whose consciousness would seek a new rebirth (or be released if he is skilled in meditation),

Regarding visits to bereaved families being taboo, this could have been the case in older times. The sociological reason could be that the family needs to reconsolidate itself in various ways (emotions, economic, etc.). The presence of "outsiders" may not be conducive. Furthermore, outsiders often do not feel comfortable to visit such families (at least in the traditional Chinese situation). This understandably applies well in the case of large extended families, common in traditional Chinese society.

However, society has changed very much now. Families tend to be smaller, even nuclear. So a bereaved family needs all the support it can get from family, friends and others. So there is no place for superstition here.

Superstition is belief that something would bring good luck or bad luck. In Buddhism, all things are "mind-made". We make it bad luck by our greed, hate and ignorance; we make it good by our generosity, compassion and wisdom. The choice is left to the individual.

Date: 2001-10-05

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