Evidence of Increased Cremation in the Traditional Funeral and Post-Burial Rites in Taiwan

Introduction

Cremation has, and will continue to become increasingly accepted in the Chinese island of Taiwan due to land shortage as a result of population explosion and high costs. As it is not a traditional practice in Chinese culture, cremation is currently rationalized in the Hindu-Buddhist context by emphasizing the reclamation of bones for secondary burials.

Since many of the Chinese in Taiwan are Buddhists and/or have ancestors from south China where secondary burials are the custom, these common beliefs are “spun” to reconcile tradition with contemporary issues. In addition, Buddhism is a free religion and is not rigid on the issue of whether the deceased ought to be cremated or buried. Therefore, the focus of this research would be based on the examination of the cultural adaptation of mortuary customs in a bid to cater for economic and geographic pressures.

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Problem statement

Reduction of dead bodies to chemical components which are fundamental, and in the form of gases and bone fragments is what is referred to as cremation. In most cases, cremation is either a funeral or post-funeral ritual, which is a substitute to burial in a casket. Several countries usually cremate dead bodies in crematories or open-air. This is common in Nepal and India. This project will qualitatively explore evidence of increased use of cremation as a burial ritual in the Chinese island of Taiwan.

Objective statement

The main objective of the research project, as proposed in this proposal, will be investigating evidence of increased utilization in the traditional funeral and post-burial rites in the Chinese island of Taiwan.

Justification

Understanding the way of life of the Taiwanese people is critical when it comes to interacting with them. It is possible to understand the underlying principles that influence these people’s burial rites through understanding this cultural diversity. Investigation into evidence that gives us an idea about increased cremation in Taiwanese traditional funeral and post-burial rituals would go a long way in helping understand the people and their cultural practices.

Research Methodology

Methodology: Both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies would be employed in seeking to find the reasons that have contributed to having cremation as a burial rite and the impact that these rites have had on the general lifestyle of people of Taiwan.

Participants: Participants in this research project will be selected citizens of Chinese island of Taiwan. The selection criteria will not discriminate against those who strongly believe in burial rituals or those who do not. This group of individuals will be used as a representative sample of people in the whole island who participate in funereal and burial rites.

Research tools: In this study, surveys, structured interviews, participant observation and review of secondary sources of information will be utilized as primary research tools.

Data collection: The data required for effective analysis in this project will be collected by use of tape recorders, video recorders, filling in of questionnaires and note taking.

Data analysis: Data collected from this research project will be thoroughly analyzed by means of domain analysis, analytic induction, and logical matrix / analysis to ascertain particular determining points on the rationale behind the increase in cremation activities and the impacts that the activities have on the lifestyles of the people of Taiwan.

Data presentation: After analysis, the resulting information on this research project will be presented in the form of tables, graphs and charts, which will be accompanied by a comprehensive discussion of the findings.

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