Ashes to ashes — David Bowie’s Buddhist death ceremony

In the time since the passing of the great David Bowie, we’ve seen the influence of Buddhism in his life and work, and shared words of appreciation from Bowie’s friend and onetime Buddhist teacher. Now, the Associated Press reports, the influence of Buddhism was seen one last time, in the musician and artist’s death ceremony. According…

Rod Meade Sperry
30 January 2016
Photo via Creative Commons, by iluvrhinestones

In the time since the passing of the great David Bowie, we’ve seen the influence of Buddhism in his life and work, and shared words of appreciation from Bowie’s friend and onetime Buddhist teacher. Now, the Associated Press reports, the influence of Buddhism was seen one last time, in the musician and artist’s death ceremony.

According to Bowie’s will, he’d wanted his body cremated and for his ashes to be released “in accordance with the Buddhist rituals.” Indeed, The Guardian reports that, in lieu of a funeral, “his close family scattered his ashes following a Buddhist ceremony” in Bali, as his will had indicated.

Bowie, as it is now well known, understood that he was in his last days, as the stunning video for “Lazarus,” from his majestic Blackstar LP, released almost simultaneously with his passing, seems to telegraph to us directly.

Rod Meade Sperry. Photo by Megumi Yoshida, 2024

Rod Meade Sperry

Rod Meade Sperry is the editor of Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Guide (published by Lion’s Roar), and the book A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation: Practical Advice and Inspiration from Contemporary Buddhist Teachers. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with his partner and their tiny pup, Sid.