Which is adequate, Goreizen(御霊前) or Gobutsuzen(御仏前)? A manner at a funeral.
Today I'm attending my grandfather's 33rd memorial service. So I asked my mother about condolence money. She told me to write "Gobutuzen(lit. means, in front of honorable Buddha)" on the front of the envelope and bring it with me. After that, she called and told me that an old acquaintance of our family passed away and I should attend his either wake, or otsuya/お通夜 funeral or kokubetsushiki/告別式(saying good-bye) funeral. I couldn't attend the former so I'm attending the latter one. Usually, when someone dies, on the same day or following day, otsuya funeral is held and on the following day, one's kokubetsushiki funeral is held. For both otsuya or kokubetsushiki funerals, you are supposed to bring condolence money and you should use envelopes written "Goreizen(lit. means in front of horable spirit, or ghost)" on those front. Please refer to the photo above. The left is written gobutsuzen and the right is goreizen. An old form is used for the character "仏" that you see on the left envelope, the second character. You are supposed to write your name under the printed letters.
I wondered how they differed from each other and reseached it on the Internet. According to the many resources, in most of Buddhist schools, they believe that the spirits of departed will be wondering around for 49 days until they can reach to their Buddhahood. So while they are spirits, the offering are called Goreizen, or in front of spirits and on the 49th day after they died, they are believed to be Buddhas, so the offering money and things are called Gobutsuzen, or in front of Buddha.
By the way, my Kojien dictionary says that the departed people's spirits wonder for 49 days and in that time, what they did in their former life is judged and their next incarnation will be decided.
Akiko lives in a city next to Hakodate and loves to drive around Hakodate and surrounding area. I hope people who visit or live in the Southwest area of Hokkaido come to love the area, too. 函館の隣町在住で道南エリアのドライブ大好きAkikoです。道南を訪れたり、住んでいる人が土地を好きになってくれたらなぁ、と思います。