A posthumous Buddhist name is written on a memorial tablet with which to worship the spirit of an ancestor.

The memorial tablet, in which the spirit of the dead inhabits, can be, in a sense, the dead himself. With a memorial tablet set up in an altar, the family is always watched by the ancestor. It is recommended that we pray for the dead and hold a service in order to requite the favor.

A memorial tablet set up in the altar is called Uchiihai (Inside Tablet). Soon after a person has died, we make one made of plain wood, and by the end of Chuin of the forty-nine days after death (a period when the soul wanders between this world and the next) we make a japanned (lacquered) one. We have, then, a consecrating ceremony held by the temple and deify it in the altar.

Noihai (Field Tablet), simply made of plain wood, is made after the death, enshrined in the altar in the funeral. The chief mourner brings it to the grave yard. Teraihai (Temple Tablet) is the one especially made for part of the dead's ashes put in the ossuary of the temple. The temple takes care of the tablet, and holds a memorial service for it.

As to the tablet to be put in branch families, it is often said that "having more than one tablet of the same person leads to unhappiness", but it is only a superstition. It is very considerate of the children of branch families to deify and hold a service for the tablet of their ancestor; it is, rather, recommended.

<In the case of Jodo Shin sect, tablets are not deified>


Chikura-type tablet

Balustrade-type table

From left side
Kyochudai , Jo Kyochudai , Lotus-Kasuga-type tablet , Lotus-Kasuga-type tablet , Katsumi-type tablet

Kaidashi tablet

According to the teachings of Jodo Shin sect, the dead will return to and be reborn in the Pure Land thanks to the deed of Amida Buddha (Amitabha). It is for this reason that the Buddhist tablets are not used and instead, the Buddhist posthumous names are written in the necrology (death register roll), which is then enshrined in the altar. For the sake of courteousness, you can make a hanging scroll on which the posthumous name of the dead is written, and hang it on the sideboard of the altar.