I was also looking for some structure which would not be completely unfamiliar to the attendees, but which would be true to my beliefs. It's not going to matter to the deceased whatever happens but ritual is a useful mechanism to help the mourners cope.
Whatever...this is what I came up with as a possible structure for such a service. It's envisaged that one or more people would handle the officiating (speaker) role and my personal request would be that all attendees wear brightly coloured clothing - just to brighten things up!
Any opinions and/or suggestions gratefully received.
Philosophical Taoist Funeral Ceremony
Welcome & thank you for coming to this ceremony to mark the passing of ..insert-deceased's-name..
The Tao is difficult to explain but amongst other things it is conceived as the fundamental non-sentient, impersonal basis of reality. The Tao can be seen behind the natural processes and balance of the Universe and all things in the Universe, while seeming separate and distinct, are actually just aspects of the Tao.
Philosophical Taoists believe that Death is not a loss, but a transformation, and that what we knew as
<...insert short obituary for the deceased, hopefully with a story or two of happy experiences & giving personal idea of deceased's personality...>
Philosophical Taoists do not have Gods or prayers or hymns, but they do follow the teachings of Lao-tze's book called "The Tao Te Ching", which he wrote over 2500 years ago. The Tao Te ching is not a Holy Book like the Bible or Koran, but rather is a guidebook on how one can live in harmony with the universe. I'd like to read you just an excerpt, adapted from a translation by Jonathan Star...
Become totally empty
Quiet the restlessness of the mind
Only then will you see that all things emerge from emptiness
Only then will you see that all things flourish and dance in endless variation
Only then will you see that all things dissolve back into perfect emptiness
Emerging, Flourishing, Dissolving back again - This is the eternal process of Nature
With stillness is revealed eternity
With Eternity is revealed a vision of oneness
With a vision of oneness is revealed universal love
With Universal love is revealed the great truth of Nature
The great truth of Nature is the Tao
Whoever knows this truth lives forever
The body may perish and deeds may be forgotten but he who has the Tao has all eternity
Now can we all take a minute of silence to consider our own memories of
<...Play music/read etc... while coffin is buried or curtains close for cremation or coffin buried...>