Garry Shandling Buddhist Honors In Death

3/31/2016 1:00 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Garry Shandling will achieve monk status in an elaborate Buddhist funeral the comedian planned before his death.

He was never very vocal about it, but Garry was a devout Buddhist and sources close to him tell us he secretly made arrangements -- with the help of a longtime employee -- to honor his spirituality with a very specific ceremony. 

We're told the decedent is dressed in casual clothes and gets ordained as a monk by having his head symbolically shaved by another monk. He's then laid to rest with a card detailing the "Five Precepts of Buddha." Finally, a monk leads a chant while the congregation lights incense to help guide the spirit to the next life. 

It's unclear if Garry will be buried or cremated -- both are acceptable in Buddhism. 

We're told -- true to Shandling's Jewish roots -- food will be served afterward while close friends begin a period of mourning ... which lasts 49 days for Buddhists. 

We're told the small, private ceremony will go down next month.