Outside the walls they stand, & at crossroads. At door posts they stand, returning to their old homes. But when a meal with plentiful food & drink is served, no one remembers them: Such is the kamma of living beings. Thus those who feel sympathy for their dead relatives give timely donations of proper food & drink — exquisite, clean — [thinking:] "May this be for our relatives. May our relatives be happy!" And those who have gathered there, the assembled shades of the relatives, with appreciation give their blessing for the plentiful food & drink: "May our relatives live long because of whom we have gained [this gift]. We have been honored, and the donors are not without reward!" For there [in their realm] there's no farming, no herding of cattle, no commerce, no trading with money. They live on what is given here, hungry shades whose time here is done. As water raining on a hill flows down to the valley, even so does what is given here benefit the dead. As rivers full of water fill the ocean full, even so does what is given here benefit the dead. "He gave to me, she acted on my behalf, they were my relatives, companions, friends": Offerings should be given for the dead when one reflects thus on things done in the past. For no weeping, no sorrowing no other lamentation benefits the dead whose relatives persist in that way. But when this offering is given, well-placed in the Sangha, it works for their long-term benefit and they profit immediately. In this way the proper duty to relatives has been shown, great honor has been done to the dead, and monks have been given strength: The merit you've acquired isn't small.
Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu