Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"Tibetan Sky Burial" If you are grossed out by dead people don't go any further

OK so this is really icky but it is interesting to see how some cultures don't have the same reverence for the dead body that some of us do. I suppose ultimately it is a green way of doing things the ultimate in recycling!

Sky burial or ritual dissection was once a common funerary practice in Tibet wherein a human corpse is cut in specific locations and placed on a mountaintop, exposing it to the elements or the mahabhuta and animals – especially to birds of prey.  To Tibetans, many of whom adhere to Buddhism, their belief is in the rebirth of  soul.  Therefore to them, there is no need to preserve the body, as it is now an empty vessel.

Birds are encouraged to eat it, or nature may let it decompose. So the function of the sky burial is simply the disposal of the remains.  The preparation of  the body for this ritual is fairly simple and yet, rather gruesome: the flesh is stripped from the body with the bones being  broken up with sledgehammers and then fed to vultures.

While Communist China outlawed this practice in the 1960s, it was legalized again in the 1980s and is still being practiced today.

Bones being broken up with a hammer