Monday, August 5, 2013

Tibetan Sky Burial

Tibetan sky burial is a practice whereby the dead are left on a mountaintop for their body to be consumed by wild animals, especially predatory birds like vultures. 

The body is cut open in various places to aid consumption and as you can see from the images here, funeral attendants – either monks or bodybreakers named rogyapas return to cut up and crush the body parts further in the course of the ceremony. 

The ceremony dates back to the 12th century and is practical in the Himalayas where fuel is scarce and the soil is only centimetres deep. This makes both burial and cremation less feasible. Buddhist principles hold that life is impermanent, and that once the spirit has departed the body, the corpse holds no special significance.

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