Another Look What “Death” Is: Photos of ‘Sky Burials’ in Tibet

OK, this is some pretty rough stuff. But it really made me think about about how we deal with our deceased in Western countries. I suppose in some ways it’s appropriate for Earth Day. Or Halloween. Take your pick.

NOT FOR SENSITIVE SOULS!

Sky Burial

Click through to mbvtravel to see the full set of photos. You have been warned.

23 Comments on "Another Look What “Death” Is: Photos of ‘Sky Burials’ in Tibet"

  1. Holy Jeebus, that was powerful.

  2. dumbsaint | Apr 22, 2010 at 7:06 pm |

    Makes a lot of sense. We're all worm food anyway.

  3. GoodDoktorBad | Apr 22, 2010 at 7:07 pm |

    Macabre images. But the guy is dead already. Eaten by birds or lying in a coffin. Still dead.

    Not sure why they need to splay open the body like that, I'm sure the birds don't need the carcass pre-prepared. I guess that's part of the “ritual”. Alive one day, bird food the next….the cycle of life and death continues. Wheeeeeee!

  4. This is definitely the way I want my remains to be disposed of.

  5. Now thats a funeral I can afford.

  6. oh d-d-dear…

    more graphic than I had predicted.

  7. Makes me feel mortal.

  8. I like it. “Sky burial” but it's not a burial. Really does show the illusory sense of self that we attach to the body. Once the body no longer lives, better to put it back into the system like this than to bury it or even burn it so you can go visit the grave or keep an urn. The body is not the person.

    Feed the birds…tuppence tuppence…feed the birds…tuppence a corpse…

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  10. perzephone | Apr 23, 2010 at 12:25 am |

    Buzzards & vultures have relatively soft beaks, so they need a predator (or in this case, some assistance) to tear open carcasses for them.

  11. GoodDoktorBad | Apr 23, 2010 at 12:33 am |

    That explaines it, Thanks…

  12. perzephone | Apr 23, 2010 at 1:11 am |

    Anytime 🙂

  13. scarsdontbleed | Apr 23, 2010 at 8:15 am |

    It was funny how that guy was wearing a plastic smock so his clothes didn't get messy…. but gloves? Who needs 'em! haha One time, I told my family I wanted to be eaten by sharks. They looked at me like I was crazy. I thought it was creative. 🙂

  14. justagirl | Apr 23, 2010 at 8:48 am |

    i am guessing he is not a loved one of the deceased… what is he doing with the remains? i like the shark idea. i don't want to rot in a coffin either. i like donnie's ceremony in the big lebowski.

  15. airborne11 | Apr 23, 2010 at 1:20 pm |

    There is an air burial in Cerements, which was a short story in World's End, the 8th volume of The Sandman…that was the first I had ever heard of them. I will refrain from looking at the pics but I respect the practice and can see how it does have some practical applications.

  16. raniahussein | Apr 24, 2010 at 5:24 am |

    That was mortal but powerful

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  17. Speaking as a Buddhist, this is considered to be the final act of charity you can engage in, essentially giving of your now unneeded body to nourish other living beings.

    And especially in the harsh environment of Tibet where food is scarce, this is a profound act of generosity.

    Generally as a culture, Tibetans have a different relationship with death than we do anyways. It is not something hidden away underground. It is recognize that from the moment you’re born, you’re in the process of dying. All things that have a beginning, have an end, and its important to look at this unflinchingly if we are to attain enlightenment, simply because it is reality.

  18. Speaking as a Buddhist, this is considered to be the final act of charity you can engage in, essentially giving of your now unneeded body to nourish other living beings.

    And especially in the harsh environment of Tibet where food is scarce, this is a profound act of generosity.

    Generally as a culture, Tibetans have a different relationship with death than we do anyways. It is not something hidden away underground. It is recognize that from the moment you're born, you're in the process of dying. All things that have a beginning, have an end, and its important to look at this unflinchingly if we are to attain enlightenment, simply because it is reality.

  19. Speaking as a Buddhist, this is considered to be the final act of charity you can engage in, essentially giving of your now unneeded body to nourish other living beings.

    And especially in the harsh environment of Tibet where food is scarce, this is a profound act of generosity.

    Generally as a culture, Tibetans have a different relationship with death than we do anyways. It is not something hidden away underground. It is recognize that from the moment you're born, you're in the process of dying. All things that have a beginning, have an end, and its important to look at this unflinchingly if we are to attain enlightenment, simply because it is reality.

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