Hi guest, Register | Login | Contact Us
Welcome to Phayul.com - Our News Your Views
Wed 20, Aug 2014 06:08 PM (IST)
Search:     powered by Google
 MENU
Home
News
Photo News
Opinions
Statements &
Press Releases

Book Reviews
Movie Reviews
Interviews
Travels
Health
Obituaries
News Discussions
News Archives
Download photos from Tibet
 Latest Stories
Derge police firing death toll at 5, Tibetan exiles demand treatment for the injured
Tibetan nurse allege gangrape at Oberoi Hotel in Delhi by owner's staff
TIPA selects new artistes after 5 years
Tibetan succumbs to gunshot wounds while another kills self
TCCR “Trainers Training Programme” underway
Tibetan PM attends Tibetan sweater sellers and suppliers' meet - Ludhiana
Tibetan exiles celebrate 68th Independence Day of India
Tibetan right group condemns Derge firing
Sarah college celebrates 16th anniversary, introduces Masters Degree
10 injured as Chinese police open fire on Tibetans in Derge
 Latest Photo News
Rescue workers gather around a mangled remains of a bus that plunged down a deep gorge on a mountain pass near Machu County. The bus was plying from Machu County to Tsoe town.  8 people have died, and 20 others were injured. Aug. 7, 2014/Tibet Times
Monks repairing road leading towards Tsuglakhang before the arrival of the Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama from New Delhi. Incessant rain has caused the roads to wear out leaving huge potholes often leading to accidents. July 21, 2014/Phayul Photo/Kunsang Gashon
7 Petitioners lie on the pavement outside offices of China Youth Daily, after they drank pesticides to commit suicide. 12 people are being treated in hospitals after two separate incidents of mass suicide bids to publicize forced acquisition of land by government/16-7-2014, Telegraph
more photos »
Advertisement
Sky Burials Of Tibet
Lonely Planet[Tuesday, October 21, 2003 10:30]
In the very early history of Tibet the dead may have been buried in the ground, but with soil at a premium and firewood equally scarce, Tibetans have spent the last few centuries coming up with alternative ways to get rid of remains. Cremation was an honour reserved only for lamas and senior monks; in the past, commoners were usually tossed in the river.

Since the introduction of Buddhism to the region in the 800s, however, sky burials have become the most common way to dispose of the dead. They're also among the most intriguing social practices to emerge from a culture that still remains full of mystery to most outsiders.

When a Tibetan dies, the corpse is kept for 24 hours in a sitting position while a lama recites prayers from the Tibetan Book of the Dead. These prayers speed the soul through the 49 levels of Bardo - the state between death and rebirth. Three days after death the body is blessed, folded and carried on the back of a close friend to the drto, or burial site.

The charnel ground is usually a large fenced meadow where prayer flags hang and the scent of smoldering juniper purifies the air. Here, special body breakers known as rogyapas cut off the deceased's hair, chop up the body with knives and hatchets and pound the bones, mixing them with flour. Vultures - previously kept at bay by men waving sticks - then complete the job of disposal, often helped by wild dogs.

Although the rogyapas have a special place in Tibetan society, their work is not hampered by ceremony or squeamishness. Their job is a matter-of-fact one, and they will talk and laugh as they tend to their necessary task.

Despite their apparent brutality, sky burials are not a time for sadness or mourning. The soul is considered to have already left the body: the time is used by friends and family for reflection on the impermanence of life. Tibetans are encouraged to witness these rituals and to confront death openly. It might not be to everyone's tastes, but Tibetans could never be accused of denying death. This open mindset carries over into everyday life, where objects as common as trumpets and bowls are often made from human bone.

Although much is known about the process of sky burial, very few travellers have witnessed the ceremony first hand. It's easy to see why foreigners might be interested in seeing a sky burial themselves, however it is a private ritual, and a stranger's presence demeans the burial. Even foreigners who have been invited to a sky burial have been chased away before the rogyapas set to work. If you get too close, expect to have stones - and even corpse knives - thrown at you by Tibetans, or - only slightly less unpleasant - you might be arrested by the Chinese authorities, interrogated, fined and forced to sign an 'admission of guilt'.

destination
Tibet
where
Throughout Tibet; wherever there's a death and an elevated burial site
how
Fly to Gonggar, near Lhasa, from Beijing or Kathmandu, or drive the Friendship Highway from Nepal
tip
Ask questions, but don't try to crash the party - you weren't invited so don't go
link
For a run-down on Buddhism and all things Tibetan, have a squiz at Tibet Online
Print Send Bookmark and Share
  Readers' Comments »
*u suck!!! (*Brent)
Your Comments

 More..
Seven days in Tibet: China's giant footprint looms large on Tibet, Canadians discover
Tibet, India
Lhasa LAYER BY LAYER
Tibetan capital tells a tale of two cities
Dharmashala: Eclectic Encounters With Friendly People
Mountains and monasteries of India's 'Little Tibet' attract trekkers and seekers
Land of many names
Spiritual land
Seven days in Tibet
Karaoke and karma
Advertisement
Advertisement
Photo Galleries
Advertisement
Phayul.com does not endorse the advertisements placed on the site. It does not have any control over the google ads. Please send the URL of the ads if found objectionable to editor@phayul.com
Copyright © 2004-2014 Phayul.com   feedback | advertise | contact us
Powered by Lateng Online
Advertisement