Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sky Burial Remnants

In a Tibetan sky burial, corpses are dissected and fed to birds of prey. Called jhator — this is considered an act of generosity: the deceased and his/her surviving relatives are providing food to sustain living beings. When a Tibetan dies, the corpse is kept for 24 hours in a sitting position while prayers are recited from the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Three days after death, the body is blessed, folded and carried  to the drto, or burial site. 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 descend om the remains.

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