Sky Burial: Tibet’s Ancient Tradition for Honoring the Dead

A sky burial is the act of leaving a corpse, cut into precise pieces by a Burial Master, exposed to the elements of nature. This Master would also be in charge of smashing and grinding the bones of the deceased body, and then leaving the prepared corpse out in their selected open site. This was a way of offering a final honorable service to their material body; sending it back to the earth, and serving as an offering of a meal to the vultures. The Tibetans believe that there is a great honor in knowing that the body will go back to nature, and nourish the bearded vultures or ‘Dakinis’ (meaning ‘sky dancers’) which is the Tibetan equivalent of angels.

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