3.8
September 28, 2012

Wow: the Most Responsible Burial on Earth. {Extremely NSFW}

Way to Go: the Sky, your Cemetery.

Wow, wow, wowowowowo: it’s Tibetan Sky Burial. Talk about powerful.

Via Reddit/Imgur: “Tibetan sky burial. the first time i saw this was in kundun, and i’ve always thought it was beautiful. (x-post r/wtf, for some reason)

For more green burial.

A comment, via Reddit:

I’m glad that other people feel this way. 🙂 It’s in /r/wtf because Western societies have developed a whole system around condensing and compartmentalizing death. You’re not supposed to see the body in a natural state. Someone takes it away, prepares it to mock life, and then it goes through different rituals before it’s either burned or buried. There’s an illusion present there that death is somehow cleaner that way. People would probably be just as wtf if they were more aware of what’s actually involved in Western cremation embalming and cremation.

With the sky burial, the participants are very up close with the body – cutting it to prepare it for consumption and then grinding the bones for further consumption. Even just the idea of an animal eating the body is too disturbing for some. Personally, as someone who’s seen a lot of dead things, I’d take an animal over bugs and chemicals. That’s just me. 🙂

There are a lot of practicalities to Tibetan burial practices. The environment is cold and the earth hard, making decomposition a very slow process and burial impractical. Sky burials also aren’t the only form of burial: http://www.tripbus.com/TibetIntroduction/9444029.html

Finding a Western equivalent might be difficult, but I actually know an avenue. If you want to donate your body to science and be consumed by animals, Texas State University has vultures at their forensic anthropology center: http://www.txstate.edu/anthropology/facts/donations.html

I personally observed American Black vultures consume donated individuals as part of the decomposition process while researching there (with the permission of the donors and/or their families of course). If you do donate, be very specific that you want your body to be used for animal research, as the norm is to cage the bodies so that animals do not have access. It may not be as spiritual as the burial pictured, but it does contribute towards education. After decomposition, bones are interred into the university skeletal collection, contributing to data collection for scientific studies and teaching students about human anatomy in perpetuity.

Read 33 Comments and Reply
X

Read 33 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Waylon Lewis  |  Contribution: 759,735