Sky Burial

Not available in the UK, and probably not likely in the near future either, Sky burial is mentioned here out of interest as much as anything. It is a “burial” practice that has historically been carried out around the world in one form or another for centuaries, but when referred to these days, is usually in association with Tibet.

The majority of Tibetans adhere to Buddhism, which teaches reincarnation, hence there is no need to preserve the body, as the body is only a vessel. With a Sky Burial, once a person dies that “empty vessel” is taken to a mountain top, respectfully cut into small pieces (often by monks) and fed to birds of prey. In Tibetan, the practice is known as “jhator”, that literally means, “giving alms to the birds.” As much of the ground in Tibet is too hard and rocky to dig a grave, and with fuel and timber scarce for funeral pyres, a sky burial is often the most practical solution, and although it may be judged as gruesome by some, it is actually a highly ecological method of disposing of the dead.