The Tibetan Sky Burial

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A ritual is a religious or solemn ceremony in which certain actions are performed according to a prescribed order; rituals are seen across all religions and cultures. Tibetan Buddhism, is a part of the practical philosophy of Buddhism, which was first taught by Prince Siddartha Guatama (The Buddha); The philosophy is over 2,500 years old and currently has 376 million adherents worldwide (BBC , 2014). A ritual that is evident in Tibetan Buddhist culture is the Sky Burial, which has been performed for centuries with the first rites being recorded in an indigenous Buddhist community in the 12th century. This ritual entails the deceased to be dismembered and fed to Sky Vultures (Danikis) in the rocky Tibetan Autonomous Region as the most common…show more content…
Debates as to whether the ritual should be performed due to ethics and the effect it has on the economic status of Tibet have altered the observance of the ritual. Despite the influence of modern culture and ethics affecting the observer’s significance of the Tibetan Buddhist Sky Burial, it is still performed regularly in modern society as it assists in the deceased accumulation of karmic merit and reaching Enlightenment.

The Tibetan Sky Burial begins immediately after the adherent has passed away; the body is placed in the foetal position amongst burning Juniper incense whilst a Lama (spiritual leader) chants necessary prayers from the Bardo Thodol (Tibetan Book of the Dead). The prayers are recited as a means of readying the soul for the next stage of Samsara. Samsara is a cycle of life, death and rebirth; the Buddha taught that an individual will live in this cycle until they are released into Nirvana (state of
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As a result of this strong connection to the beliefs evident in Tibetan Buddhism the ritual remains significant despite the adversities it has faced. The rising need for a strong economic status and ethical debates over the ritual has decreased the significance to the adherents; despite this the adherent is still connecting to the beliefs and teachings of the Buddha. This ritual provides the deceased with positive karmic merit as the burial rite is an ultimate act of compassion which assists them in becoming closer to being released from Samsara and reaching Nirvana. This is significant to the observer as it provides assurance and closure knowing that their loved one has ended their life with positive karma and will begin their next with that accumulation, being reborn closer to
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