Lychee Travel Logo
  Tibetan Sky Burial, Tibetan Sky Funeral  
  About China | Chinese Currency | Chinese Visa | Transportation | Food and Drink | China Hotels | Weather | China History | China Photo Gallery

Tibet travel Guide

China Tours

- Beijing
- Xian
- Shanghai
- Guilin
- Hong Kong
- Chengdu
- Huangshan
  Theme Tours
- Sightseeing
- Beach Holiday
- Adventure Holiday
- Nature / Wildlife
- Yangtze Cruises
- Winter Sports
- Culture Journey
- Golf
- Photography
  China Multi-Destination Bus Tours
  How to Book

Get a quick answer

  Lychee Travel Consultants can help customize itineraries to provide a professional tour proposal that will fit your individual needs.  
Type the characters you see in
the picture below.
Bookmark and Share
you are here: Home - China travel guide - tibet guide - Tibetan sky burial

Tibetan sky burial

-- A funeral representing the Tibetan religious code

Tibetan sky burial is simply the disposition of a corpse to be devoured by vultures is the most widely practiced form of funeral in Tibet. It is deeply related with religious factor. Tibetan people believe that the corpse in nothing more than an empty vessel. The spirit, or the soul, of the deceased has exited the body to be reincarnated into another circle of life. Tibetan people witness sky burial and confront death directly. They know the impermanence of life.

A complete funeral ceremony begins at the moment of somebody is dying. The relatives will find high ranking monk or living Buddha to chant for the dying person. They believe it can help to end the dying oneís breath, terminate oneís seven emotions and six sensual pleasures in order to let the soul depart with peace. Meanwhile, people also invite lamas to chant scriptures, help the dying person get rid of suffering and fears. Women and children generally are not allowed to get close fearing that many interfere with the dying personís mind against reincarnation.

Tibetan Sky Funeral

Tibetan Sky Funeral

Once a person died, the body would be cleaned and wrapped immediately with a piece of white cloth and remain untouched for three days. The corpse will be positioned in a fetal position, the charnel ground in Tibet. They are usually located near monasteries. Monks will chant around the corpse to help the soul of the death one rise from the skull to paradise instead of emitting from air holes of the bottom to hell. During mourning time, the families will hung a jar at the gate to indicate a person died in the family, and add branches to burn in the jar in which zanba, blood of cattle or lamb, meet, fat along with milk, cheese and butter are mixed, a meal prepared for the dead. Donít keep pets, such as cats, dogs to get close to the body. Few people would visit charnel grounds except to witness sky burials.

Vultures fighting over the fresh

Vultures fighting over the fresh

Tibetan Sky Burial

Tibetan Sky Burial

Astrology will be invited to conduct divination, choosing a proper time to hold the funeral procession. It is generally begins before dawn of three or four days after the death. Scroll the body first that bind which the hands and legs crossed, like an embryo in motherís abdomen. Cover the body with a white pulu (a Tibetan blanket, different from carpet). Families and relatives carry the body to some distance from home, then five it to the body carrier to carry, never let the body touch the ground otherwise the dead personís soul will haunt the place. When arrive at the sky funeral place, juniper incense is burned to summon the vultures for their task, as the incense rises up, vultures move up one after another, if the body is eaten entirely, which is regarded as auspicious that the dead did not commit sin before death and his soul will rise to paradise. Vultures are sacred birds in the eyes of Tibetans, which are avatars of Dakini. It is said that a vulture can sense its death in advance, so it chooses a place on the top of a mountain to end its life where human beings can not reach. So Tibetans believe that only the majestic birds are competent for bringing the souls up to heaven. If white vulture pecks body first, it is considered as the most auspicious, if the vulture is reluctant to eat or not eat up, the remains are to be burnt into ashes sprinkled to each direction. To assure ascent of the soul, the entire body of the deceased should be eaten. After the bone mixture, the organs are served next, and then the flesh.

After sky funeral, the supervisor of the funeral on behalf of the family will give wine and meat to treat people who conducted the sky funeral. However, in several days, people who conduct the sky funeral canít go to the deadís family for fearing that the soul of the dead may brought back to harm the family members.

This mystical tradition arouses curiosity among those who are not Tibetan. However, Tibetans strongly object to visits by the merely curious. Only the sky funeral party will be present at the ritual. Photography is strictly forbidden. Tibetans believe that photographing the ritual might negatively affect the ascent of the soul. Hunting and killing vultures are also forbidden.

Keep on reading:

Recommended China tours including Tibet:

Are you planning a Tibet trip?

Planning a trip to Tibet? Just leave us a message by filling an online form. We will do our best to present you a perfect Tibet tour with professional suggestions and best quote.

Beijing Travel | Yangtze Cruises | Tibet Travel | Shanghai Tours | Terra-cotta Warriors Trip | China Travel News
Yunnan Photography Tour | Travel to Yellow Mountain | Great Wall Hiking Tours
Contact Us | Job | Why Us | Terms & Conditions | F. A. Q | Feedback | Useful Links | Sitemap
© Lychee Travel 2008 - 2012