** Land of Sky Burial **
(somewhere in Amdo, 1992)
Sky Burial is one of the famous strange practices which often entitles Tibet such the mysterious image.
It is often said, "the hawks take the soul up to the Heaven".
But it's completely misunderstood idea of Tibetan concept of death.
When the body is given to hawks, it is regarded as a mere mass of flesh.
The soul already left the body for a trip to the reincarnation.
The body without soul is just a material.
Tibetans do not cremate, as fuel is so scarce in Tibet,
but offer it to hawks and make a virtue by saving lives of small animals otherwise hawks might capture to feed.
It is a reasonalble way of thinking, I believe.
Some areas in Tibet have rich forest, so cremation is usual there.
I happend to find a sky burial site
on a hill at the back of a big monastery of Amdo region.
It is surrounded by Darcho, prayer flags.
As approaching there, I found pieces of clothes, boots scattered on grassland,
and I got to know I was surrounded by human bones.
Hatchets and copping boards lay scattered. Sky burial artisan chops up the body into small pieces, for hawks to swallow them easily.