DEATH IN TIBETIAN CULTURE - Coggle Diagram
DEATH IN TIBETIAN CULTURE
Objects, resources and belongings have cultural meaning and they are embedded in all kinds of social relations and practices. Some anthropologists seek to understand human experience through the study of material objects. This is evident, for example in the focus on materiality of the body.
OBJECT: Meaning attached to dead body/corpses
According to Tibetan culture, the body is still seen as an object of respect as it is believed to be a carrier of one's "soul" and will remain as as such till the soul successfully passes on to heaven
The body is unwrapped and bent into a fetal position to symbolize rebirth into another world. The body carrier is then called upon to take the body to the burial site.
Bodies are wrapped in a traditional white cloth and kept in a clean corner of the house for the dead person's soul to peacefully transition to heaven
Materiality can be defined as objects, resources and belongings that have cultural meaning and are embedded in various social relations and practices. This concept is explored through the idea of a commodified body, which refers to the idea of the body as a possession that does not belong to an individual. After death, the body is used for monetisation despite what the dead or the dead's wishes may be as it is controlled by the government.
The body of the dead is given to vultures to consume. Tibetan culture views the body as the carrier of the soul, and thus once dead, the physical has no need to remain. The ritual aims to help the departed's soul pass on.
In Tibetan culture, it is believed that bodies are separate from our consciousness. And when a person dies, our conscious travels to a new body, being reborn. Hence during sky burials, when bodies are put into a fetal position, it shows how the body of the dead materialises this belief.
While someone's burial is a solemn occasion, the celestial burial master finishes the whole process with smile and laughter. This act of remaining joyful shows how the burial master is materialising the Tibetan belief that keeping a good mood can get rid of the darkness of the dead and guide the dead to heaven.
SYMBOLISM OF PROCESSES:
Vultures as a medium to liberate the soul from the body enabling it to gain entry into heaven
Carry cultural significance through the symbolism of freeing the soul from burdens of the body
the vultures are spiritually symbolic to tibetian culture and are associated with deities
Body left in a clean corner of the house for 5 days without disturbance. Interruption from any party thought to disrupt the souls transition to heaven
they gather around the monastery when rainbows appear, which are auspiscious days when gods gather
family members are not allowed to watch the process as it will encourage the soul to linger
presence of strangers disrupt the soul
Visitors are allowed to come as government officials try to make use of its popularity to earn money. Presence of these visitors is very rude and disruptive
Symbolism of actions: Body is fed to vultures when curled up in the fetus position, signifying new life
tibetian culture constructs a network of symbols throughout the sky burial process, as the people attatch meanings to not only the sacred ground the process is performed on but also the vultures, the cloth the body is wrapped in, etc.
Processes of preparation and disposal are both equally as important in the burial process
Symbolism is the study of the significance that people attach to objects, actions, and processes, creating networks of symbols through which they construct a culture’s web of meaning.
What is a sky burial?
A sky burial is a funeral service in which a series of traditional rituals are carried out to cleanse the body of the deceased, before it is offered to vultures for feeding