Saturday, June 23, 2007

Death - The Ultimate in Recycling

Catchy, eh?

I was watching a program yesterday on the death rituals of Tibetan Buddhism and couldn't help but agree with their philosophy on the body after death.  Now, I'm not an expert in Buddhism by any means, so hopefully I understood their beliefs correctly - they believe that once the soul leaves the body, the body does not need to be maintained or housed as we do in cemetaries, as they soul has already moved on.  They actually take the body, break the spine and fold it into a much smaller, compact package, wrap it in cloth and then they take it out to the desert for other animals to feed off of.  The whole idea seems to be a circular one, in which the used-up body is given back to the earth and other animals, to further their life, after the human one has ended. 

In a way, it reminded me of a personal form of recycling.  Rather than take up land space with cemetaries and graves, or further pollution with the burning of bodies into ashes, why not recycle the body by giving it to creatures that can eat it for their sustenance?

Of course, I can imagine why we don't practice this here, as who would know whether the body in the desert died legitimately or not.  I"m not really writing this to discuss the realities of how it would work, but just musing on the philosphy.

However, I can appreciate the Tibetan Buddhist's belief in the circle of life and that rather than looking at human life as detached from other animals, and one that proceeds along a straight line that ends at death - why not view the human life as part of the bigger circle and that the deceased body can be given back as a benefit to other life.

Wow, pretty heavy for a Saturday morning, eh?  Just thought I'd get you thinking!