Buddhist Funeral Rites

Exploration of Conspiracy Theories from Perspective of Esoteric Traditions

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Buddhist Funeral Rites

Postby yorick » Sun Nov 14, 2004 7:05 am

This is an experience you dont want to miss:

Body of the deceased is tossed into an open hole in the ground filled with insects that pick the bones clean.

Then the bones are gathered all mixed up in a small casket and carried to the home of the deceased. A decorative table is laid out and the box of bones is opened next to it.

For several days or however long it takes, mourners will visit and meditate over the remains..... each in turn taking a bone and placing it on the table to reassemble the skeleton of the deceased.

Some will sit and meditate for hours before taking their turn at the bone pile. After placing one bone in place, mourners might return to their seats and then get up and place another after further meditations. Or they can just put one bone on the table and then discretely go on their way.



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Postby lowcrawl » Fri Nov 19, 2004 10:54 am

Good thing my family doesn't do that. I can only imagine how long it would take them to get me laid out the right way.
"Zidele amathambo." Give yourself up, bones as well. (i.e. take a chance!) - South African Ndebele saying
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Postby Stiv » Fri Nov 19, 2004 12:48 pm

Just curious exactly where and what Buddhist people do this? I don't think this is a very common practice as supposedly Buddha has his bones all around the world residing in temples. And lots of places that practice the religion don't exactly have the insect numbers to make this practical.

You realize he was the only man to live who had about 600 bones.

Now the Zorastrian practice of the "Wheels of silence" is well documented in Iran and India. You have to go out of your way, but you can get a distant obscured view of them in Bombay.

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Postby lowcrawl » Fri Nov 19, 2004 4:28 pm

Stiv I know a little about the Zorastrians but I have never heard of the "Wheels of silence". Does that have something to do with their open air burials?
"Zidele amathambo." Give yourself up, bones as well. (i.e. take a chance!) - South African Ndebele saying
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Postby yorick » Fri Nov 19, 2004 4:43 pm

Do you think I'm making this up? Story was related to me by Gen. Jeff Jones of Veterans OSS who returned from such an event at Thailand circa 1998 when I worked at the NY office. Jones didnt say who's funeral he attended, probably as guest of the Thailand government among visiting dignitaries.

The idea is that the personality of the deceased goes into trance for several days following death, at first not knowing that death has occurred. Hence during this period mourners, family and friends will gather to reassemble bones of the deceased to make it easier for the dead guy to recall his thoughts and actions among the living, also to feel more comfortable in transition.

No doubt necromancy at its best that assists the deceased in navigating the afterlife in between incarnations.

What is the Zoroastrian practice and how is it worked?


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Postby Stiv » Fri Nov 19, 2004 5:12 pm

Yorick,
not saying I didn't think what you wrote may not be true, I was just curious where the story came from. Look, Tibetan Buddhist made drinking cerimonial cups from human sculls I've seen them in museums here in town. They also weave human bones into ceramonial robes and make jewlery from them too. There's lots a variations on a theme with regards to almost any belief system.

Essentally the "Wheels of silence" are tables placed on poles off the ground where the remains of the dead are placed to be picked clean by vultures and what have you, mostly vultures though. Then I'm pretty sure the bones are buried or cremated, as Zorastrians are into the fire thing I'm pretty sure it's the latter. They put the wheels in pretty remote places and are pretty vigilant in regards to the privacy of the dead. Down near the southern part of Bombay they have a park like area sealed off just for this ritual. You can't go in but if you get to higher ground or a building you can get a small glimps of them. We used a 300mm camera lens. The pictures didn't come out so hot cause of motion. It's easier to go into one of the few temples Bombay has where the keep an eternal flame lit. Just make a donation.

Bombay has one of the more sizable populations of Zorastrians as many left Iran after the Islamic revolution but also just through trade and immagration. There's still some in Iran but they get treated like the ugly step child. Not too sure but I think they're more near Shiraz in the south.

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Postby Stiv » Fri Nov 19, 2004 5:16 pm

Oh and before I forget, burial was mostly a Christian practice from what I understand. Even the ancient Romans were into cremation and the context for lots of cremation is the smoke takes the soul/spirit to heaven.

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Postby Stiv » Fri Nov 19, 2004 5:26 pm

Sorry my bad it's "Towers of silence" it's been a couple of years.

More here,

http://www.the-south-asian.com/April200 ... anners.htm

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Postby Stiv » Fri Nov 19, 2004 5:37 pm

Yazd Iran

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Postby lowcrawl » Tue Nov 23, 2004 6:08 pm

Thanks for the info Stiv. I had a comparitive religion's teacher that said there was a zorastrian temple in Kansas City. I'm looking for info on it right now.
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