A friend sent me a PowerPoint presentation showing the celestial burial of Tibet with the following remarks:
"Exotic custom. If you can bear it, you can view the slides with a sense of respect for the Tibetan culture."
I can understand why the warning 'if you can bear it' was given. Not only is the process of the celestial burial, as shown in the slides, rather gruesome, the practice of having your beloved's or even your own dead body cut apart and then devoured by eagles is definitely not what everybody would easily accept, particularly the Chinese. But the Tibetans believe that having every bit of the corpse eaten by the eagles means the person did not have great sins during his lifetime, while the eagles soaring to the sky after the feeding means ascension of the soul.
I think this way of treating the dead body is not only sacred but also in harmony with Nature. One's body is just a physical frame for housing the soul during one's lifetime, and if we believe that death is not the end of existence, there really is no need for the living to cling on to the physical form. The living should instead be praying for the soul of the dead to be detached from all worldly burdens and embark on the next journey in peace. In that sense, feeding the eagles with the dead body until nothing is left is liberating.
I wouldn't mind disposing of my body that way after I die. It is definitely better than having to undergo those ceremonies in a funeral parlour.
Let my body fill the stomachs of the eagles. Let my spirit soar to the sky with them.