charnel ground

A charnel ground (Devanagari: श्मशान; Romanized Sanskrit: śmaśāna; Tibetan pronunciation: durtrö; Tibetan: དུར་ཁྲོདWylie: dur khrod),[1] in concrete terms, is an above-ground site for the putrefaction of bodies, generally human, where formerly living tissue is left to decompose uncovered. Although it may have demarcated locations within it functionally identified as burial grounds,cemeteries and crematoria, it is distinct from these as well as from crypts or burial vaults.

In a religious sense, it is also a very important location for sadhana and ritual activity for Indo-Tibetan traditions of Dharmaparticularly those traditions iterated by the Tantric view such as Kashmiri Shaivism, Kaula tradition, Esoteric Buddhism, Vajrayana,Mantrayana, Dzogchen, and the sadhana of Chöd, Phowa and Zhitro, etc. The charnel ground is also an archetypal liminality that figures prominently in the literature and liturgy and as an artistic motif in Dharmic Traditions and cultures iterated by the moreantinomian and esoteric aspects of traditional Indian culture.

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