Mummified Monk Inside Buddha Statue Meditating Forever, CT Reveals

A mummified monk was found meditating inside a Buddha statue, according to Robs Webstek. Although it was already known that a skeleton was inside the relic, the CT scan proves the remains inside the Buddha statue date back to between 1050 to 1150 C.E., and the other findings prove to whom the remains belong.

Said to be the remains of the Buddhist monk known as Master Liuquan from the Chinese Meditation School, according to the Nederland Times, this important monk reportedly lived during 1100 C.E.

Both the skeleton and Buddha statue were displayed as part of a Drents Museum exhibition on mummies in 2014, and it was the first time the relic has been seen outside of China since it was discovered.

According to the Nederland Times, Reinoud Vermeijden, gastrointestinal and liver doctor, Ben Heggelman, radiologist and other hospital employees, did the research on the meditating monk in the Buddha statue, which included the CT and an endoscopic exam at Meander Medical Centre in their free time.

Buddhist art and cultural expert, Erik Bruijn, from Amersfoort, headed up the study.

An endoscopic exam consists of inserting a camera inside the body via a small incision. In this case, the hospital staff inserted the endoscopic probe into the thoracic and abdominal cavities, or the torso and abdomen, of the mummified monk.

To everyone’s astonishment, the probe revealed “rotten material, paper scraps that were printed with ancient Chinese characters,” and that all took the place of where the internal organs should have been.

Speculation is that the organs were removed prior to mummification and enclosure in the statue, and researchers took samples of a material they have not yet been able to identify.

Researchers will reveal the CT scan results and other findings with an upcoming monograph on the life of Master Liuquan.

Mummified Monk Buddha Exhibit at Drents Museum

The Drents Museum literature asks visitors whether the monk self-mummified, stating that self-mummification was “not unusual” for Asian monks to undertake. However, the state in which this meditating monk was found would have made it difficult at best for him to do the job himself.

The Buddha statue and the meditating mummified monk inside were transferred to the Hungarian Natural History Museum, where visitors can see them every day until May this year.

Another mummified meditating monk was recently found earlier in February, according to the Siberian Times, and this one comes from Mongolia.

One expert, famous monk Dr. Barry Kerzin, who was also a doctor to the Dalai Lama, says that the mummified monk is in a spiritual state called “tukdam,” and that he is not dead.

According to the Siberian Times, tukdam is a state achieved by about 40 Tibetan monks in India over the years. Monks achieve the state by remaining in meditation “for more than three weeks,” which is when the “body gradually shrinks, and in the end all that remains from the person is his hair, nails, and clothes.”

Kerzin said that he has had the “privilege to take care of some meditators who were in a tukdam state” previously, and that tukdam is the state monks achieve before finding the “rainbow body,” or the state closest to becoming a Buddha.

[Photo via Nederland Times, Photo via Drents Museum]