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Mummified 200-Year-Old Monk Found in Lotus Position

Mummified Monk

Image credit: ‘Өглөөний сонин’. The mummified body of a Buddhist monk estimated to be 200 years old

Recently the mummified body of a Mongolian monk remaining in the lotus position has been discovered and it seems that he had been meditating for 200 years in the past

At present, no much information about this discovery has been made public. However, according to the report of Mongolia’s Morning News, it was said that after the initial visual test, experts thought the body could be as nearly old as 200 years. As for the location of the finding, little information had been released, except for the body being covered with a cattle skin.

This latest discovery has ignited comparisons with Dashi-Dorzho Itigilov, who was a Buryat Buddhist lama and died in 1927 when he was seventy-three years old. Upon his death, Itigilov was meditating and then was placed in a coffin to be kept upright. Following Itigilov’s directions before death, he was exhumed in 1955, 1973 and 2002 respectively. To the surprise, his body revealed few signs of decay on such occasions. In the exhuming carried out in 2002, a forensic scientist found that his body looked like someone who had just died 36 hours ago. So the monk in this new finding might have been a predecessor of Itigilov’s.

It is well-known that Buddhist scripture has been enhancing concern for the soul over the body, but for the past centuries, the animist traditions have imposed great impact on the religion. According to such traditions, the incorruptibility of the body would be observed as a mark of saintliness. Therefore, sometimes, monks would give directions to be buried sitting in the lotus position, covered drying agents, for example, coal or lime. As a result, this could always be kept in amazing preservation. However, it would be a painful approach, because some monks had to bear the terrible gruesome process of self-mummification, namely Sokushinbutsu, before their deaths.

During this process, the monks should eliminated fat and moisture from the diet before death and had poisonous herbs and nuts so as to hinder the bacterial growth. Such process is believed to get culminated in the drinking of tea—generally used as a lacquer for bowls—as kind of embalming fluid. It is not clear how much the preservation in this new finding is attributed to his personal efforts and how much is a result of the application of cattle hides after death. Anyway, as far as normal people are concerned, we could not be even able to stay in the lotus position for nearly more than a few minutes, so spending two centuries just like that appears quite impressive.

Below is a full view of the mummified monk in lotus position.

Mummified Monk 2

Image credit: ‘Өглөөний сонин’

Source: Dnews

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