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Mummified monk is ‘not dead’ and in rare meditative state, says expert

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02 February 2015


The mummified remains, covered in cattle skin, were found on January 27 in the Songinokhairkhan province. Picture: Morning Newspaper 

A mummified monk found in the lotus position in Mongolia is 'not dead' and is instead one stage away from becoming a real-life Buddha, it has been claimed.

Forensic examinations are under way on the amazing remains, which are believed to be around 200 years old, having been preserved in animal skin. But one expert has insisted the human relic is actually in 'very deep meditation' and in a rare and very special spiritual state known as 'tukdam'.

Over the last 50 years there are said to have been 40 such cases in India involving meditating Tibetan monks.

Dr Barry Kerzin, a famous Buddhist monk and a physician to the Dalai Lama, said: 'I had the privilege to take care of some meditators who were in a tukdam state.

'If the person is able to remain in this state for more than three weeks - which rarely happens - his body gradually shrinks, and in the end all that remains from the person is his hair, nails, and clothes. Usually in this case, people who live next to the monk see a rainbow that glows in the sky for several days. This means that he has found a 'rainbow body'. This is the highest state close to the state of Buddha'.

He added: 'If the meditator can continue to stay in this meditative state, he can become a Buddha. Reaching such a high spiritual level the meditator will also help others, and all the people around will feel a deep sense of joy'.

Initial speculation is that the mummy could be a teacher of Lama Dashi-Dorzho Itigilov.

Born in 1852, Dashi-Dorzho Itigilov was a Buryat Buddhist Lama of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, best known for the lifelike state of his body.

Mummified monk is ‘not dead’ and in rare meditative state, says expert

Mummified monk is ‘not dead’ and in rare meditative state, says expert

The 'meditating monk' and the house in Mongolia where it was hidden. Pictures: Morning Newspaper 

Ganhugiyn Purevbata, who is the founder and professor of the Mongolian Institute of Buddhist Art at Ulaanbaatar Buddhist University, said: 'Lama is sitting in the lotus position vajra, the left hand is opened, and the right hand symbolizes of the preaching Sutra.

'This is a sign that the Lama is not dead, but is in a very deep meditation according to the ancient tradition of Buddhist lamas'.

The mummified remains, which were covered in cattle skin, were found on January 27 in the Songinokhairkhan province of Mongolia.

However, there is more to the story and now police have revealed that the monk had been stolen from another part of the country and was about to be sold off.

An unnamed official said that it was taken from a cave in the Kobdsk region by a man who then hid it in his own home in Ulaanbaatar.

He had then been planning to sell it on the black market at a 'very high price', with local media claiming he wanted to take it over the Mongolian border. Police uncovered the plot and quickly arrested a 45-year-old, named only as Enhtor. 

According to Article 18 of the Criminal Code of Mongolia smuggling items of cultural heritage are punishable with either a fine of up to 3million roubles ($43,000) or between five and 12 years in prison. The monk is now being guarded at the National Centre of Forensic Expertise at Ulaanbaatar.

Comments (195) Here's an article I wrote about this phenomenon after visiting Yamagata in northern Japan, which is a historical stronghold of self mummification. Th practice comes from a certain school of esoteric Buddhism which teaches that the inner Buddha can be realized through self denial and meditation, and self mummification is the ultimate expression of that. Priests I interviewed described the mummies as still living, in a state of prayer, and indeed Kukai, the monk who brought back these esoteric teachings from the Asian mainland is said by some believers to himself be in a state of cryogenic status on Mount Koya, near Osaka. I believe there are also clear examples of self mummification in Tibet. This piece also goes into lots of detail:
Dmc, Tokyo, Japan
04/02/2015 18:03
Super rude to have taken his garments off.
Jessica, Vancouver, Canada
04/02/2015 13:45
He's not dead! He's resting! he's pining for the fjords!
Greg, Wellington, New Zealand
04/02/2015 13:04
This master has clearly been dead for a long time, though it does seem he indeed entered tukdam at the time of his death, which is remarkable, incredible, and amazing. Tukdam (meditative stability on the clear light nature of the mind at the death point) is a very real phenomenon, but doesn't usually last more than a few hours or days, and up to a few weeks in rarer instances. Not over centuries as this article suggests - though it makes for a fantastic sounding title. Dr. Barry Kerzin doesn't actually say that the monk is still in tukdam in his quotation, they are misquoting him for the purpose of the title.
Michael Smith, New Orleans, USA
04/02/2015 12:06
Kind of looked Asian or is it me ?
Magicwhoha, New York America
04/02/2015 10:55
Not arms. It is the skin from his belly which is stretched from the breathing thing that they do.
A. San, philly
04/02/2015 09:37
Wow.. what an awesome story.
Tina Mercury, Singapore
04/02/2015 08:38
It's just a dead body. Who cares.
Luke Thomas, Central Florida
04/02/2015 06:31
Não há limites para a ignorância humana.
sergio, São Paulo / Brasil
04/02/2015 01:55
It is known in Japan as a Sokushinbutsu
rafael mazzini sosa, perú
04/02/2015 01:04
Why does this monk look to have 4 arms. Perhaps he is Goro from Mortal Kombat?
Brian, Islamorada, FL
04/02/2015 00:46
"If the meditator can continue to stay in this meditative state, he can become a Buddha."

I'm fairly confident he will succeed, especially when considering the fact that the smuggling and moving from one part of the country to another did not disturb his meditation.

We'll see in less than three weeks if he comes alive or turns into a rainbow...
Hugo, Saint Denis, Réunion, France
04/02/2015 00:41
I don't think he cares much :).
Bojan, Slovenija
03/02/2015 19:21
Could disturbing the body disrupt the meditation cycle of said monk from becoming enlightened?
ChrisitanC, Las vegas
03/02/2015 06:23
Well done! Thank goodness, the police uncovered the theft and proposed sale of the mummy. What a sacrilege!.

Siberian Times, please continue to follow up this story. Thanks.
E. Espinosa, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
02/02/2015 21:48

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