Mummified monk 'not dead', say Buddhists

The remains were found wrapped in cattle skins in north-central Mongolia

Web Desk February 05, 2015
The remains were found wrapped in cattle skins in north-central Mongolia. PHOTO: THE SIBERIAN TIMES

Several have been baffled and astounded by a mummified monk who was found preserved in Mongolia last week, BBC Asia reported.

Seniour Buddhists have said that the monk was found sitting in the lotus position and is in a deep meditative trance rather than dead.

The remains were found wrapped in cattle skins in north-central Mongolia and forensic examinations are underway.

Although some think Mongolia’s cold weather could be the reasons, scientists are still trying to determine how the monk was so well-preserved.

Dr Barry Kerzin, a physician to Tibet’s Dalai Lama said the monk was in a rare state of meditation called “tukdam”.

"If the meditator can continue to stay in this meditative state, he can become a Buddha," Dr Kerzin said.

The monk was discovered after being stolen by a man who had hoped to sell him on the black market.

The culprit was arrested by Mongolian police and the monk is now being guarded at the National Centre of Forensic Expertise.

Rumour and speculation has it that the monk was the teacher of Lama Dashi-Dorzho Itigilov, who was also found mummified, however, his identity is not particularly clear.

In 1927, Itigilov - from neighbouring Buryatia in the then Soviet Union - supposedly told his students he was going to die and that they should exhume his body in 30 years. The lama then sat in the lotus position, began meditating nd died.

Legend has it, that when he was dug up, his body was still preserved.

With fear of Soviet authorities interfering in the matter, his followers re-buried where he lay to rest until 2002.

He was dug up again and was found to still be well preserved.

The lama was then placed in a Buddhist temple to be worshipped for eternity.


sadaf | 6 years ago | Reply

In islam we believe that when you bury a person in earth's guardianship as an "amanat", earth does not harm it until you take the body out to be placed in final destiny. Since the monk told his pupil to take him out after 30 years, it is very likely that he was buried as an "amanat"


John B | 6 years ago | Reply

@Stranger: It is very likely that the cold dry climate of Mongolia preserved him, may be. Don't know the details, so can't speak. Must stick to the conventional wisdom. However, the unpreserved mummies decay once the environment changes, but such is not the case here. He has been tossed around and transported around a lot. So, the obvious question is , Why and may be How?

Your point of biology is valid. But at the same time, one must also be open to the possibility that these things do not happen to all and to all monks and the Buddhists must have experienced it before. After all biology is nothing but turning on and off of the genes. If the Arctic wood Frog (Rana sylvatica) can freeze as a stone and come back to life, then anything is possible. Deep medication must be doing some gene manipulation. We know the mediitation controls the non sympathetic nervous system which the standard physiology says is independent of external control. May be some gene is turned on here in the so called "tukdam"

We just do not know the mechanism here, yet.

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