New Historian

Mummified Monk Found in Buddha Statue

Mummy of Chuyet Chuyet

<![CDATA[A mummified monk has been found, encased in a Buddha statue. Using a CT scanner at the Meander Medical Centre, Amersfoort, researchers from the Drents Museum were able to show precisely how the mummy looked inside the statue. By conducting an endoscopic exam (inserting a small camera inside a body via a small incision), the researchers found something rather remarkable. Although it was already known that a mummy was inside the statue, it was also discovered that the monk's organs had been removed. Among the abundance of rotten material within the mummy, gastrointestinal and liver doctor Reinoud Vermeijden found rolls of paper bearing ancient Chinese writing where organs should have been. The discovery of this mummified monk encased within a statue is a one-of-a-kind, and the only Chinese Buddhist mummy available for research outside of China. That paper scraps were inside the mummy is even more extraordinary. Bone material samples from the monk are currently undergoing DNA testing. The study was led by Erik Bruijn, an expert on Buddhist art and culture, and guest curator at the World Museum in Rotterdam. Bruijn has determined that the mummy was Buddhist master Liuquan, a twelfth-century individual who belonged to the Chinese Meditation School. Studies based on the tests and samples collected from the mummy are set to be published in an upcoming monograph on Master Liuquan. Following the scan, the mummy was taken to Budapest, where it will be displayed in the Hungarian Natural History Museum. It has been claimed that mummies like Buddhist master Liuquan are not actually dead, but are in an advanced state of meditation. Dr Barry Kerzin, a monk and doctor to the Dalai Lama, has said that mummified monks are in a spiritual state called 'tukdam', and not actually dead. Tukdam is a state of meditation that monks can achieve before finding the 'rainbow body', the state of being closest to that of a Buddha. By remaining in a state of meditation for more than three weeks, it is thought that the body shrinks and appears mummified. Kerzin has said previously that he had taken care of some people in meditation who had reached a tukdam state. It is claimed that tukdam has been achieved by about 40 Tibetan monks in India. The mummified remains of Liuquan present a fascinating case. Research on the statue has revealed some intriguing pieces of information about how he was prepared before being encased. It is hoped that the scrolls found inside his remains may offer further eye-opening details, once they have been deciphered. Image courtesy of Wikimedia commons user: Chitto]]>

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