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A Mummified Monk Was Hidden Inside A Buddha Statue For 1,000 Years

Hopefully researchers didn't disturb his meditative state.

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Under this gold statue of Buddha rests the mummified remains of a meditating monk. It only took nearly 1,000 years to get it on record.
M. Elsevier Stokmans / Drents Museum / Via irisharchaeology.ie

Under this gold statue of Buddha rests the mummified remains of a meditating monk. It only took nearly 1,000 years to get it on record.

An ancient Chinese Buddha statue underwent a full CT scan last year during its residency at Drents Museum in the Netherlands.The figure originated from China, dating back from c. 1050–1150 AD.
Jan van Esch / Meander Medisch Centrum / Via nltimes.nl

An ancient Chinese Buddha statue underwent a full CT scan last year during its residency at Drents Museum in the Netherlands.

The figure originated from China, dating back from c. 1050–1150 AD.

Preservationists first discovered the mummified body in 1996 during restoration on the gold-painted papier-mâché statue. Workers removed the statue's wooden platform to find two pillows, and beneath those were human remains.It wasn't until December 2014 that a team of Dutch doctors and historians used detailed X-rays to decipher the statue's hidden contents.
Jan van Esch / Meander Medisch Centrum / Via nltimes.nl

Preservationists first discovered the mummified body in 1996 during restoration on the gold-painted papier-mâché statue. Workers removed the statue's wooden platform to find two pillows, and beneath those were human remains.

It wasn't until December 2014 that a team of Dutch doctors and historians used detailed X-rays to decipher the statue's hidden contents.

CT scans showed that underneath the statue of Buddha sitting in lotus position was a mummy resting in the very same pose.
Ben Heggelman / Universityhospital Mannheim / Via livescience.com

CT scans showed that underneath the statue of Buddha sitting in lotus position was a mummy resting in the very same pose.

Researchers also took samples and found that among the decayed remains were scraps of paper containing ancient Chinese characters.The text suggests the mummy was once a high-status monk — specifically, Buddhist master Liu Quan, who belonged to the Chinese Meditation School until his death at around 1100 AD.
Jan van Esch / Meander Medisch Centrum / Via nltimes.nl

Researchers also took samples and found that among the decayed remains were scraps of paper containing ancient Chinese characters.

The text suggests the mummy was once a high-status monk — specifically, Buddhist master Liu Quan, who belonged to the Chinese Meditation School until his death at around 1100 AD.

Some speculate Liu Quan "self-mummified" to become a "living Buddha."
200-year-old mummified monk recently found in Mongolia / Via siberiantimes.com

Some speculate Liu Quan "self-mummified" to become a "living Buddha."

The grueling practice entailed a monk eating only nuts and seeds for 1,000 days, followed by a diet of bark and roots for another 1,000 days, in order to lose all body fat.

The monk would then drink a toxic tea made from the sap of the Urushi tree (Toxicodendron vernicifluum) to induce vomiting. The sap, normally used to lacquer tableware, helped preserve the corpse and ward off maggots and decaying bacteria.
Via kusuyama.jp

The monk would then drink a toxic tea made from the sap of the Urushi tree (Toxicodendron vernicifluum) to induce vomiting. The sap, normally used to lacquer tableware, helped preserve the corpse and ward off maggots and decaying bacteria.

Via lightworkers.org

After several more stages, adding up to about six years of difficult rituals, the monk would then confine himself in a small tomb, going into deep meditative state known as 'tukdam.'

A tiny tube gave the monk oxygen from outside, while a string attached to a bell would let the monk tell others he was still alive. When the bell stopped ringing, the tomb was sealed off for the final 1,000 days.If, by the end of this process, the tomb was opened and a preserved body was found, the monk would be revered as Buddha. However, if the body decomposed, the monk would be respected, but not worshipped.
Luang Pho Dang, Wat Khunaram, Ko Samui, Thailand / Via Sachie Yorck

A tiny tube gave the monk oxygen from outside, while a string attached to a bell would let the monk tell others he was still alive. When the bell stopped ringing, the tomb was sealed off for the final 1,000 days.

If, by the end of this process, the tomb was opened and a preserved body was found, the monk would be revered as Buddha. However, if the body decomposed, the monk would be respected, but not worshipped.

DNA tests will confirm whether or not the latest mummified monk is indeed Liu Quan.Anyone hoping to see the specimen in person, better head over to The Hungarian Natural History Museum, which has the statue on display until May 2015.
Drents Museum / Via drentsmuseum.nl

DNA tests will confirm whether or not the latest mummified monk is indeed Liu Quan.

Anyone hoping to see the specimen in person, better head over to The Hungarian Natural History Museum, which has the statue on display until May 2015.

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