Specialists in the Netherlands were astounded to find a mummified body inside a Buddhist statue believed to date back to eleventh or twelfth century BC. Taking on the project on their free time, researchers at the Meander Medical Center in Amersfoort in Netherlands performed a CT scan and endoscopy on the statue to examine its contents. After different medical tests, bone material from the mummy was sent for DNA screening.
Gastrointestinal and liver specialist Reinoud Vermeijden and radiologist Ben Heggelman stated for the press that the ancient mummified monk was their old patient so far.
While the specialists had already known that there was a mummy inside the statue, they were astounded to find that all its inner organs had been taken out and to discover in their place a few scrolls written in Chinese. Regrettably, a percentage of the material had decayed and decomposed.
As indicated by the Mail Online, this marks the first time when a mummified body has been discovered within a Buddhist statue.
Erik Bruijn, a specialist on Buddhism identified the mummy as Buddhist master and monk Liuquan, an member of the Chinese Meditation School. Numerous Buddhists believe that the remaining parts of such holy persons are not dead. They think the remains are still meditating.
Recently a wave of mummy discoveries has been reported. In January, in Mongolia, archeologists discovered a Buddhist friar in the lotus position who was mummified using animal skin. Another mummified woman was uncovered about two months ago in a Peru temple. The remains appeared to have been buried as a part of a ceremonial rite.
Even if this is the first time that a mummy is discovered inside a Buddha statue, the mummification practice is not isolated. Important Buddhist master are frequently preserved to help them achieve the Buddha-state. Essentially, the reflective practice goes on after the monk’s demise. This is called Tukdam. Sogyal Rinpoche portrays the procedure in The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.
Dr Barry Kerzin, an acclaimed Buddhist monk who took care of some meditators who were in a tukdam state explained:
‘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’.
The Buddha statue having the mummy still inside has been shipped to the Hungarian Natural History Museum in Budapest, where it will be exposed for the public until May 2015.
Image Source: Daily Mail