Mummified corpse discovered inside Buddhist statue
Scans of a Buddha statue currently on display for the first time outside of China have revealed that it contains the mummified body of the Buddhist master Liuquan of the Chinese Meditation School. Shockingly, the monk is believed to have mummified himself into the statue in 1100 A.D.
According to the Drents Museum in Assen, Netherlands where the mummy had been displayed, the body inside the statue is potentially that of a Sokushinbutsu, a monk who undergoes self-mummification.
According to Buddha World,
“Sokushinbutsu were Buddhist monks or priests who allegedly caused their own deaths in a way that resulted in their being mummified....For 1,000 days (a little less than three years) the priests would eat a special diet consisting only of nuts and seeds, while taking part in a regimen of rigorous physical activity that stripped them of their body fat. They then ate only bark and roots for another thousand days and began drinking a poisonous tea made from the sap of the Urushi tree, normally used to lacquer bowls. This caused vomiting and a rapid loss of bodily fluids, and most importantly, it made the body too poisonous to be eaten by maggots.
Finally, a self-mummifying monk would lock himself in a stone tomb barely larger than his body, where he would not move from the lotus position. His only connection to the outside world was an air tube and a bell. Each day he rang a bell to let those outside know that he was still alive. When the bell stopped ringing, the tube was removed and the tomb sealed. After the tomb was sealed, the other monks in the temple would wait another 1,000 days, and open the tomb to see if the mummification was successful.” It seems that the process was rarely successful at there have only been 22 found. Often the other monks would discover a rotting corpse instead.
The endoscopy revealed an abdominal cavity filled with unidentified material and paper with Chinese characters scrolled on it. DNA has also been collected from bone samples. A news release from the Meander Medical Center, who conducted the scan and endoscopy, stated, "The discovery of the mummy is of great cultural significance, not only because it is the only one of its kind, but so far the only Chinese Buddhist mummy that is available in the West for scientific research."
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The mummy is now on tour, with its current location being Budapest and its next destination being Luxembourg.