The Statue That contained a Monk Inside It

mummified buddha

In early September of 2014 the Meander Medical Centre in the Dutch town of Amersfoort received a very prized consignment for examination it was a 1000-year-old statue that had been sent out of China and was then hosted by  the Drents Museum in the Netherlands for display purposes it was sent there to clear the Ancient Mystery that surrounded the statue that it was possessing a monk inside and it was aimed that Modern technology could help to establish this fact with some evidence and that more facts would be added to this mystery of this Gold painted statue.

An examination was conducted by a team of doctors under the supervision of Buddhist art and culture expert Erik Bruijn that included:

  • Radiologist Ben Heggelman
  • Gastroenterologist Reinoud Vermeijden




buddhist mummy scan
Credit: Drents Museum

The artifact was subjected to the cutting edge technology based Imaging devices and a full body C.T scan was conducted along with a collection of samples for DNA testing, samples were also obtained from the chest and abdomen of the mummy using a specially designed endoscope.

What the test’s revealed was a surprise it contained a monk who had been mummified carefully and his organs were removed and replaced by scraps of paper with ancient Chinese characters written on them supposedly some revered Buddhist literature the paper was accompanied by some rotten material which was not easily identifiable it was surprising and was not yet ascertained how the organs of the monk had been removed as it was still in a Lotus position.

What was concluded and believed is that the body inside the statue is of Buddhist master Liuquan, a member of the Chinese Meditation School who died around A.D. 1100.

Drents Museum’s research concluded that he may have ended up like this by a  gruesome process of self-mummification in which monks transformed themselves into revered “living Buddhas.”

The practice to achieve  “tukdam.”

The practice of self-mummification among Buddhist monks was most common in Japan but occurred elsewhere in Asia, including in China.

The Buddha on display at the Drents Museum (Credit: Drents Museum)
The Buddha on display at the Drents Museum        (Credit: Drents Museum)

This process of self-mummification was achieved by decades of practicing of habits and rituals that led to achieving the state of “tukdam.” or the living buddha even today practicing Buddhists consider mummified monks to be in a deep meditative state known as “tukdam.”

The concept of  “Living Buddhas,”  is described in Ken Jeremiah’s book “Living Buddhas” it states that the monks followed a special diet and then a special life style to prevent their bodies from accumulating fats and stuff that could prevent proper preservation of their body it also included drinking poisonous tree saps to repel insects.

then came the scary part after adhering to strict diet and nearing starvation, the monk undergoing self-mummification was buried alive underground in a chamber where he chanted sutra’s and stayed in a Lotus position. He was provided with a breathing aid in the form of a bamboo tube in order to indicate his whereabouts the monk used to ring a bell to indicate that he was alive else it was known that he was not and the tube was removed and then the tomb was sealed for three years after 3 years it was reopened and it was checked that the monk had mummified if he had he was taken to a temple to be venenrated and if not he had to undergo exorcism and was buried back again.

Mummy found in Songinokhairkhan province of  Mongolia                                                                (Source:Youtube)

Many more mummies have been found that indicate that they ended up by this process the latest one being the mummy of a monk that was found in Mongolia in a remote province which was wrapped in cattle skin.

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