Scientists are examining a 200-year-old mummy that some Buddhists are saying is not dead, but in a very deep trance.
The preserved mummy was found last week covered in cattle skin inside a house in the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator. Police say it had been hidden in the house by a man who wanted to sell it on the black market.
The ash-colored mummy, believed to be about 200 years old, was found sitting in the cross-legged lotus position. Buddhist monk Dr. Barry Kerzin, who served as physician to the Dalai Lama, believes the mummy is in a heightened spiritual state known as “tukdam“:
“If the person is able to remain in this state for more than three weeks – which rarely happens – his body gradually shrinks, and in the end all that remains from the person is his hair, nails and clothes. Usually in this case, people who live next to the monk see a rainbow that glows in the sky for several days. This means that he has found a ‘rainbow body‘. This is the highest state close to the state of Buddha.”
Gankhüügiin Pürevbat, who foundedMongolia’s Ulaanbaatar Buddhist University, agrees:
“Lama is sitting in the lotus position vajra, the left hand is opened, and the right hand symbolizes of the preaching Sutra. This is a sign that the Lama is not dead, but is in a very deep meditation according to theancient tradition of Buddhist lamas.”
The discovery brings to mind the story ofDashi-Dorzho Itgilov, a Buddhist monk who is remarkably well-preserved after dying in 1927. Some Buddhists believe Itgilov is not dead, but in a deep state of meditation.