After a series of tests, including CT scans and an endoscopy, scientists at the Drents Museum in the Netherlands discovered that a 1,000-year –old Buddha statue contained a mummified monk
Museum officials said scans showed the skeleton of a mummy on the inside, believed to be a Buddhist monk who died around the year 1100, sitting in the lotus position.
It is possible the corpse belongs to Buddhist master Liu Quan, a member of the Chinese Meditation School.
In order to obtain more information regarding the content of the statue, researchers took it to the Amersfoort Meander Medical Center where an endoscopy and several CT scans were performed.
Tests showed that the mummy’s abdominal cavity was lacking internal organs. They had been replaced with scripts written in Chinese.
Museum specialists think that the Buddhist might have gone through the process of “self-mummification” in order to become a “living Buddha”.
This process consisted of a 1,000-day diet during which the monk would consume only nuts and seeds in order to eliminate all fat from the body. The next step involved another 1,000-day diet of back and roots.
In the final part of the second phase, the monk would start drinking a poisonous tea made from the sap of the varnish tree, usually applied when lacquering bowls or plates. Consuming this tea would lead to intense vomiting and thus the body’s fluids. It is believed this tea would make one’s body so poisonous that it couldn’t be eaten by insects or bacteria.
While still alive, the monk would then be placed in the tomb that resembles a statue. The tomb tailored exactly to the monk’s dimensions would have an air tube and a bell.
The monk would be in a constant lotus position. He would ring the bell daily to let everyone know that he was still alive. When it stopped ringing, the monk would be presumed dead and the tomb would be sealed.
After another 1,000 days, fellow monks would reopen the tomb to see if the mummification was successful. It seems that hundreds have tried but only a few dozen succeeded. Those self-mummified would be venerated in temples as a Buddha.
Scientists are now trying to understand how the scripts were inserted into the abdominal cavity.
Image Source: This Is Colossal