On the outside, it looks like a large statue of Buddha," the museum said in a release. "Scan research has shown that on the inside, it is the mummy of a Buddhist monk who lived around the year 1100." Sitting in the lotus position, the mummy fits within the statue perfectly.
Upon peeking into a 1000 year ancient statue curated at the Drents Museum, Drenthe, Netherlands through modern methods of CT Scans and endoscopy, the medical researchers found something totally unexpected.
The body is that of ancient Chinese named Liuquan,
a member of the Chinese Meditation School. The body was found to lack any internal internal organs and had an empty chest cavity.The researchers believe he died approximately 1000 years ago in the year 1100 AD!
It is believed that Liuquan is a preserved example of successful "self-mummification" or sokushinbutsu
, an excruciatingly painful practice now banned by law in Japan.
10 Shocking facts about Self Mummification you did not know
1. In the ancient times, self mummification was regarded by Buddhist monks as the very apotheosis of enlightenment.
2. It required a monk to follow a strict 1,000-day diet of nuts and seeds, in order to strip the body of fat.
3. A diet of bark and roots would follow for another 1,000 days. This removes all moisture from body allowing body to mummify instead of decaying.
4. At the end of this period, the monk began drinking a poisonous tea made from the sap of the Japanese varnish tree, normally used to lacquer bowls and plates. The tea caused profuse vomiting & rapid loss of bodily fluids, making the body highly poisonous to be eaten by bacteria and insects.
5. By the end of this routine, the monk would be reduced to a living skeleton, all skin and bones.
6. The monk was then be sealed inside a stone tomb barely larger than his body, which had provisions of an air tube and a bell. The stone cover was like a case to hold the body in lotus position.
7. Never moving from the lotus position, the monk would ring the bell each day to inform those outside that he was still alive.
8. When the bell stopped ringing, the monk was presumed dead, the air tube removed and the tomb sealed.
9. After another 1,000 days the tomb would be opened to check whether the monk had been successfully mummified.
10. Of the hundreds of monks that tried this horrifying process, only a few dozen actually became self-mummified and venerated in temples as a Buddha.”
Sometime in the 1800s the Japanese government outlawed ritual suicide, putting a stop to these monks’ self-mummification.
Image: A scan reveals the body of a nearly 1,000-year-old Buddhist monk inside the statue of Buddha. Credit: Drents Museum