|Marco Foronda |||Feb 23, 2015 09:41 AM EST|
Buddha statues dot foggy mountain tops throughout Southeast Asia and line college dorm rooms. But this Buddha statue is more than a little different - it has a mummy inside.
A CT scan and endoscopy of The Buddha was performed last year under art expert, Erik Brujin. Inside is a mummy, which is the only one of its kind ever found, is a mummy folded-up in the same position as The Buddha. It's believed to have been made by Buddhist master Liuquan from the Chinese Meditation School, who died about 1100 A.D.
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The thoracic cavity and abdomen contain samples of an unidentified material. In place of the mummy's organs, scraps of paper covered with ancient Chinese characters were found in their stead.
The research team thinks the mummy was due to "self-mummification", a process used to become "a living Buddha" and to achieve a higher level of enlightenment.
The case appears similar to a 200 year-old mummy found in Mongolia. Senior Buddhists said the man is not dead, but in a state called "tukdam" - ancient deep meditation used to become a Buddha. Great Buddhist masters are often mummified to help them reach the Buddha-state.
According to the Sogyal Rinpoche description of the process in The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, "A realized practitioner continues to abide by the recognition of the nature of mind at the moment of death, and awakens into the Ground Luminosity when it manifests. He or she may even remain in that state for a number of days.
"Some practitioners and masters die sitting upright in that state for a number of days. Some practitioners and masters die sitting upright in meditation posture, and others in the "posture of the sleeping lion,"
The mummy is now on display at the National Museum of Natural History in Budapest. It will be off to Luxembourg this May.
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