Stories flooded the internet earlier this week claiming a mummified monk, thought to be around 200 years old, was still alive. Sources say the monk was found sometime in January, preserved in animal skin and sitting in the lotus position in a home in Mongolia. Although a forensic examination is underway, one expert insisted the monk was in a very rare and special meditative and spiritual state called “tukdam”. The expert also went on to state the monk was not only alive, but in fact one step away from becoming a real-life Buddha. Researchers who have conducted a visual examination have interestingly remarked on how little the monk’s body had decayed.
Over the last 50 years there are said to have been 40 such cases in India involving meditating Tibetan monks. Buddhist monk and a physician to the Dalai Lama, Dr Barry Kerzin, said: ‘I had the privilege to take care of some meditators who were in a tukdam state.
“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”.
He also added: “If the mediator can continue to stay in this meditative state, he can become a Buddha. Reaching such a high spiritual level the mediator will also help others, and all the people around will feel a deep sense of joy”.
While no one is sure who the monk could be but many have speculated it could have been a Buryat Buddhist Lama of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, Dashi-Dorzho Itigilov, who was born in 1852.
Sadly this “sleeping monk” hasn’t been able to find much peace lately. Police revealed that the monk was stolen from its location and was planning on being sold on the black market. When police learned about the plan to steal the monk and take him over the border to be sold, they quickly captured the criminal. However tragic, thankfully today, the monk is being guarded at the National Centre of Forensic Expertise at Ulaanbaatar where officials state he plans to stay safely guarded, for a long time.