200-year-old mummified Mongolian monk 'not dead, almost a Buddha'

ULAN BATOR, Mongolia, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- A mummified monk found in Mongolia sitting in the lotus position is not dead, but is in a deep meditative trance instead, according to Buddhist officials.
Forensic examinations of the mummified remains are underway at the National Center of Forensic Expertise at Ulan Bator, Mongolia's capital, according to The Siberian Times. Initial, basic examinations determined the mummy to be about 200 years old.
The remains were found Jan. 27 wrapped in cattle skins in the Songinokhairkhan province of north-central Mongolia.
Dr. Barry Kerzin, a Buddhist monk and a physician to Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, said the mummy was in the rare state of meditation called "tukdam," which he said is "highest state close to the state of Buddha."
"If the person is able to remain in this state for more than three weeks - which rarely happens - his body gradually shrinks," Kerzin said. "In the end, all that remains from the person is his hair, nails, and clothes."
Kerzin added, "If the meditator can continue to stay in this meditative state, he can become a Buddha."
Ganhugiyn Purevbata, professor and founder of the Mongolian Institute of Buddhist Art at Ulan Bator Buddhist University, said the pose the mummy is in "symbolizes of the preaching Sutra."
"This is a sign that the Lama is not dead, but is in a very deep meditation according to the ancient tradition of Buddhist lamas," he said.
Police found the remains after discovering that a 45-year-old man identified as Enhtor allegedly stole the mummy from a cave and planned to sell it on the black market. Enhtor was arrested.
There are claims the remains are of the teacher of Lama Dashi-Dorzho Itigilov.
Itigilov told his students he was going to die in 1927 and ordered them to exhume his body in 30 years. When he was unearthed, it is said his body was sitting well preserved in the lotus position. He was reburied afterward until 2002 where his body was found still well preserved.



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