Unlike his predecessor, aged 200, this monk is truly dead
Last year snorts of derision echoed across the globe when high level Buddhists claimed that a 200-year-old monk found mummified in Mongolia was not in fact dead, but in a state of deep meditation.
Well, another mummified monk is now in the news, having recently been exhumed from the vat in which he was placed when he died aged 92 in 2012.
No claims are being made this time that Monk Fuhou is merely meditating. This report just says that he’s to be immortalised as a gold-plated Buddha statue.
Fuhou’s mummified body, in the lotus position, was removed from a vat at the Puzhao temple in Quanzhou, Fujian Province. His body was said to have been preserved as a “mark of respect”. He had practiced Buddhism for 81 years.
Monks who attended the “open cylinder” ceremony on Zimao Mountain noted monk Fuhou had not rotted in the sealed vat.
In February last year, after the 200-year-old monk, above, was discovered, Dr Barry Kerzin, physician to the Dalai Lama, and a Buddhist academic said that the mummified remains were in a state of tukdam, one step away from reaching enlightenment and becoming a Buddha.
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.
If the meditator can continue to stay in this meditative state, he can become a Buddha. Reaching such a high spiritual level the meditator will also help others, and all the people around will feel a deep sense of joy.
Gankhüügiin Pürevbat, the founder of the Mongolian Institute of Buddhist Art at Ulaanbaatar Buddhist University, told the Siberian Times at the time:
The lama is sitting in the lotus position vajra, the left hand is opened, and the right hand symbolises 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.
Hat tip: Robert Stovold