What you need to know about the mummified monk who 'isn't dead'

Alive and kicking: The monk is now being guarded in Ulan Bator (Picture: Siberian Times/Morning News)

What on earth is going on?

A 200-year-old mummified monk was unearthed in Mongolia last week and senior members of the Buddhist community believe he is still alive.

Huh?

That's right. According to the Siberian Times (an English-language newspaper) and the Morning News (a Mongolian newspaper), senior monks believe the well-preserved man is in a "deep meditative trance" called a "tukdam".

"If the meditator can continue to stay in this meditative state, he can become a Buddha," according to Dr Barry Kerzin - a consultant to the Dalai Lama.

It has been reported that his body is so well preserved because of Mongolia's cold climate and the fact that it was wrapped in animal skins.

Where was he found?

(Picture: Siberian Times/Morning News)

The monk was found in the lotus position in the Songino Khairkhan district of Mongolia (pictured above), near the capital Ulan Bator.

Police say the monk was destined for the black market after being stolen by a 45-year-old man from a cave in a different region of the country.

The man reportedly wanted to take the monk over the border and sell it for a "very high price", according to the Siberian Times.

Who is the monk?

It's unclear exactly who the monk is at this stage. Early rumours suggest he could be the teacher of another mummified monk born in 1852 known as Dashi-Dorzho Itigilov.

Itigilov's body was exhumed in the middle of the 20th century and now sits on display in a Buddhist temple, according to the BBC.

What happens next?

(Picture: Siberian Times/Morning News)

Forensic examinations are now under way while the monk is guarded at the National Centre of Forensic Expertise in Ulan Bator.

According to Dr Kerzin, if the "meditator" can stay in the same state for three weeks (which rarely happens), he will gradually shrink, form a rainbow and spread joy to those around him.

Keep reading...Show less
Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)