You Learn Something New Every Day: Self-Mummification

So they did a CAT scan of an old buddha statue and found that there was a skeleton of a monk dude inside:

Experts believe that the mummy inside the statue is of Buddhist master Liu Quan, a member of the Chinese Meditation School.

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The Museum is of the view that probably the Buddhist master ‘self-mummified’ himself. This is a long painful process involving starving oneself progressively for several years.

Self-mummification used to be a mainly Japanese practice. Discovery News describes this tortuous process in the following way. For 1000 days the monk would eat only nuts and seeds, reducing body fat to a minimum. Then, for another 1000 days a diet of roots and barks would be consumed. In the last stages, the monk would drink a poisonous tea made from the sap of the Japanese varnish tree to induce vomiting and elimination of body fluids. The toxic nature of the infusion probably helped kill off bacteria too.

Then, the skeletal monk was put in a stone tomb just fitting around the body. An air tube and a bell were provided. Every day the monk would ring the bell indicating that he was alive. When the bell stopped ringing, it was known that he had died. His mummified body would then be removed after another 1000 days and preserved. Only a handful of monks achieved this stage after the long and grueling process.

Sounds seriously fucked uppe!


  1. Trebuchet says

    I am now going to go brew several cups of strong coffee, so I won’t be tempted to sleep tonight.

  2. Tsu Dho Nimh says

    Or, when your frail, elderly senior monk dies of pneumonia, you mummify him and carefully insert him into a hollow statue, then close up the back.

    More likely, but not as good click-bait.

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