A withered monk sitting in the lotus meditative position was found in the Songinokhairkhan province of Mongolia in January 2016, who according to Dalai Lama’s physician and well-known Buddhist monk Dr. Barry Kerzin was still alive when he was uncovered.
Dr. Kerzin explained that the monk was in an intensely deep spiritual meditative state known as ‘tukdam,’ through which the meditators can achieve the Buddha state, and the community where he was found claimed that he was still alive and just a step before becoming a Buddha until he was disturbed by a thief.
If they succeed in remaining in this state for longer than three weeks, their bodies shrink and, as Dr. Kerzin explains, “all that remains from the person is his hair, nails, and clothes.”
Once the meditator achieves the Buddha state, Dr. Kerzin explains that the people who live next to the monk can see a rainbow in the sky for several days.
However, in the case of the meditating monk who was found, his meditation had been disturbed by someone who snatched his body and stored him in his basement to sell him on the black market.
So, was the monk really alive for all those years? It sounds impossible, because, as the National Centre of Forensic Expertise at Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia’s capital) explains, it is impossible.
After completing the forensic examinations on the monk, the Centre has found that the monk was well dead for quite a long time. They found that he died at around the age of 70 and that he had been dead for 130 years.
He was identified as Tsorzh Sanzhzhav, a disciple of Ovgon Geser Lama, who was a highly revered Buddhist teacher in the region. Tsorzh had been buried alongside his master in a grave in a mountain cave and his body was stolen from there.
Geser Lama had also died meditating in the lotus position in 1890 and his body was cleaned and embalmed. The resting place of the mummified meditators has become a shrine since.
As for the meditating monk, Tsorzh’s remains were returned to the grave where they belonged, and measures are being taken to ensure that no further thefts occur.