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Self-Mummified Monk Found in 1000-Year-Old Buddha Statue

By Ryan Wallace staff@sciencetimes.com | Feb 23, 2015 08:14 PM EST

Though the studies of space and the seas reveal many unknowns, the most interesting field of science may perhaps be the study of us-humans. Anthropologists and archaeologists excavate remains and remnants deep within the soils of our past, only to reveal what makes humans unique unto themselves. And in this quest for knowledge, researchers have often come to find that while tales of kings and ancient pharaohs may satiate the public, it's the stories of religion and artifacts that really create the big picture.

Religion plays a central role in human existence, as it embodies not only where we come from, but also where we believe we will go. And in as much, has proven time and time again that it can move cities and civilizations with the words of varying scriptures. 

But, how far would you go for your religion?

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Think that modern-day martyrs and zealots are hardcore fundamentalists? It's doubtful that they'd go as far as to preserve themselves as an icon for their faith. But it appears that that's exactly what one master monk of the Chinese Meditation School vowed to do, nearly a thousand years ago.

In a new study conducted by the Drents Musuem in the Netherlands, researchers revealed that entombed in a 1,000-year-old Chinese statue lie a perfectly mummified body, sitting in the lotus position.

"On the outside, it looks like a large statue of Buddha" spokespersons for the museum say. "Scan research has shown that on the inside, it is the mummy of a Buddhist monk who lived around the year 1100."

To reveal the skeleton within, researchers took the statue to the nearby Meander Medical Center in Amersfoort to conduct an endoscopy and additional CT scans. Now, with the skeleton revealed from its golden cast, researchers believe that the remains belong to Buddhist master Liu Quan from the Chinese Meditation School. And more than that, the museum spokespersons believe that Liu Quan may have even "self-mummified" in order to become a "living buddha".

Now that's dedication!

The Buddha statue is currently on display in Budapest at the National Museum of Natural History, and will be part of the exhibit until early this May.

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