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Trekker finds Buddhist Lama mummy in a mountain hideaway in North India
HindustanTimes.com ^ | New Delhi, March 2 2004 | Anuj Singh

Posted on 03/04/2004 7:38:45 PM PST by AM2000

This is an exclusive shot of a Tibetan monk called Sangha Tenzin found mummified inside a tomb at Ghuen village in Spiti, Himachal Pradesh.

Professor Victor Mair, consulting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, who has researched on the mummy, says it is at least 500 years old. "He died around the time that Colombus discovered America." (I had taken Mair to see the mummy while he was visiting India as part of a team studying Asian mummies.)

Apparently, the monk had given up his life while meditating in the position he was found mummified.

Ghuen villagers have known about the mummy since 1975, when an earthquake struck the region and brought down a part of the tomb. Ghuen falls in a forward area close to the China border. It is a restricted area under the control of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police. Therefore, few people outside of Ghuen ever found out about the mummy (until few ITBP men took me to see it during my trip to the region in 1997. I went back to photograph it in 2001).

The mummy is remarkably well preserved for its age. Its skin is unbroken. There is hair on the head as well. Mair says it is partly to do with the extreme cold and dry air of the region and partly to do with the meditation rituals that ancient high monks practiced to get rid of a public menace. "Slow starvation in the last few months of his life reduced the body fat and shrunk parts of the body that would have been liable to putrefaction."

The mummy also did not collapse and disintegrate because of a jute restrainer, which runs around the mummy's neck and passes between the thighs.

There is a greater significance of the restrainer. It points to a rare and esoteric practice. Mair says, "It kept the monk in an upright position and enabled him to focus on his meditation. If he relaxed, the restrainer knot would have tightened around his neck, cutting off oxygen supply and suffocating him... It was essentially to keep him in a good posture."

Very little is available in Buddhist texts in India that describe this practice. Only one manuscript in the library of Tabo monastery has reference to it.

From his understanding of Buddhist rituals and practices, Mair also says this kind of a practice is rare. "It is only known among certain sects in Japan and Tibet. They tended to be highly esoteric and lived in the mountains. The practice itself is part of the Dzogchen tradition within Nyingma (sect)."

Ghuen, incidentally, is about 50 km from the Tabo monastery, which is the oldest surviving Buddhist establishment in the Trans-Himalayas, dating back 1000 years. Ghuen also straddles an ancient trading route over which spices, wool, salt, precious stones and sugar moved between India and Tibet. Monks and high lamas frequented this route.

Local legends say, about 600 years ago when Ghuen was troubled by scorpions, the monk, Sangha Tenzin, squatted down to mediate in the prescribed manner, after asking his disciples to entomb him. It is believed when his soul left the body, a rainbow appeared across the sky and scorpions mysteriously vanished from the village.

(Anuj Singh, a nomadic photographer, tells you about his find.)


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: buddhism; buddhist; godsgravesglyphs; india; lama
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1 posted on 03/04/2004 7:38:45 PM PST by AM2000
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To: AM2000
Are we certain that this is NOT Hitlery before her makeup is applied?
2 posted on 03/04/2004 7:40:30 PM PST by Howie66 ("America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people.")
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To: MeekOneGOP
He's dead, Jim!
3 posted on 03/04/2004 7:42:29 PM PST by JoJo Gunn (Intellectuals exist only if you believe they do. )
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To: JoJo Gunn
That's trekker not trekkie.
4 posted on 03/04/2004 7:45:16 PM PST by Tribune7 (Vote Toomey April 27)
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To: AM2000
Looks like he kept an eye out for evil spirits. Oooga-booga.
5 posted on 03/04/2004 7:47:01 PM PST by Hank Rearden (Never let your life be directed by people who could only get government jobs.)
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To: Tribune7
I have to admit, that was my first thought as well!

I lack the knowledge to ping the glyphs list, but hopefully someone else can.
6 posted on 03/04/2004 7:52:26 PM PST by Steelerfan
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To: Tribune7
Is there a difference?
7 posted on 03/04/2004 7:55:29 PM PST by JoJo Gunn (Intellectuals exist only if you believe they do. )
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To: Howie66
"Are we certain that this is NOT Hitlery before her makeup is applied?"

That was uncalled for.

What do you have against mummified monks?
8 posted on 03/04/2004 8:03:35 PM PST by Redcoat LI ("If you're going to shoot,shoot,don't talk" Tuco BenedictoPacifico Juan Maria Ramirez)
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To: Tribune7
Fascinating..
9 posted on 03/04/2004 8:04:35 PM PST by Preech1 (There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.)
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To: AM2000
Interesting. I wonder if this monk would be considered a tulpa in Tibetan buddhism.
10 posted on 03/04/2004 8:16:46 PM PST by sergeantdave (Gen. Custer wore an Arrowsmith shirt to his last property owner convention.)
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To: AM2000
Sloppy reporting.

"It kept the monk in an upright position and enabled him to focus on his meditation. If he relaxed, the restrainer knot would have tightened around his neck, cutting off oxygen supply and suffocating awakening him... It was essentially to keep him in a good posture. (and awake)"

It is believed when his soul consciousness left the body, a rainbow appeared across the sky and scorpions mysteriously vanished from the village.

Looks like Sangha fell asleep on the job!

11 posted on 03/04/2004 8:27:08 PM PST by TigersEye (Carrying a gun is a social obligation.)
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To: sergeantdave
What is a tulpa?
12 posted on 03/04/2004 8:30:37 PM PST by TigersEye (Carrying a gun is a social obligation.)
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To: farmfriend
(( ping ))
13 posted on 03/04/2004 8:33:05 PM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: AM2000
About 20+ years ago, NBC did a 12-hour miniseries called "Marco Polo". It was very well done and included a visit up to one of the caves where a certain man, called "the Immortal" spent his time meditating, and at one point, he said, because of his inertia and diet, he was "slowly becoming a mummy". He looked about like the guy in this photo, too. Does anyone else remember the miniseries? I'm glad I recorded it on the first VCR I ever owned; it has been unobtainable ever since. Either NBC or Rai Television Italiano yanked it from the light of day.
14 posted on 03/04/2004 9:03:20 PM PST by Migraine (my grain is pretty straight today)
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To: Migraine
There is a technique through diet whereby eastern monks mummify themselves while still alive.
15 posted on 03/04/2004 10:56:38 PM PST by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
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To: Lancey Howard; *Gods, Graves, Glyphs; A.J.Armitage; abner; adam_az; AdmSmith; Alas Babylon!; ...
Gods, Graves, Glyphs
List for articles regarding early civilizations , life of all forms, - dinosaurs - etc.
Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from this ping list.
16 posted on 03/04/2004 10:57:29 PM PST by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
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To: All
Who's in the moood for jerky??!!
17 posted on 03/04/2004 11:00:27 PM PST by Porterville (random acts of kindness? Hate free zones? Kindness is in every act of hate I do.)
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To: AM2000
Trekker finds Buddhist Lama mummy in a mountain hideaway in North India

He's dead, Jim

18 posted on 03/05/2004 3:39:16 AM PST by Oztrich Boy (Despise not the jester. Often he is the only one telling the truth)
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To: AM2000
I'm a big fan of Victor Mair, he has an excellent book titled, The Tarim Mummies, about Caucasian mummies found in China. Here are some more of his discoveries.

The Curse Of The Red-Headed Mummy

19 posted on 03/05/2004 6:16:37 AM PST by blam
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To: AM2000
Could be one of Billy Goat Clinton's squeezes.
20 posted on 03/05/2004 6:18:48 AM PST by JesseHousman (Execute Mumia Abu-Jamal)
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