Sitting in the lotus position, the mummy fits within the statue perfectly.
“On the outside, it looks like a large statue of Buddha,” the museum said in a release. “Scan research has shown that on the inside, it is the mummy of a Buddhist monk who lived around the year 1100.”
Glowing through the statue’s golden cast, the human skeleton is believed to belong to Buddhist master Liuquan, a member of the Chinese Meditation School.
To further investigate the mummy, the researchers took the statue to the Meander Medical Center in Amersfoort and carried out an endoscopy and additional CT scans.
They found out that Liuquan’s internal organs had been removed.
“The mummified body hidden inside the buddhist statue is sitting on a roll of cloth,” Buddhism expert Erik Bruijn told Discovery News. “On this cloth are Chinese characters written in black ink, mentioning the name of the venerable monk: Liuquan,” he added.
According to Bruijn, the name means “Six Perfections.”
“It refers to the virtues perfected by a being who seeks buddhahood through the systematic practice of the six perfect virtues but renounces complete entry into nirvana until all beings are saved,” Bruijn said.
The museum speculates Liu Quan Liuquan may have “self-mummified” in order to become a “living Buddha.”
Practiced mainly in Japan, self-mummification was a grueling process that required a monk to follow a strict 1,000-day diet of nuts and seeds in order to strip the body of fat. A diet of bark and roots would follow for another 1,000 days.