To avoid doubt:
To avoid doubt:
Monks Not Dead.
I feel happy…!
Some say he will meditate forever.
Oh, don’t be such a baby.
I’ll bet HE didn’t take any vaccines…
“You Are The One”
If you’re filled with affection you’re too shy to convey,
meditate in my direction.
Feel your way.
– ancient Buddhist text
“Get the gimp.”
“Well, wake him up!”
Behold - the fascinating me-shaped hole in the universe!
I think this is just a translation error. Tukdam means “to be dead while in the meditating position”, doesn’t it?
That is, being dead is a necessary prerequisite. He’s not “not dead, only meditating”, he’s dead by definition but also, and this is the thing that’s noteworthy, dead and mummified in the position he had in death, which was meditating. Tukdam.
John, I’m only trancing.
Well, in Tibetan terms, if he hasn’t achieved the transcendent body of heavenly light by now, he’s probably not going to. But it wouldn’t hurt to sprinkle some saffron on him and stick him back in an unused cave or monastery cupboard for another 300 years, just in case he’s a bit slow on the job.
The good news is that he has a pretty good shot of keeping up his deep meditation.
Kidding aside, this reminds me of a fascinating thing I never got a chance to see in Japan:
Darn it, I wanted to say that…
Came for this, left satisfied
His enlightened aura just induced in me a sudden inexplicable craving for beef jerky.
Barry Kerzin. Barry!?
As I understand it, a monk in tukdam isn’t considered alive, exactly, just not quite dead. It’s more like the physical body has stopped working, but the spirit is still present enough to prevent some decay. At least according to this, you’re not supposed to touch someone in that state or make noise around them, which likely precludes running medical tests on people supposedly in this state.
Damn. How did I miss the juxtaposition of the headline with the photo?
“Mummified monk not dead, just trancing”