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1,000-year-old Buddhist statue revealed to have skeleton of a monk inside

THIS is the mummified remains of a Buddhist monk encased inside a 1,000-year-old ancient statue.

Scientists scanned a Buddha statue and made the grisly discovery, when they saw bones clearly in the position of a meditating master.

It is thought to be the remains of Zhang - known as Patriarch Zhanggong and Liuquan Zhanggong - who belonged to the Chinese Meditation School and died around 1100AD.

Samples were taken from inside the statue in 2015 - where instead of organs, scientists found rotten material and paper with ancient Chinese character prints.

The statue was allegedly stolen more than 20 years ago by a Dutch antique collector, and now community leaders in Yangchun Village, east China, have asked for its return.

The master is believed to have carried out self mummification, in an ultra-religious move only practised by few. The aim was to become a living Buddha.

For the first 1,000 days monks stopped all food except nuts, seeds, and berries to strip body fat.

The next 1,000 days saw a diet of bark and roots before they consumed poisonous tea made from sap of the Urushi tree.

This caused vomiting and a rapid fluid loss and acted as a preservative to stop decay after death.

After six years of this, the monk would be locked in a small stone tomb with an air tube and a bell.

He would meditate in the lotus position until he died - signified when the bell stopped ringing.

The tomb would then be sealed for mummification before he became a Buddha.

Many practising Buddhists believe that mummies like this aren't dead but are in an advanced state of meditation.

Studies revealed this monk died at the age of 37 and his body showed signs of either disease or a prolonged period of abstinence.

However the fact that some of his organs had been removed and replaced by scrolls suggests he may not have carried out self mummification.

Mummy Mysteries documentary recounts the discovery of 'Tollund Man'

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