Immortal aspiration and Vietnam’s embalmment techniques Secret in a small temple The mummy of Buddhist monk Nhu Tri.
Tieu temple is situation in Tuong Giang commune, Bac Ninh province, around 20km from Hanoi. The temple was built in the early Le dynasty, called Thien Tam. The temple was the place where well-known venerable Van Hanh practiced Buddhism and taught King Ly Cong Uan, who moved the capital from Hoa Lu to Thang Long, or today’s Hanoi.
Anyone who has visited the temple cannot forget Buddhist nun Dam Chinh. Over 60 years ago, when she was a 17-year-old girl, Dam Chinh began practicing Buddhism at Tieu temple. 1971 was a rainy year. Trees grew bushy, covering towers in the temple’s campus. Nuns had to use ladders to climb up towers to cut off roots that covered towers.
While doing that task on Vien Tue tower, Dam Chinh saw a brick that carved the name of the body of the Buddhist monk inside the tower and the year that he passed away. Through a fracture, she saw a person sitting in Zen posture but the nun kept secret and covered the fracture.
Until 1996, she reported to Venerable Thich Thanh Tu, who practiced at Truc Lam Monastery in Da Lat city, during his visit to Tieu temple. The Venerable then told Dr. Nguyen Lan Cuong about the mummy.
According to information carved on a brick on the tower, the monk inside the tower was Buddhist monk Nhu Tri. The tower was built in 1723. There was no information about the monk in historical books but according to some literary works, Nhu Tri and some monks were assistants to Venerable monk Chan Nguyen to copy some Buddhist books in the Tran dynasty.
Venerable monk Thich Thong Phuong from the Truc Lam Yen Tu Monastery, a center of Vietnamese Buddhism, said that Nhu Tri was a disciple of Venerable monk Chan Nguyen, who restored Truc Lam Zen Buddhism and practiced Buddhism at the Truc Lam Yen Tu Monastery. There is a stone-made tower to honor the monk in Yen Tu, called Tich Quang.
Venerable Thich Thong Phuong said that the mummy of Nhu Tri proved the pinnacle of Truc Lam Zen Buddhism.
On March 5, 2003, the mummy of monk Nhu Tri was taken out of the tower – his tomb. Because of humidity, his forearm broke. There were egg shells of insects on the mummy and the terra-cotta lotus support.
It is special that the mummy was not gilded by silver or gold but think bronze pieces, which worked as props. When Dr. Cuong repaired the statue he discovered a piece of hard material which was as big as a grapefruit in the statue’s stomach.
The material was tested by scientists at the Institute for Natural Sciences and Technology, which revealed that it was the viscera.
After the statue was restored, it was placed back into the tower and preserved by modern techniques. Secret of self-embalmment
The restore mummy of Buddhist monk Chuyet Chuyet in Phat Tich temple is another evidence
for the special embalmment method of Vietnamese monks. After the monk passed away,
followers used bronze wires to set up the body in the Zen posture. After that, they covered
the body by sawdust, clothes, Vietnamese varnish, etc.
The statue had been broken in to 324 pieces, including 133 pieces of bones and 209 pieces
of materials, before it was restored. The statue was restored by Geraximov method.
According to Buddhism, dead people who leave things that are not destroyed after incineration are called “xa loi” (Buddha remains). Xa loi are very special, for example the tongue of Duy Ca Mat, an Indian monk or the heart of Vietnamese monk Thich Quang Duc, left after he burned himself to protest the Saigon regime in south Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
Legends also tell that the Buddha left gems in five colors as his xa loi. These gems are not destroyed even in extremely high temperature.
It is said that for true monks, after reaching inner peace, they attain “ngu thong” or “luc thong.” Accordingly, they can hear extremely soft sounds or sounds from very far; they can see very small things from distance; and they can read the thought of others. However, the origin of Buddhism is not to reach “ngu thong” or luc thong but to escape from greediness, hatred and delusion to attain inner peace or enlightenment.
Once they acquire that level, there will have no borderline between the past and the presence. The secret for practicing self-embalmment is called “lua tam muoi” (Kundalini or corporeal energy).
What is Kundalini?
Kundalini literally means coiled. It is a "corporeal energy"- an unconscious, instinctive or libidinal force or Shakti, lies coiled at the base of the spine. It is envisioned either as a goddess or else as a sleeping serpent, hence a number of English renderings of the term such as 'serpent power'. The kundalini resides in the sacrum bone in three and a half coils and has been described as a residual power of pure desire.
Kundalini is described as a sleeping, dormant potential force in the human organism. It is one of the components of an esoteric description of the 'subtle body', which consists of nadis (energy channels), chakras (psychic centers), prana (subtle energy), and bindu (drops of essence).
Kundalini is described as being coiled up at the base of the spine, usually within muladhara chakra. The image given is that of a serpent coiled three and a half times around a smokey grey lingam. Each coil is said to represent one of the three gunas, with the half coil signifying transcendence.
Through meditation, and various esoteric practices, such as Kundalini Yoga, Sahaja Yoga, and Kriya Yoga, the kundalini is awakened, and can rise up through the central nadi, called sushumna, that rises up inside or alongside the spine. The progress of kundalini through the different chakras leads to different levels of awakening and mystical experience, until the kundalini finally reaches the top of the head, Sahasrara chakra, producing an extremely profound mystical experience that is said to be indescribable.
The kundalini rises from muladhara chakra up a subtle channel at the base of the spine (called Sushumna), and from there to top of the head merging with the sahasrara, or crown chakra. When kundalini Shakti is conceived as a goddess, then, when it rises to the head, it unites itself with the Supreme Being. Then the aspirant becomes engrossed in deep meditation and infinite bliss.
The arousing of kundalini is the one and only way of attaining Divine Wisdom. Self-Realization is said to be equivalent to Divine Wisdom or Gnosis or what amounts to the same thing: self-knowledge. The awakening of the kundalini shows itself as "awakening of inner knowledge" and brings with itself "pure joy, pure knowledge and pure love."
The pinnacle of practicing kundalini is self-burning fat in the practitioner’s body and leaving only the parts that are immortal. When monks burn the last drop of energy in their bodies, that’s the time they leave this world. But their bodies are not decomposed and become immortal.
It is said that before he died, Buddhist monk Vu Khac Minh prepared a small temple on a mountain. Before entering the temple, he told his followers: Bring a jar of water and a jar of oil into the temple for me. Whenever you do not heard the sound of my wooden bell, let’s open the temple’s door. If you see my body to be disintegrated, let’s bury the temple, otherwise, you should use varnish to cover my body.”
Experts said that the monk reached the pinnacle of meditation and he used the kundalini energy to enter the nothingness.
The energy inside human beings is still a secret. The mummies of Vietnamese Buddhist monks have revealed part of the secret and proved that the human beings own a limitless energy and the aspiration to become immortal has been existed for centuries in Vietnam. PTT