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Buddhist mummies, also called flesh body bodhisattvas, full body sariras, or living buddhas (Sokushinbutsu) refer to the bodies of Buddhist monks and nuns that remain incorrupt, without any traces of deliberate mummification by another party. Many were destroyed or lost to history. In 2015, the Hungarian Natural History Museum exhibited a Buddhist mummy hidden inside a statue of Buddha, during its first tour outside China.
It is a common method in China. Some covered the bodies with clay or salt. According to Victor H. Mair in the Discovery Channel series The Mystery of the Tibetan Mummy, the self-mummification of a Tibetan monk, who died ca. 1475 and whose body was retrieved relatively incorrupt in the 1990s, was achieved by the sophisticated practices of meditation, coupled with prolonged starvation and slow self-suffocation using a special belt that connected the neck with his knees in a lotus position. Ascetic monks (Sokushinbutsu) in Japan practiced nyūjō (入定), which caused their own death by adhering to a wood eating diet consisting of salt, nuts, seeds, roots, pine bark, and urushi tea. They were then buried alive in a pine-wood box full of salt connected by a tube for air, and would ring a bell signaling they were alive. When the bell stopped ringing, the air tube would be removed. Japan banned unburying in 1879, and assisted suicide—including religious suicide—is now illegal.
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