When is a dead person not dead? If that sounds like a Zen riddle, wait until you hear the answer: When they are in a state of deep meditation. Last week the mummified body of a Buddhist monk was discovered in Mongolia. The monk’s remains – dating from the mid-1800s – were found still sitting in the lotus position and covered in cattle skins.
Now the Dalai Lama’s personal physician says the monk is actually still alive. Dr Barry Kerzin says the monk is in a meditative state called “tukdam” and is very close to becoming a Buddha. For the monk’s sake I hope Kerzin is correct about the Buddha thing; after being frozen since the nineteenth century, you would need to have an awful lot of enlightenment to deal with the last couple of hundred years of history … not to mention the existence of the Kardashians.