Fact Check: Dead monk smiling even after a hundred years? No, here is the truth about the viral pic
Can a dead man smile?
Rohit Kumar, Editor: Well, we’re talking about someone who died a hundred years ago? Seems like stuff out of some horror movie. Right?
But if a picture being widely shared on social media is to be believed, a monk “whose body was mummified a century ago” is still smiling. It is being said that the monk could achieve this impossible feat as “he still remains in a deep state of meditation” even as his mummified body was discovered on the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
The caption to one such image posted on Twitter reads, “A mummified monk from around 100 years ago became news on websites around the world. According to some Buddhist, he’s still alive and is in a deep state of meditation. The body was found in the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.”
India Today Anti Fake News War Room (AFWA) has found that the claim along with the image is misleading. The image is that of revered monk Luang Phor Pian who died in November 2017 in Bangkok.
The archived versions of the post can be seen here and here.
With a reverse image search, we found that the image in question is that of a monk who died in 2017 after succumbing to an illness in a hospital in Bangkok, Thailand.
We found multiple media reports from 2018 which carried the same image.
According to a report by the Daily Mail, the monk in the image is revered monk Luang Phor Pian who died at the age of 92 on November 16, 2017, in a Bangkok hospital.
As per the report, the image was clicked when his body was removed from the coffin by his followers two months after he died. As part of a traditional Buddhist ceremony, his body was taken out in order to fit it with new robes.
Originally from Cambodia, monk Pian spent most of his life serving as a spiritual Buddhist guru in the central Thai province of Lopburi.
According to a report by British news site Metro, the monk’s body had not decayed and appeared in a state consistent with somebody who died not more than 36 hours ago.
Meanwhile, a two-centuries-old mummified monk was discovered in a lotus position in 2015 in Mongolia.
Forensic examinations on the remains suggested that the body was of a man who may have been a Lama, or a teacher of Tibetan Buddhism.
However, the image of this monk is different from the one that AFWA probed.