By May 28, 2013 58 Comments Read More →

Buddhist Monk Who Died in 1927 is ALIVE


Moscow, Russia — “Exhumation of the body of Hambo Lama Itigelov took place September 10 th, 2002 on the territory of cemetery near the city of Ulan Ude (Russian Federation). He died and was buried in 1927 and the exhumation was performed in presence of relatives, officials, and specialists”.

This was the information that appeared in Russian mass media regarding Buryat Lama who was exhumed from the grave in the beginning of the 21 st century. The grave contained a wooden box and there was a sitting Buddhist lama in ‘lotus’ pose. His body was preserved as if it was mummified, however it was not. Soft muscles and skin, folding joints. The body was covered with silk clothes and fabric.


Hambo Lama Itigelov is a real person quite well known in Russian history. He studied in Anninsky Datsan (Buddhist university in Buryatia, nowadays there are ruins only) and obtained degrees in medicine and philosophy (on the nature of emptiness), he created an encyclopedia of pharmacology.

In 1911 Itigelov became a Hambo Lama (the head of Buddhist church in Russia). During the period from 1913 till 1917 he participated in social actions of the Tsar, being invited to 300-year anniversary of Romanov’s house, opened the first Buddhist temple in St. Petersburg, and Nikolai II gave him St. Stanislav award on 19 th of March, 1917.

During the First World War Itigelov created and inspired the organization called “Buryat brothers”. He was helping the army with money, meals, clothes, medicaments, he also built a set of hospitals with lama doctors helping wounded soldiers. For that he got St. Anna award and others.

In 1926 Itigelov advised the Buddhist monks to leave Russia, since ‘the red teaching was coming’ (Itigelov himself never left Russia). In 1927, being 75, he told lamas to begin meditation, since he said he was preparing to die. Lamas did not want to perform this meditation because Itigelov was still alive. Thus, Itigelov began to meditate by himself, lamas joined him and soon he died.

Ititgelov left a testament where he asked to bury him as he was, sitting in lotus pose in the cedar box on traditional cemetery. It was done. There was also a statement, where he asked other monks to exhume him after several years. (This is the exciting point – this means he knew that his body would be preserved).

This was done in 1955 and in 1973 by Buddhist monks but they were scared to tell everybody about this, since communist regime did not leave any space for religion in society. Only in 2002 the body was finally exhumed and transferred to Ivolginsky Datsan (a residence of today’s Hambo Lama) where it was closely examined by monks and, which is now more important, by scientists and pathologists.

The official statement was issued about the body – very well preserved, without any signs of decay, whole muscles and inner tissue, soft joints and skin. The interesting thing is that the body was never embalmed or mummified.

Two years passed. Itigelov’s body is now kept open air, in contact with other people, without any temperature or humidity regimes. How Itigelov keeps this condition, nobody knows.

While similar stories exist throughout the world, this is the ONLY WELL-DOCUMENTED and CONFIRMED CASE OF IMPERISHABLE BODY throughout the whole world. Embalming and mummifying is well known among different nations and peoples – Chili (Chinchora), Egypt mummies, Christian Saints, communist leaders and others. Some bodies were found in permafrost, however when they contacted with oxygen atmosphere they perished within several hours.

However, there are descriptions of such things in Buddhist texts, but there are no confirmed examples. Well, now there is.

For two years after the exhumation of Itigilov’s body it does not perish nor decay, no fungus, no negative things happen to it. Itigelov said before he died that he left a message to all peoples on Earth. This message contains no words. Now it is our turn to understand it.


58 Comments on "Buddhist Monk Who Died in 1927 is ALIVE"

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    • Naziri says:

      Well yes, no doubt more dead than alive. But that’s still remarkable preservation for not having been mummified and having died in 1927. Even more interesting is that he seemed to know that would happen and thus called for his own exhumation to demonstrate it.

  1. Reggie Bernard says:

    Very much a stretch of the imagination to associate the image with the headline. Misleading but a curious tale all the same. Clearly the monk is very far from being alive and while any unusual decay on the part of body raises interesting questions, it’s more about how the body was preserved initially and what rituals were used rather than any godly powers being employed. It makes little difference that he asked to be exhumed – which is again, no doubt part of a specific ritual. Hardly non-perishable when you see the more recent photo of the monk.

    • Naziri says:

      Indeed, headlines are a tricky thing. You have so much space to say something along the lines of what the article is about. “Alive” in this sense implies that there is something else going on beyond the body. Buddhism teaches life after death, life after life, and of course reincarnation. The sense of him being “alive” indicates that something beyond his body kept the body “alive.” While that certainly is not proven by the article, the article is meant to intrigue and get the reader to think outside of the box, ask questions and wonder.

      • Robert says:

        Think outside the box, good one.

        Well that is very difficult for most people.
        They put up with being fed GMO food and wonder why they are sick fat and unhealthy.
        So seeing this just makes them run a mile.
        Nice article. Thank you

    • Non-believer says:

      Actually it has nothing to do with how the body was preserved initially, and has everything to do with what “Godly” powers are sustaining it.

    • coyotegene says:

      Why are you so adamant to deny anything spiritual in reality? You and so many like yourselves deny your own nature in such an arrogant way it’s dizzying.
      There is a higher than physical reality and we are all interacting with it, conscious of it or not, it is a part of our reality.
      Call it God, Heaven, Hell, limbo, Nirvana, whatever people want dosen’t change the fact that you are more spirit than flesh. Yet you just want to be flesh. How quaint a notion. If only we were just that. Life would be much more simple.
      No, we are not and we have to face our natural state or perish.
      Those who embrace what they are will not perish. As is the message of this monk.
      The future will not allow those who deny their spirit to go forth into it. It is the way of the universe.
      Embrace who you are.
      Peace be upon you.

      • drlagarda says:

        “There is a higher than physical reality and we are all interacting with it, conscious of it or not, it is a part of our reality.”

        Prove that “higher” reality please, ill leave my arrogance a side and believe what you say. Are you willing to do the same thing if i prove you wrong?

      • If I may..

        Everyone knows beauty as beauty
        because they know ugliness,
        knows good as good
        by knowing bad.

        So it goes: life and death
        beget each other, hard
        makes easy and vice-versa,
        high and low arise by
        contrast, long and short
        are co-configured, sound
        and silence make the music,
        before and after follow
        from each other.

        Therefore the wise practice inaction,
        teach without talking about it.

        Everything comes to pass
        in its time, dynamic
        and unauthored, proceeding
        despite expectations.
        Take what happens
        naturally, go on:
        no one knows how or why,
        it lasts forever.

        – Verse 2 from the Tao Te Ching

        Let be what is, and allow things to happen as they will. Your road lies before you – You’ll never walk it whilst gazing at the roads around you, that are not connected to you.

      • Gustavo Enriquez L. Sherab. says:

        “Nirvana” is NOT a place… even not a mistical, place (like hell, or heaven, or valhalla)… in budhist tradition is more like a state of the mind!

        • Niru says:

          This is the true meaning of Nirvana according to the Buddhism……

          The word literally means “blown out” (as in a candle) and refers, in the Buddhist context, to the imperturbable stillness of mind after the fires of desire, aversion, and delusion have been finally extinguished.

      • Stephen says:

        I like how you think. Spirit is the strongest tie we have to each other and the cosmos. Think of how much knowledge is available to us yet a small child can look to the sky at night and be just as awed by what it sees as any adult. The child knows very little but it’s spirit is already fully developed. The spirit is what really carries us through life and beyond. It is who we are. I know this is a rather simple statement but maybe life can be simple too if we held spirit above everything else. Our birth right. Kindness is my way of dealing with most people. I know there is more. Just because I am.
        Peace be upon you too.

    • Hugh Churchward says:

      That any rituals could contribute to the preservation of his body is pretty extraordinary in itself. Your question does raise the interesting question of what you mean by ‘godly powers’. If you mean a guy, or gal, somewhere directing earthly movements that is indeed hard to believe. But the article doesn’t say that at all. It does raise the interesting question though, which you raise yourself with the comment about ritual, of what else is going on that we, as rational, western, even scientific thinkers can’t make sense of how his body hasn’t decayed but remains soft and supple. This is really fascinating stuff.

  2. Raven says:

    This is not the only known case. Catholics have the Incorruptible Saints. Interesting phenomenon but not singular

  3. Diana Chen says:

    This is totally not the only case. There are more than than 10 cases in China through out the history. A recent one:

  4. Lina says:

    What about the Christian Saints? Yes, it is a surprise for a buddhist to look like that after al these years, but in Christianity this case would not be a miracle :)

    • suneth says:

      see friend, when you believe divine thins and miracles as truth, you wont be seen any divine and miracles, Buddhism is ideologically different form Christianity, which the Christianity fully based on blind miracles.

  5. lesley says:

    Sorry, but your christian saints were mummified. Hardly the same thing -:

    As Fulcheri gently lifted the hem of her dress up over her legs, all those assembled began to murmur. Several long incisions streaked along her thighs; other, deeper cuts ran along her abdomen and chest. Clearly made after death, they had been sewn shut with a whipstitch in coarse black thread. Saint Margaret had been artificially mummified.
    The pathologists who examined Margaret’s body later unearthed ecclesiastical records that told the whole story: the people of her town had asked the church to embalm her when she died. This had been done, with remarkable thoroughness. But the records of this fact had been lost, and over time, people forgot the circumstances of her preservation and simply began to assume that it was a miracle.

  6. kbb says:

    yogananda in usa and various Buddhists in se asia….

  7. This is nothing New , Our Sri Vaishnavite Guru Sri Ramanuja’s Body is still preserved and it is not mummified. you can see the nails etc without deteriorating. Sri Ramanuja Boday is there in Sriragam Temple outter Prakaram. The link to visual treat is

  8. Dan says:

    This phenomenon is spoken of in taoist circles also. Note that the monk in question was a master of herbal pharmacology. There’s your clue.

    Supposedly, Communist Chinese discovered the preserved bodies of ancient taoist monks high in a mountain cave, who were thought to be alive and in a state of deep meditation. The Commies burned them.

    Buddhists believe that all is mind. By mastering the mind, one may master the body, and matter itself. I’ve seen enough “high strangeness” among these people to have my formerly materialist view altered irrevocably. If you’re a die-hard materialist, as Communists are, such things are very threatening.

  9. John Josey Jr says:

    The message left is more important. Even though no words would help one understand. Not everyone will or can comprehend the level of mind, body, soul connection the ALL have but lay dormant. Strive to understand YOUR own purpose in this time/space/experience moment, because really that is all we have. The NOW.

  10. debruycker edgard says:

    We have St. Bernadette Soubiru(?) The Lourdes France Visionary of our Blessed Lady who appeared to Bernadette 18 times and was told to scratch in the corner of a cave to open a spring of Miraculous water ( My WIFE WAS HEALED THERE FROM A NASTE WARTLIKE GROWTH THAT OVER TIME HAD GROWN TO A DOLLAR SIZE, AND THAT NO KOREAN OR CHINESE MEDICINES WERE ABLE TO CURE. I KIND OF BRAGGED “Wash your hands with that water and you will be OK. and to my astonishment by the time we drove home that growth was gone.
    Her body was interred without any preservations or embalming yet 30 years after her death, her body was exhumed and found incorrupt, just like she was asleep.
    There is also St. Theresa of Lissieux ( the Little Flower) SOMEONE SEND ME A PICTURE OF HER WITH A PRAYER AT THE END.
    mY cOMPUTER WENT ON THE BLINK AND i HAD SOME IMPORTANT BIBLE LESSONS TO PREPARE. I sat at my computer and prayed to St, Theresa for help, nothing happened. Finally I went to a CYBER CAFFEE and typed up the work I was supposed to prepare. When I was done suddenly the screen went blue and A message appeared” SOMEONE ELSE THINKS YOU DESERVE A BOUQETTE OF ROSES” i ASKED THE ATTENDANT IF I COULD PRINT THAT AND HE( having no clue what took place) HELPED ME WITH THAT SINCE THIS WAS A JAPANESE KEYBOARD. I still have that message in a folder, wish I could tag it on here. ST THERESA’s Body lies incorrupt in a christal sarchopagus in the BASSILIC of LISSIEUX and when the Church was bombed by the (g)ERMANS I believe that her display case was cracked but her body to this day remains intact.

  11. debruycker edgard says:

    Please inform me of any comments, ed

  12. harebeat says:

    In 2009, I visited the Ivolginsky Buddhist monastery where his body is kept, but unfortunately, I wasn’t lucky enough to see him. If I am not mistaken, the doors of Hambo Lama’s Palace are open for anyone only 4 times a year on special occasions.

  13. Not convinced says:

    well his nose is gone. did nobody notice that one

  14. anonomyssy says:

    Respectfully, maybe ignorantly, while I find this very interesting, does it not go beyond “non attachment”? Aren’t we to let go? And now what to do with this old body?

  15. haragopal says:

    we have such a case in india where a vaishnava saint sri ramanujacharya’s body is kept in open place in srirangam temple in south india. he died in 11century. his body is also in padmasana pose.

  16. There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
    – Hamlet

  17. mike hunt says:

    when you truly meditate, however that may be. The frequencys of your body change and the cells of your body are thriving towards their true potential. It is possible that because of the time he spent meditating led up to this series of events. We do not yet know fully what the capabilitys and “godly” powers we possess are as a human being. We are trapped by past conditionings that have been passed down to us through society. Maybe after humans evolve together we will have longer lifespans…. just an idea

  18. RLan says:

    Hi, this is indeed not the only case but a photograph makes it more visual. Important is to know science has not yet a good answer what “alive” is, although a lot scientists will claim the answer is complete, in fact it is not.
    But science is ever progressing and is coming closer and closer. The recent findings that f.e. DNA is a quantum system (and thus the possibility to fit this in the unified field theory), makes all these phenomena less and less ‘strange’. But it does mean that our world image will have to change fundamentally (actually for both atheists as for the most religious people).
    This also means there is still a lot of knowledge and wisdom to learn for us!
    Thanks a lot for sharing

    • Ivy says:

      Just because his body hasn’t fully deteriorated yet, you want to redefine the word “alive”? Seems a little rash. He’s obviously way dead, his body is even partially decomposed.

  19. Rob says:

    Most importantly, almost a century after his death, dialogue is still continuing.


  20. Julie Kelly says:

    I believe this very much. From a Tibetan Buddhist viewpoint this is highly possible, the consciousness takes time to leave the body after death and there is a time period in which it is believed this may happen but if there is indeed a Tibetan Lama who after all these years has not decomposed, then it mat be that the timescale is much longer. There are some people on the earth today who are ‘dead whilst alive’ depressed, angry, negative and this must go into the skin tissues and sit there causing arthritis, skin problems etc. The Tibetan Lama would not live like this, they do not have this mindset so I believe this story wholeheartedly.

  21. Julie Kelly says:

    absolutely this is not the only case of this type involving Tibetan monks and lamas.

  22. Phub Dorji Wang says:

    I fully agree on the report. It is possible with highly accomplished buddhist monk or Lama. In Bhutan our late Je Khenpo (Head of the Buddhist religion), Geshey Gendun Rinchen body who had expired in the year 1997 is still intact. More than a week in tukdum (meditation) Gendun Rinchen’s body still remained in upright meditation posture, although the warmth in his chest had left. As parts of his body had been warm for some days after he stopped breathing, doctors had decided not to treat the body with any medicinal ointments or salts. After the body had gone cold, monk attendants and doctors noted that there was no rigourmortous, decomposition or odour to the body. It was known that Gendun Rinchen was an accomplished meditator, but for his body to show such uncommon signs was something that was truly extraordinary. That his body, or kundung, was not decomposing but rather remaining in mediation posture well after his mind had departed was a sign that he had purified the very elements of his corporeal body through meditation.
    Some years later, Gendun Rinchen’s body was taken from the house where he died and placed in a golden reliquary (chorten) in the Zhabdrung Temple in the Tashicho Palace in Thimphu.
    Still his body although shrink is still intact without any sign of decay.

  23. not important says:

    i think i see salt in some of the photos online. hmm. can anyone verify if he was packed in salt or prepared in some form or another?

  24. trisha says:

    As always, humans are missing the point. You aren’t looking at the actual miracle, you are looking everywhere but THERE.

  25. Sheng Sun says:

    If they had exhumed the body earlier as instructed by the Lama himself, he might actually had a chance to be revitalized.

  26. Sheng Sun says:

    this can be interpreted through basic understanding of quantum physics, if energy/ frequency generated by sound wave is possible to shape water molecule, it is possible to utilize the energy created by the brain wave in the state of meditation in its one of many applications to repel impurity on a sub-atomic level thus cleansing the body from adversarial substances as well as to structure the foundation block of your body on the sub-atomic level; in addition the adherence to the strict dietary routine and regular sleep pattern can attribute greatly to the preservation of physical structure of one’s body due to the atonement with the cosmic energy pattern. To dig deeper, the issue becomes of immensely interesting, it becomes a matter regarding the relationship between the soul and the physical body; since our body are constructed with Fermion which can only occupy a single dimension, the holding force is generated by Boson which itself can occupy multi-dimension, in simpler term, beyond the scope of the simple matter that the soul not only can shape physical body, it can exist on different dimension rather than being tied to one physical body, this brings the question, is the soul act as a singularity form of consciousness but of which is going in and out of the collective consciousness (imagine the ‘in’ state of the singularity form of consciousness is when physical entity dies and returns to the collective consciousness, and the ‘out’ state is when the singularity form of consciousness detach itself from the collective consciousness and becoming the governing force of a living entity) which itself is the animating force of all entities, deeper question is, if it is so, how can the soul decide which entity it posses, whether it be a tree, a person, or a pig; is this the foundation for the “mythical” concept of karma and reincarnation?

  27. Jhon says:

    I’m a buddhist but I usually don’t believe in magic and supernatural. One of my master monks told that he been given flowers, put half of them near the Buddha statue and half at his home. The ones with the buddha perish in double time. So i tried with little oranges at home with a little buddha statue, and it works. I have dried that way 4 oranges and lemons with no fungus or decay. I don’t know what it is, perhaps it’s normal, but they are dried, and oranges in any other part of my house always rot in less time.

  28. Mike Power says:

    In fact there are many well documented cases like this. Search and you’ll find dozens of nuns, priests and saints displayed in churches all over the world. In addition exhumation often reveals bodies, clothing and hair which are all well preserved. There is no great mystery involved. Science is capable of explaining it and we don’t need recourse to a god or spiritual force. Sorry if that disappoints some people here.

  29. Dag A Torp says:

    “Throughout history, every mystery, ever solved has turned out to be… Not Magic!”

    Tim Minchin – Storm

  30. No Name says:

    Let the people whom chose to walk around with their third eye closed remain in such a state. It is but a burden to try and convince those which are not connected and capable of seeing the truth. If the truth comes to then, then they will realize and will be worthy of such knowledge, but either way they will know eventually.


  31. david says:

    be nice to each other please!:)

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