(This article was originally done in Bengali by Paromita Das)
A picture of what appears to be an aged Buddhist monk in saffron robes being held upright by medical professionals is going viral on social media. Users sharing the image claimed that the monk is 201 years old and was discovered in a deep state of meditation in a cave in the mountains of Nepal. Newschecker found this claim to be untrue.
The image has been shared on Facebook by user ‘Rajesh Baraya’ along with the caption ‘A Tibetan monk has been discovered in the mountains of Nepal. He is considered the oldest person in the world at 201 years old. He is in a state of deep trance or meditation called “takatet.” When he was first discovered in a mountain cave they thought he was a mummy. However scientists examining what they thought was a mummy discovered that he had vital signs and was alive!’
The Facebook post is available here.
Newschecker found that similar claims with similar captions have been shared in the past.
Fact Check /Verification
We started our investigation by conducting a reverse search on the viral image and found a news report by The Sun titled SMILING DOWN ON US Dead Buddhist monk ‘smiles’ after his body was removed from his coffin two months after he died uploaded on 22nd January, 2018 on their website.
According to the report, revered monk Luang Phor Pian died aged 92 on November 16, 2017 after succumbing to illness in a hospital in Thailand’s capital of Bangkok.
Originally from Cambodia, Pian spent the majority of his life serving as a well-known spiritual and Buddhist guru in the central Thai province of Lopburi, where his body was returned following his passing.
A few months after his death, according to Buddhist custom, his followers went to his tomb to change his clothes. His followers removed his body from his coffin, which had been kept at the temple where he served, and were shocked to find his body had not decayed. Amazingly, Pian also appeared to be smiling, which ended in followers snapping pictures of the incredible moment and sharing it to social media.
The image of a 201 year old monk claimed to be discovered alive in a Tibetan cave, was actually of a revered monk, Luang Phor Pian, who died aged 92 on November 16, 2017 and was exhumed from his coffin to change his clothes as the custom dictates.
The Sun report, SMILING DOWN ON US Dead Buddhist monk ‘smiles’ after his body was removed from his coffin two months after he died (22nd January, 2018)
Metro report, Buddhist monk ‘still smiling’ two months after his death (22nd January, 2018)
Daily Mail report, The grin reaper: Buddhist monk appears to SMILE as his body is exhumed two months after his death so his clothes can be changed in Thailand (22nd January, 2018)
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