Living Body of Hambo Lama Itygelov
Stay pure living in this muddy sea in this dangerous and murky time…
The richness that was gained and kept madly will lose its value and will turn into
the special poison…
Having studied the material life dispassionately, begin to practice
“The Ten Good Deeds” today, without delay”
– Hambo-Lama Ityghelov
In the 20s Hambo-Lama Ityghelov warned his countrymates that very soon they would face hard times: the temples would be destroyed, and cattle would be kept in them, lamas and believers would be prosecuted, arrested, imprisoned and killed.
“But they will not be able to catch me” – said Lama. (Notes: socialistic revolution started in Russia in 1917 and red terror spread throughout the country and reached Buryat area by 1922-23)
On the 15th of June 1927 Ityghelov declared to the disciples about his decision to leave this world and ordered them to exhume his body out of the ground in 30 years and examine it. Then he asked them to start chanting a prayer “good wish to the dead” and then taking a lotus-pose had started to meditate. The disciples didn’t dare to chant the prayer to the alive teacher, and seeing them hesitating Lama started to chant it himself. The disciples had joined the chanting and continued it. After a couple of days, having made sure that the Teacher showed no signs of life, they buried him in the community’s cemetery as he ordered.
Soon, after Ityghelov had left, the mass communistic robbering of datsans started along with mass arrests of lamas and believers. Lamas and believers hid the relics, but most of the relics were destroyed or robbed by bolsheviks. In Aninsky datsan (the main datsan of Buryatia, where Lama Ityghelov spent for 20 years) the central Temple were exploded, later in its ruins the cattle slaughter-house was arranged!
In 1944 Stalin gave a permission for temples restorations and Ivolghinsky datsan was the first to be restored on that place. It became the residence of Buryatian Buddhists; believers brought there the saved books, papers and relics there.
According to the order of Lama Ityghelov, in 1955, secretly, lama XVII Pandido Hambo-Lama Darmaev accompanied by other lamas exhumed the sarcophagus with the Ityghelov’s body. After making sure that the body was in good condition, they had dressed it in new garments, put it into the wooden sarcophagus, filled with salt and put it back into the ground.
In 1973 Pandido Hambo-Lama Gomboev with other lamas had repeated the same procedure: they checked the body’s state, renewed the dressing and put it back into the ground.
On 10.09.2002 XXIV Pandido Hambo Lama Damba Ayushev with other lamas have exhumed sarcophagus and after having done special rituals moved it into Ivolghin Datsan. It took about 2-3 years to take this decision after in 2000 one lama had seen Ityghelov in the meditation, and Ityghelov asked to exhumed his body.
After the body was exhumed, it was kept under the examination and control of the best Russian experts and morbid anatomists of the leading Russian institutions. There are lots of amazing and striking comments and analysis results of different experts, who agree in one: the body of Ityghelov looks as if he died 12 hours ago: the skin is elastic, veins are movable, but only the blood became like jelly. Some of them said that touching the lama’s hands they felt that they were warmer that their own hands.
Samples of Lama’s hair (that fell from his head), some scrubbed skin particles and tiny piece of his nail were sent to Moscow for the DNA examination. After the comparison with the samples of the alive people, the stunning conclusion was made: the albumen did not change its structure, i.e. it didn’t differ from the one of the alives!
To make sure that the body was not polished or elaborated with some conserving substances (kind of mummifying), the chemical analysis were provided. The body was compared with the samples of mummies found during the archeological survey of Manezh. It has been revealed that there are no additional substances in the Ityghelov’s body.
The imperishable body of Lama Ityghelov, sitting in the lotus-pose, now is placed in Ivolghinsky Datsan, it is treated carefully and the believers are permitted to see him.
Leaving the body by his own desire during the deep meditation is known not only in Buddhizm (Like Buddha had implemented “parinirvana”), but also in Hinduism (mahasamadhi) and some other ancient religions.
Comment of Dalai-Lama: “Real lama is capable to leave his body during the deep meditation. The meditation may last for years and years. The example is the northern Buryatian lama who is still staying in the deep meditation for many years”.
It is interesting that Buddha Shakyamuni himself used to mention that his study will have its second breath in the very north of its area (which is actually Buryatia, the Northest Buddhists nation). The fact that in Buryatia (in Eghituisk Datsan) they keep the rarest Buddha’s lifetime statue aged up to 2500 years supports this idea.
Translated by Fata D’Oro
Buddhism came to Zabaikalie in the form of lamaism from Mongolia and Tibet in the middle of the 17th century when 100 Mongolian and 50 Tibetan monks settled here. Their active campaign to introduce the new religion to the shamanists was supported by the Buryat aristocracy and Tsar Administration. In 1741 Buddhism was recognized as one of the national religions of Russia. The Gelukpa school was the most common, its founder being Tsonkhava, the reformer of Tibetan Buddhism.
By the end of the 19th century several of the world’s ancient sacred objects delivered from Tibet and India were kept in Buryatia. Among them there was a huge metal statue of Buddha Maidari, Sandal Buddha statue, canonic book “Ganzhur” of 113 volumes and Danzhur of 300 volumes. They contained encyclopedic manuscript of medieval Buddhist teachings in philosophy, medicine, logics, linguistics, astrology and other fields of knowledge. There were also unique medical «Chzhud Schi” and «Vaidurya-onbo», and the only full copy of “Atlas of Tibetan Medicine” of the two preserved in the world. Today the copy of the Atlas is restored and translated into Russian language and stored in the Museum of History of Buryatia.
Buddhists temples became universities where Tibetan, Mongolian languages, Sanskrit, “Five Big Sciences”(religious philosophy, Grammar, Tibetan and Mongolian medicine, technology of arts and craft) and “Five Small Sciences” (poetry, stylistics, metrics, dances and music, astrology) were studied. Buddhist temples used secret rituals, Tsam mystery being one of them.
There were highly educated people among Buddhist clergy. Agvan Dorzhiev, the teacher of Dalai Lama XIII was one of them. With his initiative in 1915, the first Buddhist temple in Europe was built in Saint Petersburg. Brothers Badmaev’s successful medical practice of Tibetan medicine was highly appraised by Russian emperor Alexander the Third. Thanks to their activity and to Agvan Dorzhiev, Tibetan medicine spread in Russia. In 40’s-80’s years of the last century a graduate of Buddhist medical school of Atsagat Buddhist temple Galdan Lenkhoboev contributed greatly to the preservation and development of Tibetan medicine. Today, Tibetan medicine is developing with the government support.
Buddhist clergy is actively working towards Buddhism revival. Old Buddhist temples are being restored, the new ones are being built, Buddhist stupas, symbolic models of the Universe, are being set up in many places all over the region. The Buddhist traditional Sangkha of Russia is a member of the World Brotherhood of Buddhists with the centre of Russian Buddhists located in Buryatia. There is one of Sangkha’s institutions of higher education – Buddhist Institute “Dashi-Choinkhorlin” where young people from many regions of Russia come to study. In 1979, the Head of Buddhists of the world – His Holiness Dalai Lama XIV visited Buryatia.Buddhism is one of the most interesting pages in the history of Buryatia that attracts growing attention. Tourists can visit Buddhist temples, go on tours, consult Tibetan emchi lamas (monks practicing oriental medicine), monks astrologists, buy medicine and religious things and order prayers.
The name of Lama Dashi-Dorzho Itygelov is known to every Buddhist in the world. There hasn’t been a scientific explanation found to explain his phenomenon yet.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Lama Itygelov was a Khambo Lama, head of Buddhists of Russia. In 1927, being a high rank jogine, he reached the state of Nirvana. Then he was placed into a wooden sarcophagus and buried seating in meditation. The burial place was kept secret by lamas. In 2002, he was taken out of the ground, in accordance with his will, and placed in the Ivolginsky Buddhist temple.
The event caused sensation in the world. Many studies made for the last several years by famous scientists and research institutes of Russia have shown that the physical characteristics of the body and the brain of lama Itygelov are similar to that of a living body. The Lama is still sitting in mediation posture, his body being warm and soft. He perspires but doesn’t lose weight. He doesn’t need any support and it seems that he gets charged from some energy sources. Scientists believe that the body is in the state unknown to science.
Buddhists believe that in the Itygelov’s body there is Buddha’s spirit and the lama is alive. Buddhists have several versions of Itygelov’s phenomenon.
Dalai Lama the XIV expressed his opinion that Itygelov had gone into a deep meditation but his finest form of consciousness “namshi” is still present in his body. Bogdo Gegen Khalkha Dzhetsun Damba Rimpoche thinks that Itygelov managed to reach the state of imperishable body, as a result of tantric practice, and having left it stopped the reincarnation circle and his consciousness left for the highest spheres. Ganzhur lama Radnaev, vice principle of the Buddhist Institute “Dashi-Cjoinkhorlin”, said that Itygelov’s consciousness might be in the constant movement and keeps contact with his body.
Great number of people from different countries makes pilgrimage to the body and spirit of Lama. People believe that touching his hand or clothes makes wonders and may change life for the better and protect from troubles. A temple designed by Itygelov himself was built to have better access to the body.
In 2005 a manuscript written by Itygelov was found where he forecasted his arrival and revival of Buddhism. His last foretelling has come true.
In the burial place, Khukhe-Zurkhen, a Buddhist stupa has been constructed. In Ulan-Ude there is the Institute of Khambo Lama Itygelov, whose activity is aimed at studying the phenomenon of imperishable body and determining the importance of the event for the world’s history and Buddhist teaching.
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