Posts Tagged ‘Tibet’

by Ema O’Connor

Japanese mountaineer Nobukazu Kuriki, 33, neared Mount Everest’s summit Saturday. This is his fifth attempt to reach Mount Everest’s highest peak in the past six years. He has been forced to turn back four times with the summit in sight due to dangerous conditions.

He is the first person to attempt the climb since Nepal’s catastrophic earthquake in April, which killed 9,000 people in Nepal, and 18 people at Everest’s base camp.

“I am climbing the mountain to stand by Nepal during this difficult time, and to spread the message that it is safe for tourism,” Kuriki told reporters when he first arrived in Nepal in July to acclimate before his climb.

He told Reuters that he felt nervous and afraid upon arriving in Nepal, but that this was “only natural before attempting the challenge of climbing Everest, particularly after the earthquake and at this time of year.

In 2012, Kuriki lost nine fingers after spending two days in a hole he dug in the snow at 27,000 feet in temperatures lower than -4F.

Kuriki will rest at the South Col for around eight hours before taking off on the last leg of the journey, the BBC reported. Taking on the final stretch overnight is a common tactic, president of the Nepalese Mountaineering Association Ang Tsering said. It allows them to descend the mountain in daylight, he said, and lower temperatures at night mean fewer winds.

The mountaineer originally planned to climb Everest beginning in Tibet, but China closed all mountains to expeditions for the fall season. Kuriki is the only person scheduled to climb Everest during the fall, a season known to be particularly dangerous for climbing expeditions.

Just 33% of climbers scale Mt. Everest successfully in the fall months, according to the Himalayan Database, compared to 66% in spring. Over the past 15 years only three expeditions have reached the summit successfully in the fall.

Mount Everest is known as the most dangerous mountain to climb in the world. There have been over 250 recorded casualties of the climb.

Kuriki has said in past interviews he prefers to climb alone, with minimal gear, and most of all, in the winter. “This is the purest form of climbing and it is worth the extra danger,” he said.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/emaoconnor/this-man-is-about-to-reach-the-top-of-mt-everest-and-only-ha#.dcOvg2G58

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Scientific tests have revealed that an ancient Buddhist statue contains the perfectly preserved remains of a 1,000-year-old mummified monk, in what is believed to be the only such example in the world.

The monk, who is sitting in the lotus position, is thought to have starved himself to death in an act of extreme spiritual devotion in China or Tibet in the 10th century. His preserved remains were displayed in his monastery.

Some 200 years later, perhaps after his remains started to deteriorate, his mummified body was placed inside the elaborate, lacquered statue of Buddha.

The unusual contents of the statue were discovered in the 1990s when the statue underwent restoration. Experts were unable to remove the mummy due to the risk of disintegration, so they could do little more than peer into the darkened cavity of the Buddha.

Now, an international team of German, Dutch and Italian scientists has conducted a CAT scan which revealed the monk’s skeleton in perfect detail.

“It was not uncommon for monks to practise self-mummification but to find a mummified monk inside a statue is really extraordinary,” said Wilfrid Rosendahl, a German palaeontologist who led the research. “It’s the only known example in the world.

“Using a CAT scan, we saw that there was a perfectly preserved body with skin and muscles inside the statue. It’s a complete mummy, not just a skeleton. He was aged between 30 and 50.”

The mummy has been studied by an interdisciplinary team of experts, including radio carbon dating specialists and textile analysts, at the Meander Medical Centre in Amersfoort, the Netherlands.

Using an endoscope, experts took samples from inside the mummy’s thoracic and abdominal cavities and discovered that the monk’s organs had been removed and replaced with ancient wads of paper printed with Chinese characters.

Samples of bone were also taken for DNA testing.

The Buddha statue was bought several decades ago on the art market by a Dutch private collector, who had no idea that the mummy was hidden inside.

It will go on display in museums around Europe, and is currently in the Natural History Museum in Budapest.

“The monk died in a process of self-mummification,” said Dr Rosendahl.

“During the last weeks he would have started eating less food and drinking only water. Eventually he would have gone into a trance, stopped breathing and died. He basically starved himself to death.

“The other monks would have put him close to a fire to dry him out and put him on display in the monastery, we think somewhere in China or Tibet.

“He was probably sitting for 200 years in the monastery and the monks then realised that he needed a bit of support and preservation so they put him inside the statue.”

Mummified monks were not only the focus of religious devotion, but important for the economy of the monastery because they attracted pilgrims who would offer donations.

Mummified-monk-revealed-inside-1000-year-old-Buddha-statue

Thanks to Steven Weihing for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.