|Dashi-Dorzho Itigilov |
Dashi-Dorzho Itigilov was Born in 1852, at 16 he entered Anninsky Datsan, a Buddhist university in Buryatia and earned degrees in medicine and philosophy. In 1911, he was appointed the 12th Pandito Khambo Lama, the head of Buddhism in Russia. He was key in the revival of Buddhism amongst the Buryats, an indigenous Siberian people. 1913 was the only time he ever left Buryatia, he went to St Petersburg to ensure the presence of Buddhists in the Duma. In 1926, he warned his students about the coming horror of the "red teaching" and advised them to flee to Tibet. He then stepped down as lama and began preparing for his death. He altered his diet, gathered his students, and announced his plan to die.
On his death during meditation in 1927, he was quietly buried in a wooden box, in the position in which he died. At his request, the monks checked on the body after 30 years, and found it to be intact and well mummified. It was reburied without arousing Soviet notice. The check was repeated in 1973, and the body reburied.
After the fall of the Soviet Union it was deemed safe to bring the body to the temple. In 2002 that the body was transferred to Ivolginksy Datsan and publicly unveiled for the first time, 75 years after his death. Examinations showed that the body had decayed slightly since its exhumation but was in a remarkable state of preservation.
Results from 2002 were found to be little or no decay.
Analyses performed showed various elements in the tissues including Strontium and Barium.
It was clear also that Itigelov specifically took bromine
Since 2005, the body has been moved outdoors, for interaction, with no preservation measures taken.
in 2003, the Buddhist community decided to recognize Itigilov's body as a sacred object to the Buddhists of Russia. Many Buddhists see Itigilov as still living and interact with him as such.
During World War One, Itigilov set up a number of hospitals helping wounded soldiers, while presiding over Buryat brothers. He was reward the Order or St. Anna for this work