Monks that were considered to be part of the highest rank in their temple were often mummified and Vu Khac Minh was one of this monk. During the process of mummification, Buddhists tend to keep the organs inside the body. This is also the case with Vu Khac Minh. His inner organs weren’t removed and his body was coated with layers of silver, sawdust, paint, resin and lacquer, which act as a method to preserve it. It is still a mystery how his body has lasted through the elements of the tropical weather in Vietnam. Surprisingly, the high humidity did not affect Vu Khac Minh’s body in any way.
An archaeologist by the name, Nguyen Lan Cuong observed that X-ray results of the body and it showed that his skull wasn’t disturbed. He proposed that his brain wasn’t removed or replaced with stuffing. Moreover, no traces of adhesives or strings were used to mend and support the bones. He also discovered that protective paints were used to guard it against insect attacks.
After realizing that his death is near, Vu Khac Minh began secluding himself in the small chapel. Afterwards, he refrained from eating and drinking and occupied himself with prayers. He gave one last instruction to the monks that were assembled around him. He told them to wait for one month before checking in on him. He instructed them to bury him if a foul smell arises from his body but to leave him be if there are no signs of decay.
Bennett-Jones, O. (2001). Mummified monk's red lacquer day. Retrieved from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/1418356.stm
S Kumar, S. (2010). Vu Khac Minh - The smiling mummy of Vietnam.. Retrieved from http://keralaarticles.blogspot.ca/2010/06/vu-khac-minh-smiling-mummy-of-vietnam.html
Vietnam's relic: the remarkably preserved mummy of an abbot. (2000). Retrieved from http://patrick.guenin2.free.fr/cantho/vnnews/relic.htm