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08.09.2015

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Judging by their ability to meditate for hours on end, to abstain from food for days, and their vows of silence, most us would agree that Tibetan Monks have better control over their minds and bodies than the average person. Although, the display was fascinating to the doctors, for the monks it was an ordinary occurrence.
Like the Tibetan monks, Indian Yogis seem to have an unusual talent for manipulating their physiological processes while in deep meditation. A Buddhist monk has his vital signs measured as he prepares to enter an advanced state of meditation in Normandy, France. In a monastery in northern India, thinly clad Tibetan monks sat quietly in a room where the temperature was a chilly 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Benson developed the "relaxation response," which he describes as "a physiological state opposite to stress." It is characterized by decreases in metabolism, breathing rate, heart rate, and blood pressure. Some Westerners practice g Tum-mo, but it often takes years to reach states like those achieved by Buddhist monks. During visits to remote monasteries in the 1980s, Benson and his team studied monks living in the Himalayan Mountains who could, by g Tum-mo meditation, raise the temperatures of their fingers and toes by as much as 17 degrees. The researchers also made measurements on practitioners of other forms of advanced meditation in Sikkim, India. To put that decrease in perspective, metabolism, or oxygen consumption, drops only 10-15 percent in sleep and about 17 percent during simple meditation. Working in isolated monasteries in the foothills of the Himalayas proved extremely difficult. The biggest obstruction in further studies, whether in India or Boston, has always been money.
The funds enabled researchers to bring three monks experienced in g Tum-mo to a Guinness estate in Normandy, France, last July. Although the team obtained valuable data, Benson concludes that "the room was not cold enough to do the tests properly." His team will try again this coming winter with six monks. The mummy first made headlines in the Morning Newspaper back in January after Mongolian officials confiscated it from individuals trying to sell the remains on the black market.
The man was also discovered in a lotus position, as if he was still meditating, leading many to believe that this was a Buddhist monk.


In this state, the meditator's heart rate slows to a near-undetectable pace and he can appear dead.
According to the Times, Buddhists claim that there have been 40 such cases of monks entering this state in the last five decades. Last May, it was stipulated that one of India's wealthiest Hindu spiritualist leaders, His Holiness Shri Ashutosh Maharaj, the founder of the Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan religious order, cannot be officially proclaimed deceased when thousands of followers continue to say that he has simply drifted into a deeper state of meditation, called samadhi.
Thankfully, you won't see this kind of trouble with Buddhist monks, who often choose to rid themselves of all but the most basic of earthly possessions in their journey towards enlightenment.
For more great nature science stories and general news, please visit our sister site, Headlines and Global News (HNGN).
In fact, new monks use g Tum-mo as a way of proving their meditative strength and hold contests to see who can dry the most sheets in one night. After hearing stories of yogis spending 28 days underground and surviving, in 1936, a French cardiologist named Therese Brosse traveled to India to see if the yogis truly did have such talents.
Two of their test subjects were placed in air-tight sealed boxes, on two separate occasions, and were monitored for 8 to 10 hours. During meditation, the monk's body produces enough heat to dry cold, wet sheets put over his shoulders in a frigid room (Photo courtesy of Herbert Benson).
They also documented monks spending a winter night on a rocky ledge 15,000 feet high in the Himalayas. He directs a study of advanced meditation to uncover capabilities that may help treat stress-related illnesses. Barry Kerzin, a famous Buddhist monk and a physician to the Dalai Lama, recently told The Siberian Times that he has seen several high-ranking monks attempt to enter a higher state of mediation - called a tukdam state.
Initial speculation is that this 200-year-old mummy may be a meditative teacher of Lama Dashi-Dorzho Itigilov.
In her experiments, the yogis reportedly slowed their heart down so slow that it was only detectable via an EKG machine. During that time the Yogis showed biological characteristics similar to sleep and were able to slow down their heart rate and respiration to low enough levels that oxygen and carbon dioxide quantities inside the box remained virtually in the same proportions as found in air at sea level. To cope with his situation, he began the practice of meditation and prayer, which he developed to the point where he could block out the pain of his torment and subsequently withstand his situation.


Other monks soaked 3-by-6-foot sheets in cold water (49 degrees) and placed them over the meditators' shoulders. As a result of body heat produced by the monks during meditation, the sheets dried in about an hour. Benson and colleagues use it to treat anxiety, mild and moderate depression, high blood pressure, heartbeat irregularities, excessive anger, insomnia, and even infertility. Travelers might use meditation to ease stress and oxygen consumption on long flights to other planets. An eye infection sidelined one of the monks, but the other two proved able to dry frigid, wet sheets while wearing sensors that recorded changes in heat production and metabolism. But now a Buddhist academic is making the claim that the monk is in fact alive and simply in a deep state of meditation, only a single step away from total enlightenment. However, through deep concentration, the monks were able to generate body heat, and within minutes the researchers noticed steam rising from the sheets that were covering the monks.
So, he spent the two weeks leading up to his surgery envisioning a clean, cream-colored, healthy bladder. Buddhists believe this state of mind can be achieved by doing good for others and by meditation. His team also uses this type of simple meditation to calm those who have been traumatized by the deaths of others, or by diagnoses of cancer or other painful, life-threatening illnesses. That visit was the beginning of a long friendship and several expeditions to northern India where many Tibetan monks live in exile. Wearing only woolen or cotton shawls, the monks promptly fell asleep on the rocky ledge, They did not huddle together and the video shows no evidence of shivering. In addition, trying to meditate while strangers attempt to measure your rectal temperature is not something most monks are happy to do.



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