Revered Thai monk’s body defies decomposition 20 years after death

More than 20 years after revered Thai monk Luang Phu Woraphon Thawitan passed away, his body remains displayed in a glass case at his temple in Khon Kaen province, northeast Thailand. Not only has the deceased monk’s body not decomposed – defying science – but his skin has turned emerald green, reports Sanook.

Yesterday, Phra Khru Sri Pattarasan, the current abbot of Chumphon Temple in Waeng Noi district, told reporters about the former abbot’s miraculous powers which have lived on after death.

On January 18, 2001, Luang Phu told Phra Khru that he would no longer be at the temple by the end of the rainy season. Phra Khru asked him where he was going, and the elderly monk said it was time for him to die. On May 20, the monk passed away at 101 years old.

The abbot said that the monks tried to burn Luang Phu’s body, but it “wouldn’t burn.” So, they placed his body in a simple glass coffin. The monks didn’t move Luang Phu into an air-conditioned “cold coffin” until 2010, they said.

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The only things inside the glass coffin are tea leaves, anti-moisture pills and camphor tree bark. There’s nothing special inside, insisted the abbot.

On the night of August 13, the abbot had a dream that a snake was slithering around the room where Luang Phu lies. In the morning, another monk said he had the same dream, so the pair went to check on Luang Phu’s body.

Much to their surprise, Luang Phu’s skin had begun turning emerald green, said the abbot. At first, a patch of skin about the size of an egg in the middle of Luang Phu’s head turned green. The monks were baffled but thought it was fungus growing so they covered it with gold leaf.

The monks took photos which they showed to local lay Buddhists who were afraid and shocked because they thought the monks painted the dead monk green, said the abbot.

Once a year, the monks change Luang Phu’s robes and reapply gold leaf to his body. Around one month after the emerald egg incident, it was time to redress Luang Phu. They found that his entire body had turned emerald green, the abbot said.

The story of the emerald Thai monk spread on social media and now people travel far and wide to catch a glimpse of Luang Phu Woraphon Thawitan, more than 20 years after his death.


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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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