A photo of the body of a monk in Thailand seemingly smiling is viral with false claims that it shows a Tibetian monk who is the oldest man alive and was found in a cave in a mummified state.
BOOM found that the claims are false as the photo is from 2018 and shows Luang Phor Pian a revered monk from Thailand. We also found that monk Pian is not alive, having died from an illness in November 2017 and the photo is from the time when his body was exhumed for a change of robes ritual.
The photo is being shared with a caption in Hindi that translates to, "A Tibetan monk has been found in the mountains of Nepal. He is believed to be the oldest person in the world at the age of 201. He is in a state of deep samadhi or meditation known as "takatate". When he was first discovered in a mountain cave, people thought she was a mummy."
(Original text in Hindi - नेपाल के पहाड़ों में एक तिब्बती भिक्षु मिला है। उन्हें 201 साल की उम्र का दुनिया का सबसे बुजुर्ग व्यक्ति माना जा रहा है। वह गहरी समाधि या ध्यान की स्थिति में है जिसे "ताकाटेट" कहा जाता है। जब उन्हें पहली बार एक पहाड़ी गुफा में खोजा गया तो लोगों को लगा कि वह एक ममी हैं)
*🙏नेपाल के पहाड़ों में एक तिब्बती भिक्षु मिला है। उन्हें 201 साल की उम्र का दुनिया का सबसे बुजुर्ग व्यक्ति माना जा रहा है। वह गहरी समाधि या ध्यान की स्थिति में है जिसे "ताकाटेट" कहा जाता है। जब उन्हें पहली बार एक पहाड़ी गुफा में खोजा गया तो लोगों को लगा कि वह एक ममी हैं। pic.twitter.com/r0nfAkWODc— LOVE YOUR COUNTRY (@tweet_Baba13) November 27, 2021
We also found that the photo first went viral on WhatsApp as a joke claiming the man is a Tibetan monk found in Nepal and then ending with "Stop believing everything you read on WhatsApp".
BOOM found that the photo is old and not of a Tibetian monk but a monk from Thailand who was already dead when the picture was clicked in 2018 and the photo shows his exhumed body for a robe change ritual.
A reverse image search on the photo with relevant keywords showed news articles from 2018 which identified the monk as Luang Phor Pian from Thailand. According to a story in The Mirror, "Incredible images show a 'smiling' deceased Buddhist monk being exhumed by his dedicated followers- two months after he died. Originally from Cambodia, Pian spent the majority of his life serving as a well-known spiritual and Buddhist guru in Lopburi, central Thailand."
The story added, "This week his followers removed his body from his coffin as part of a traditional Buddhist ceremony."