Kolbe Report 3/16/23

Incorruptible Saints vs Buddhist Monks

Dear Friends of the Kolbe Center,

Glory to Jesus Christ!

I recently had the privilege of once again praying at the tomb of Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster in the Abbey of Mary Queen of the Apostles in Gower, Missouri.  In a previous newsletter, we observed that the Catholic Church is distinguished from all man-made institutions by the immaculacy of her Scriptures, her defined doctrines, and her Sacraments.   When St. Pius X warned that modernism, the worst heresy in the history of the Church, had entered the sheepfold of Christ, he identified “evolution” as “its principal doctrine.” He foresaw that faith in evolution would lead the modernists to deny the immutability of Catholic doctrine and to argue for an “evolution” of the Church’s doctrine, liturgy and laws.  In fulfillment of St. Pius X’s prophetic warning, for more than half a century modernists have sought to corrupt what was incorruptible and to change what was unchangeable, including traditions like the wearing of a religious habit that clearly signifies one’s consecration to God and detachment from the world.

The Incorrupt Body (and Habit) of Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster

The incorruptibility of Sister Wilhelmina and her religious habit bears witness to the incorruptibility of the Truth to which she and her fellow Benedictines of Mary consecrated their lives.  As God has preserved her body and her religious habit from all the forces of corruption that normally prevail in this fallen world, so will He preserve His Word, His Sacred Liturgy, and the defined doctrines of the Catholic Faith from all attempts to deform them.

Cosmic Christ or Mystical Body of Christ?

One of the insidious features of modernism is its use of traditional language to disguise its deviations.  Today, there are two spiritualities, embraced by consecrated religious all over the world, sometimes described in similar language, but actually totally opposed to each other.  In the traditional spirituality of the Catholic Church, God created the world perfect in the beginning, and placed our first parents, St. Adam and St. Eve, as the king and queen of a perfectly beautiful, complete and harmonious universe.  God made St. Adam and St. Eve instantly and immediately, perfect in body, mind and soul, and in an exalted state of holiness. St. Hildegard of Bingen described them as radiating the light of divine grace from their bodies, as Our Lord did when He was transfigured on Mt. Tabor.  In the traditional spirituality of the Catholic Church, the Original Sin of St. Adam brought death, deformity and disease into this world.  However, Our Lord Jesus Christ took a human nature, suffered, died, and rose again, founded the Holy Church and invited us to become new creations in Him through Holy Baptism, so that we could cooperate with Him to restore everything back to the beauty that it had in the beginning, and to bring it to an even more wonderful fulfillment at the end of time.

In the spirituality of Fr. Teilhard de Chardin, SJ, there is much of talk of a mystical evolution towards the perfection of the universe, but it has nothing to do with restoration—since Fr. Teihard’s “better Christianity,” as he called it, stands firmly on the foundation of human faith in molecules-to-man evolution.  Indeed, the spirituality of Fr. Teilhard and his followers bears many similarities to Hinduism and Buddhism, in its emphasis on the “comic christ,” as opposed to the traditional concept of the “Mystical Body of Christ,” the Catholic Church.  In Fr. Teilhard’s system, everything in the universe is evolving within the “cosmic christ,” and we have now reached the final stage when man will take evolution into his own hands by changing the genetics of plants and animals, and his own genetics, entrusting the world to an enlightened global government, while embracing a “better Christianity” based on evolution.  Then, under the guidance of that global government, mankind will reach the “omega point,” when humanity will live in perfect harmony and unity with the “cosmic christ,” i.e., the entire universe, which will have become fully divinized, a “living host.”

Understood in this way, one can see that Fr. Teilhard’s system diabolically inverts the right order of things.  In his spirituality, the universe sanctifies man and man becomes one with the universe, the “cosmic christ.”  In the authentic spirituality of the Catholic Church, man is sanctified through his union with Our Lord Jesus Christ by the working of the Holy Ghost, through the sacraments, prayer, and holiness of life, and man, in turn, sanctifies the universe.  Exemplars of both spiritualities speak of becoming a “living host,” but those who do so within the authentic spiritual tradition of the Church, like Venerable Conchita of Armida or the Servant of God Archbishop Luis Maria Martinez, follow in the footsteps of St. Paul the Apostle who exhorted the Christians of Rome to offer themselves as a “living sacrifice,” which could also be translated a “living host,” to “be transformed” by the renewal of their minds into the perfect likeness of Christ that He created them to be (Romans 12:1-2).  Thus, it is the members of the Mystical Body of Christ who are called to live their consecration to Our Lord Jesus Christ through the Blessed Virgin Mary by carrying out all of their thoughts, words, and actions in union with Him, and, so, being transformed by the power of the Holy Ghost.

St. Bernadette Soubirous

When God grants the miraculous gift of incorruptibility to one of His saints who lived and died united to Him in this way, He demonstrates that the Word by which the incorruptible saints lived is also incorruptible and unchangeable.  This serves as a warning against false prophets, like Fr. Teilhard de Chardin, who try to assign new meanings to traditional terminology and so deceive themselves as well as their disciples.  All of the incorruptible saints of the Catholic Church took up their cross and remained faithful to Our Lord Jesus Christ and His teachings until death, but they never did anything to strive for personal fame, bodily incorruptibility, or union with the universe—or with anything but the Most Holy Trinity.  Ironically, skeptics who deny that the Catholic Church is the one true Church established by God to be the Ark of salvation for all peoples, like to point to alleged “incorruptibles” outside of the Church as proof that there is a parity between the Catholic saints and their alleged counterparts in other religious traditions.  The spirituality of Fr. Teilhard bears many similarities to certain schools of Buddhism that encourage their adherents to strive for oneness with the cosmos, or “cosmic buddha,” and which even point to alleged “incorruptibles” in the ranks of Buddhist monks who attained to this state of oneness with the cosmic buddha and escaped from the cycle of reincarnation.

Buddhist Incorruptibles

It is instructive to compare the way that some of the most famous of these Buddhist “incorruptibles” achieved their “incorruptibility” after death with the incorruptibility of the saints of the Holy Catholic Church.  According to one account of the process by which monks of the Shingon school of Buddhism achieved a kind of “incorruptibility” through self-mummification:

The practice of self-mummification in Japan has its roots in the esoteric school of Shingon Buddhism called the Shingon-Shu, established in the Heian Period (794-1185). The founder of this new Buddhist movement was a monk named Kobo Daishi, also recognized as Kukai. Kukai’s teachings reflect an influence derived from Tantric Buddhism, which comes from the Great Vehicle Sect, called the Mahayana School. Between the years 804 and 806, Kukai studied in the rural province of T’ang in China, where he worked on mastering esoteric practices . . .

The process of self-mummification is broken down into three 1,000-day periods. Each period is characterized by physical and mental changes caused by phase-specific austerities and excruciating pain. The process is not some mystic secret, but rather a calculated scientific means for ridding the body of material that cannot cross over into nirvana. In the first phase the priest is restricted to a diet of only nuts and grains surrounding the temple complex. During this time the practitioner endures extreme hardships, such as meditating under icy cold mountain streams for hours on end. “Japan is a mountainous country.” Therefore, most of the Shingon temple complexes are in the proximity of large sacred mountains. During the second phase of the process, the fat matter that causes the body to decompose is greatly reduced.

Upon entering the second one thousand-day period, the priest’s body fat is near zero. In this stage, the diet is restricted even further to only miniscule amounts of pine bark and roots from pine trees. After this stage, the priest is like a “skin-covered skeleton.” The dehydration helps in preservation of the body. Towards the end of the second stage, “A special tea is made from the sap of the urushi tree.” This sap is used as a lacquer for furniture. The tea is a poisonous concoction that causes vomiting and sickness that further decrease the moisture in the body, but more importantly, its build up in the system prevents insects from speeding up the decomposition process. This, in turn, helps the self-mummification process by protecting the to-be mummified priest from natural elements. Upon entering the final stage, the priest is given a bell and then sealed in his tomb where a tube is inserted into a small opening in the top. Every day, he rings the bell. Eventually, when the ringing stops, the tube is removed.

At the end of the last 1000-day period, nearly ten years after starting, the tomb is opened and the results are seen. Out of the thousands who have tried to complete this decade long process, most are decomposed, and thus, have failed in their efforts. Only a select few actually achieve this fascinating but grisly transformation. The priests who triumphed in their endeavor are said to be one with the cosmic Buddha. While the people who tried and failed are praised for their fervor, they are not thought to be Buddha. Therefore, they enter back into the wheel of Samsara. One of the questions scientists pose is why some bodies decompose while others mummify. “In a place called Yamagata, there is a sacred spring on a mountain called Yudono.” In this area, there have been reported higher levels of mummification success. It was in the same area that Kukai first pioneered this practice in Japan. Many of the priests from this prefecture reported drinking water before entombment. When a chemical analysis was conducted, the results were amazing. The water contained huge amounts of arsenic at near fatal levels. Arsenic, like the urushi tea, stays in the body after death. “It is toxic to bacteria and other microorganisms, so it eliminated the bacteria that started the decomposition process.”

Shinnyokai Shōnin, the sokushinbutsu of Dainichibō. (© DEGAM Tsuruoka Tourism Bureau)

It is apparent that the way that certain monks of the Shogun school achieve a kind of bodily incorruptibility after death stands in complete opposition to the way that saints, like St. Bernadette, achieved it.  The monks of the Shogun school commit suicide to achieve oneness with the “cosmic christ.”  The incorrupt saints, like St. Bernadette, strove to unite themselves to Our Lord Jesus Christ in all of their thoughts, words, and actions, and allowed God to determine the time and circumstances of their death in union with Him.  The glorification of suicide associated with the Shogun school of Buddhism seems to be part of a global “sanitization” of suicide and euthanasia that has even affected Catholic medicine.  Indeed, in many Catholic hospitals all over the world, medical personnel now encourage family members of “brain-dead” loved ones to “sign off” on a declaration of death so that their “deceased” loved ones can “give life” to some needy child through organ donation.  How many devout Catholics inadvertently authorize the murder of their own loved ones in Catholic hospitals, thinking that “brain death” is true death, not realizing that their loved ones will actually be murdered by having their organs removed from their bodies!  And how many faithful Catholics check the “organ donation” box on their driver’s license, not realizing that they are giving permission for their own “assisted suicide”!

The Suicide of Judas and an Alleged Contradiction in the Bible

Before ending this newsletter, it may be of interest to show how this investigation of the alleged incorruptibility of monks of the Shogun school gives the lie to a common accusation against the inerrancy of Scripture in regard to the death of the traitor Judas.  Skeptics like to point out that St. Matthew’s Gospel, Chapter 27, says that Judas hanged himself, while Acts, Chapter One, says that he fell headfirst and burst, which, it is alleged, is not what happens to a body when a rope breaks during a hanging.

In reality, St. Matthew and St. Luke do not contradict each other. They give two different perspectives on the same event.  St. Matthew tells us the cause of Judas’ death—suicide by hanging.  St. Luke, the physician, tells us the aftermath that confirms Judas’ death by hanging. As Judas’ dead body hung in the sun of Jerusalem, the bacteria in his body broke down his tissues and cells, producing gas as a by-product.  As gas pressure forced fluid out of the dead body, his skin tissue decomposed.  When the branch on which he had hanged himself broke, his body burst open as it hit the ground, and his internal organs spilled out.   There is no contradiction whatsoever.

Through the prayers of the Mother of God, of Good St. Joseph, and of all the saints, may the Holy Ghost guide us all into all the Truth!

In Domino,

Hugh Owen

P.S. Our regional leaders retreat will take place from August 25-August 31 at the Apostolate for Family Consecration retreat center in Bloomingdale, Ohio. In addition to having Fr. Lawrence Carney as our chaplain, we will be blessed to have theologian Fr. Thomas Crean, O.P., as one of our principal teachers. Many readers of this newsletter will remember Fr. Crean’s tremendous contribution to our symposium on the Special Creation of Adam and Eve as the Foundation of the Church’s Doctrine on Holy Marriage in 2015, which is also available on the Kolbe website at this link.  If you would be interested in attending, please contact me as soon as possible so that we can reserve a place for you.


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