Religion: The Gilded Holy Man

Chih Hang was a Chinese Buddhist monk and widely known as a good man, but he feared that he might be unworthy of the faith his disciples placed in him. When, on Formosa, he felt death approaching, he called them together and gave them unusual instructions. "When I die," he said, "do not bury my body, but seal it in an urn. After three years, open the urn, and if my body has decayed, bury it in the ground. But if it has not, encase it in gold and place it in a pagoda."

Chih's disciples dutifully sealed their master's unembalmed body,...

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