A Buddhist monk in Thailand cut off his own head to celebrate his birthday with the final wish that the macabre gesture would be good luck for him in the hereafter, reports say.
68-year-old Thammakorn Wangpreecha, who has dedicated his life to being a monk for 11 years, constructed his own guillotine adjacent to a religious statue of the god Indra committing an identical act of decapitation, according to the UK’s Metro.
The zealous monk had reportedly let his fellow priests know he was preparing to leave his position in the religious order, but failed to explain his specific, and extreme, arrangements. It is said he was planning his DIY decapitation for at least five years.
On his birthday, Wangphrecha severed the ropes of his homemade murder machine bringing the large blade down on his neck, which instantly removed it from the rest of his body.
The nephew of the monk, who discovered his uncle’s headless corpse on Friday, found a note was written by the holy man to explain the gruesome scene, according to the New York Post.
“It stated that chopping his head off was his way of praising Buddha, and he had been planning this for five years now,” Booncherd Boonrod explained.
“His wish was to offer his head and soul so the Lord could reincarnate him as a higher spiritual being in the next life,” the nephew continued.
Hundreds of the newly-headless monk’s devoted followers made the pilgrimage to the Wat Phu Hin temple in Nong Bua Lamphu to make funeral preparations for his body, which included laying him in a coffin, with his head kept in a separate receptacle, to be ultimately lit ablaze in a forest.
“He fulfilled his goal and met enlightenment,” Yu, one of his many supporters acknowledged, as reported by the news outlet.
Nevertheless, police took control of the monk’s remains first, so it could be examined at the hospital and for medics to perform an autopsy to confirm the cause of death before giving it back to the family for his funeral rites.
People across social media were reasonably taken back by the monk’s unusual sacrifice, with one user writing, “Imagine being a Monk for X years & literally getting Spirituality wrong.”
Another shocked Twitter user reacted by saying, “I have a different idea of what’s good luck.”
Others made jokes regarding the absurdity of the extreme sacrifice, with one commenter warning, “Don’t give the gender reveal party planners any ideas.”
The National Buddhism Office spokesman Sipbowon Kaeo-ngam said that the morbid acts of Wangpreecha, who served as the abbot of Wat Phuhingong Monastery, were “a private matter,” namely due to the fact that he had technically quit the monkhood just before his suicide.
Kaeo-ngam went on to stress that black magic, spells, and rituals were not in line with Buddhist doctrines and were forbidden from being practiced. He went on to assure that the government’s religious authority would disburse the correct, suicide-free religious messaging to temples across the country.
The National Office of Buddhism made a request that the local government assist in getting the word out that people can donate money or let captive birds loose as a sacrifice, rather than self-imposed decapitation.
“Temple executives and abbots should review their practices and look after other monks in their temples. This incident is possible evidence of neglecting to do so,” Kaeo-ngam stated, according to reports from the International Business Times.
“We have to prevent such unpleasant situations from happening again,” he continued.
A Twitter user stated: “Clearly, he left ahead of his time.”