A Buddhist monk chopped off his own head with a guillotine for ‘good luck’ in northeastern Thailand.
Thammakorn Wangpreecha, 68, had reportedly been planning the bizarre ritual sacrifice for more than five years.
The monk believed that making the offering to the deity Buddha would bring him good luck in the afterlife – a belief known in Buddhism as ‘making merit’.
Thammakorn followed through with the religious plans and was found dead alongside his severed head at the Wat Phu Hin temple in Nong Bua Lamphu province on April 15.
Thammakorn’s nephew Booncherd Boonrod found the body. He said there was also a slab of marble which had been inscribed with Thammakorn’s plans.
Booncherd said: ‘In the letter it was stated that chopping his head off was his way of praising Buddha. In the letter he said that he had been planning this for five years now.
‘His wish was to offer his head and his soul so that the Lord could help him reincarnate as a higher spiritual being in the next life.’
The monk allegedly used a makeshift guillotine next to a Buddhist God statue so that the religious figure would appear to be holding his head after it had been cut off.
Before making the sacrifice, the monk who had served the temple for 11 years, allegedly informed the other priests that he would be leaving the monkhood but he did not tell them about the guillotine.
The police took the body from the temple to the hospital so medics could perform a post-mortem examination and ascertain the cause of death before returning it to the family for funeral rites.
Following the death, more than 300 local devotees arrived at the temple to prepare the dead monk’s body for a rite.
Monk Phra’s body was laid inside a coffin while his head placed in a jar before his followers and family members carried his remains to the forest where it was burned.
Yu, one of the monk’s followers, said: ‘He had been planning this for five years now. He fulfilled his goal and met enlightenment.’
Despite some followers praising Thammakorn, the National Office of Buddhism asked the local government to help them explain to residents in the area that such practice was not being encouraged in the religion.
Buddhists believe that carrying out good deeds is a way of praising the Lord Buddha, which brings them good karma in what they believe will be their next life.