A Buddhist monk in Thailand reportedly chopped off his own head with a guillotine in a bizarre ritual sacrifice for 'good luck.' Thailand's religious authorities said on Sunday that Thammakorn Wangpreecha, 68,used a DIY guillotine to behead himself in hope of attaining enlightenment but may have been misguided.
Wangpreecha had reportedly been planning his suicide or what he believed life sacrifice in northeastern Thailand for more than five years till he took the drastic step last week. The monk's body was found beside his severed head at the Wat Phu Hin temple in Nong Bua Lamphu province on Friday.
While most people give money or free captive birds, Wangphrecha believed the ultimate way to make merit was with one's head, so he practiced what he preached. Wangphrecha cut the ropes of a DIY guillotine to bring down the meter-long blade on to his head, which instantly severed it from his body.
Thammakorn left behind a note explaining he believed the fatal offering to Buddha was 'making merit' and would bring him good luck in the afterlife. His nephew Booncherd Boonrod was the first to discover the body on an inscribed slab of marble detailing Thammakorn's plans.
However, the National Buddhism Office, which has always preached and believed in spreading peace and love, disagreed with his methods. "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," Boonrod said.
"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," Boonrod added.
Unlike the Principles of Buddhism
Wangpreecha had been serving the Wat Phu Hin for 11 years but had lately informed other priests that he would be leaving the monkhood. However, he never shared his plans about the guillotine.
The National Buddhism Office spokesman Sipbowon Kaeo-ngam said that the actions of Wangpreecha, who was the abbot of Wat Phuhingong Monastery were "a private matter," in part because he had quit the monkhood prior.
It is not known when he quit monkhood but it must have been lately. Kaeo-ngam also said that black magic, spells and rituals inconsistent with Buddhist teachings were banned from practice, adding that the government religious authority would redistribute the correct, beheading-free teachings to temples nationwide.
"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," he said adding that Wangpreecha may have been misled to perform such a ritual. "We have to prevent such unpleasant situations from happening again," he added.
Following the death, more than 300 local devotees arrived at the temple to prepare the dead monk's body for a rite. However, police took possession of the body and took it to the hospital so that medics could perform an autopsy and ascertain the cause of death before returning it to the family for funeral rites.
Wangpreecha body was later laid inside a coffin while his head was placed in a jar before his followers and family members carried his remains to the forest where it was burned.