World’s loneliest monk lives in his own temple in the middle of Tibetan lake 100 miles from nearest town

Located on top of a small mound, on a sliver of land stretching into the serene Yamdrok Lake is Rituo Temple, the home of just one solitary monk who spends his days chanting sutras and meditating. Rituo literally means “the stone on the mountain” in Tibetan, and it is often referred to as Tibet’s loneliest temple. Its history goes back more than 700 years, but it’s still today considered one of the country’s hidden gems, and few tourists venture out to visit it. That’s because it’s located in the middle…

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Praglia Abbey: a Benedictine monastery surrounded by the Euganean Hills

During the Middle Ages, many monks manually copied ancient books so they could be passed on to future generations. Over the years, the invention of the printing press made this work largely obsolete, but thousands of old books remained stored in monasteries. Many of those volumes lies still today in the library of the Benedictine abbey of Santa Maria Assunta of Praglia, an almost 1,000-year-old monastery and maybe one of the most important monumental and religious communities in the area, located in the town of Teolo, only 10 minutes from…

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Kościół w Kartuzach: the coffin-shaped church in Poland where monks once slept in coffins

Despite It’s hard to tell from the ground, if you take to the skies you’ll see that this 14th-century Gothic church is shaped like a coffin. Yes, really a coffin. And, interestingly, it isn’t its only coffin connection, either. The church, located in Kartuzy, in nothern Poland (about 32 kilometres west of Gdańsk), was part of a monastery built in 1380 by a group of Carthusian monks from Bohemia. However, the small brotherhood was rather eccentric and had the macabre custom of sleeping in coffins. Also the building’s inside has…

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“Sokushinbutsu”: the self-mummification ritual and the myth of non-death

Although the Japanese climate is not exactly conducive to mummification, somehow a group of Buddhist monks from the Shingon sect discovered a way to mummify themselves through rigorous ascetic training in the shadow of a particularly sacred peak in the mountainous northern prefecture of Yamagata. If for Christians the death represents the moment of transition towards eternal life, which should be much better than the brief earthly existence, for Buddhists life and death chase each other in an eternal cycle of reincarnation, from which it is possible to go out…

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The Capuchin Crypt in Brno, CZE.

The Capuchins came to Brno in 1604 at the invitation of the Bishop of Olomouc, František of Dietrichstein. For their first monastery, they opted a place in the eastern suburbs of the city, called the Gate of Měnín, and laid the foundation stone in the spring of the same year. The church was dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi and in 1606 it was consecrated by Cardinal Dietrichstein himself. His decoration was supported by the outstanding painter Kosmas from Castelfranco, a priest of the Venetian province, who created not only…

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