Out of the pantheon of religions that this wacky world has to offer, Buddhism seems like it’s the most chilled. They’re all about enlightenment, peace and good will. But that hasn’t stopped them from doing some pretty oddball stuff.
Sokushinbutsu, which means ‘living Buddha’, was practiced mostly between the 11th and 19th centuries in Yamagata in the north of Japan. Simply put, monks mummified themselves to death. It took dedication, loads of time, a bit more time and a load more dedication.
It wasn’t viewed as suicide, although ultimately that’s exactly what it was. They considered it an extreme and thorough way of reaching enlightenment. Those that tried and succeeded got buckets of respect and those that tried and failed were also respected for giving it a go.
Mummifying yourself is no easy feat, and although hundreds have tried over the years, only 24 successful Sokushinbutsu mummies have been found.
So how would you go about mummifying yourself? That’s not a question you thought you would be asking yourself today I’m sure, but I’ll tell you any way. It’s ingenious, time consuming and must have been crushingly boring. But I guess if you love the idea of enlightenment you’d give it a bash.
Your ‘how to’ guide to self mummification is on the next page, get your note books ready…