Most of the time they would open the casket to find the body chewed up and semi rotted by maggots. The stink must have been pretty incredible. But on those rare occasions that your hard work paid off, you’d get the body left pristine and mummified like these pictures show.
The practice is thought to have come from the Shingon school of Buddhism that was started by a bloke called Kukai. Kukai loved the idea of searching for enlightenment via physical punishment and probably brought Sokushinbutsu to Japan from Tang China as a sort of secret tantric practice.
Sokushinbutsu is now banned in Japan, which if you ask me is a bit of a shame. A monk’s gotta do what a monk’s gotta do. Also it would make an awesome fly on the wall documentary.
You could film him doing all the exercise and eating all the seeds and nuts like a Rocky style montage at the start. Then during his stay in the tomb you could switch over to casket-cam and watch his final breaths.
After the whole ordeal is over, you get the footage and turn it into a wicked time-lapse video of a man turning into a mummy. Bang, you’ve got a hit TV series and a multi-million viewed YouTube video all off the back of one monk’s dedication.
That might sound a bit sick, but you know you’d tune in.
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