MUCH like men under command, the life of a Monk is regimented. In the main, he is typically committed to a life of obedience, chastity and poverty. That is, on a general scale.
But there are some, who took the Vows beyond the ordinary, choosing to die at a chosen time in addition to opting for mummification. This was the case with the Shingon sect of ancient Japan who went through Sokushinbutsu, a practice under which they mummified themselves while still alive.
Sokushinbutsu can last for between eight and ten years. It begins with a monk going on mokujikigyo, a strict diet regime literally translated as “eating a tree.”
Under the process, the monk will embark of a diet that consists mainly of whatever is predominantly available in the mountain environment, including pine needles, seeds, nuts, and resin. Over the period, they take part in religious and rigorous physical regimens which help strip them of body fats.
The monk will eat only back tree backs and roots for another three years during which he will also drink a poisonous tea made from the sap of the Urushi tree used in making lacquer bowls.
The cocktail leads to vomiting, following which the body will quickly lose its fluid while also killing the maggots responsible for causing the body to decay after death.
The next step is that the monk lock himself in a stone tomb in the lotus position, complete with an air tube and an attached bell which the monk would then ring each day as proof that he was still alive. However, when it ceases to ring, it indicates that the monk has died in a state of meditation chanting the nenbutsu, mantra about Buddha, after which the air tube is removed and the tomb sealed.
The process preserves the monk’s body, with all body parts including skin and teeth intact without requiring any further artificial preservation.
Evidence of many Sokushinbutsu mummified monks have been found in northern Japan. They are recorded to be rcenturies old and are revered and venerated by many followers. The Sokushinbutsu process was however, outlawed by the Japanese Government in the late 19th century.
Credit to Apotheosis of Knowledge