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Hello Gishin ( or anyone who knows about what I note below)
I saw a documentary about a sect of Shingon monks who did a long fasting ritual which ended up with them dying.
It involved a gradual removal from normal eating habits, moving on to forest foods, then to only eating the bark of a particular tree (as their only food source).
I think it occurred in medieval or pre-medieval Japan.
Maybe during the Kamakura period.It may have been earlier maybe even in the time of Kukai. I am not sure.
One result of the fasting process was that when the monks finally died there bodies ended up being mummified due to some substances in the bark of the tree they consumed.
I think I saw it on NHK in a documentary.
Have you heard about this ?
I'd be very interested to know more about this sect and that fasting process.
I am not planning on such an exercise myself but I'd like to know more about it !
It was fascinating to view and to consider their action.
Last edited by FrederickC (2007-12-29 04:52:19)
Since this is about Buddhism you could have just put it in the Buddhism section. I will ask Brian to move it there.
Yes indeed the school you that was into that stuff is the Shingon School founded by Kobo Daishi Kukai.
The documentary you saw on this practice was indeed made by N.H.K and was alter on translated in English. I still have a copy of that documentary somewhere on a VHS tape.
This practice is actually a practice of mummification by losing weight little by little and reducing the muscular mass to its minimum until in the last steps those freaks would drink a tea made out of hang on to your seats URUSHI and then get buried alive in a hole to read sutras until they would die. Why urushi? Well here is the gimmick by drinking this they would lacquer themselves from the inside preventing their body from rotting when they would be dead.
Here is a full article on the subject.
http://www.geocities.com/gabigreve2000/ … japan.html
http://www.thethinkingblog.com/2007/07/ … japan.html
Although I have learned and still practice Shingon along with my Zen practices there is many aspect that I somehow do not agree with either in their past history or even their present way of doing some things.
Also on the other side of Japanese esoteric Buddhism the Tendai school based on Mount Hiei near Kyoto still has to this day a very crazy practice of this type in which most people that tried to pull it off died in the process.
This practice is called the Sen nichi Kai ho gyo
In this one the freaky part is that after running up and down a mountain for 1000 days they spend the last NINE DAYS without eating drinking or sleeping so if the whole thing did not already kill you the last nine days will usually do it
Anyway another practice that I find quite futile and pathetic
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/09/ … 25647.html
http://www.coloradocollege.edu/Dept/RE/ … kitext.htm
Last edited by Gishin (2007-12-29 05:45:49)
Very interesting !
Any info you need I will be happy to provide or guide you to the proper documentation or people to get them answered.