Monks who practiced sokushinbutsu sought transcendence through self-mummification. Their 3,000-day training process mandated a strict diet of foods such as nuts, berries, tree bark, and resin. Some monks also drank a sap that was traditionally used to make lacquer, and that may have helped to embalm the body from the inside out. Once the monk was ready, he would step into a small burial chamber that had an airway and a bell. He would ring the bell each day to let those on the outside know he was still alive. Once the bell stopped ringing, the airway was sealed.
Written by Curiosity Staff July 9, 2015
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