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Over 1,000 years ago, an esoteric sect known as Shingon – which combined elements from Buddhism, Old Shinto, Taoism, and other religions – developed a horrifying practice of self-mummification of the living body. The goal was to demonstrate the ultimate act of religious discipline and dedication.

The practice, known as Sokushinbutsu, was pioneered by a Japanese priest named Kukai, and involved drying out the body over a number of years through a gruelling process, which inevitably resulted in death and preservation of the body.

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