Japundit is running a great article that everyone should read on just how hardcore some Monk sects are. Some were, it is no longer allowed, to the point that their search for unenlightened would lead to becoming mummified.
Now there is one thing I want to straighten out as the article does not cover it and most of the commenters on the original site are retarded and Japundit didn’t expand on it.
This act of self sacrificing and “torture” is not what it seems, especially in regards to practices undertaken by Monks of any esoteric sect such as Tendai or Shingon.
“Esoteric Buddhism holds that while nothing can be said of it verbally, it is readily communicated via esoteric rituals which involve the use of mantras, mudras, and mandalas.”
It is this view from which such practices derive from, as the esoteric school sees mundane ritual and repetition as a way to block out the world to focus on achieving samādhi (note that I only know the Japanese and the sanskirt for these words so please feel free to translate them into english). Such is this view that the Shingon sect has become famous for its “hardcore monks” such as the Marathon Monks of Hieizan, the Shikoku island 900 mile 88 temple pilgrimage which I have completed, and even the Yamabushi who follow “Shugendō doctrine, an integration of mainly esoteric Buddhism of the Shingon sect and Shinto elements”.
Realize that these people, such as myself, were driven to do these things by choice and no one has the right to say anything until you try it. And if you don’t want to try it then good for you but as I don’t call you a pussy to your face for not trying something that might seem crazy, don’t call any of these people stupid for something they did for their own beliefs/reasons. Otherwise Kobo Daishi will awaken and come beat your ass with his mummy fists of fury.