The Saint of Rice Excrements —
Back in ninth-century Japan, there was a religious charlatan who earned the title bei-fun-hijiri
or "saint of rice excrements". Before telling how he acquired this title, I should relate how I came across his story, which was in a rather roundabout way.
First, I came across a post on the Of Small Wonders & Great Wanders
blog about the ancient art of self-mummification, developed by ascetic monks of the Shingon sect in northern Japan:
It was initiated by Kobo Daishi (774-835), who took…