I do want to be respectful of everyone's beliefs and culture, but I am glad this practice is outlawed. It is simultaneously self mortifying and self aggrandizing. Torture self through deprivation and purgatives for six years, only so that you will be worshiped. Of course it could be argued that the goal is to achieve a statement of enlightenment and the worship is secondary, but its a hard sell.
From the article:
For the first 1,000 days, the monks ceased all food except nuts, seeds, fruits and berries and they engaged in extensive physical activity to strip themselves of all body fat. For the next one thousand days, their diet was restricted to just bark and roots. Near the end of this period, they would drink poisonous tea made from the sap of the Urushi tree, which caused vomiting and a rapid loss of body fluids. It also acted as a preservative and killed off maggots and bacteria that would cause the body to decay after death
They then sealed themselves in a tomb where, eventually, their Buddha-hood would be tested by seeing if they had achieved a state of self mummification.
Let us leave aside the validity of the practice for a second. It certainly serves as apt metaphor for many in our society today. Apparent piety designed only to gain attention and worship. During the Cold War those who would drape themselves in the flag have decide to drape themselves instead in Faith, and much like the Shroud of Turin its not the real deal.
The Romans put it nicely in a simple question: cui bono?
At least the monks had the dignity to die in the process.