BRB Sri Lanka

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There is an old story in Japanese Buddhist legends, said to come from India.

A group of 500 merchants, led by Sokara, set to sea in search of treasure. A storm comes and they wash up on the shores of an island of beautiful women.

“There’s no men here,” they say. “You’ll just have to marry all of us!”

The lusty merchants are lured back to the castle town of potential wives. Each takes one and for a while it is quite a saucy tale indeed, but Sokara, that ol’ kill-joy, is agitated. It seems to good to be true, so he decides to ruin it for everyone.

Sokara takes a walk outside the compound and stumbles upon a prison of men. Some men are barely breathing, others are nothing but bones. There’s limbs everywhere, it’s just real disgusting and horrible.

He strikes up a chat with some haggard prisoner.

“Don’t trust those ladies,” the prisoner says. “They’re all fun in games until the next ship of merchants comes in. They’re demons! Rasetsu demons, all of’em!”

Sokara thanks the man for his opinion and slinks off, worried.

He bides his time a while because hey, it might be a while before another ship washes up full of merchants, and he’s getting some, which is a nice change of pace from all these ladies friendzoning him all the time, but finally he has a guy’s night and decides to mention the prison full of half-eaten men that he saw.

The merchants don’t take it so cooly. Maybe they figure they don’t need to rely on desperate beauties on stray islands to get some tail, especially if it means getting eaten by their wives.

“There are plenty of fit ladies back home, Sokara. I don’t need to go to eatin’ jail.”

The men start praying and soon a boddhisattva appears in the form of a giant white horse capable of carrying 500 men. I’m not sure how it worked, if it was a really long horse, or if it was just really wide, but either way, the fit ladies of the island were pissed.

One guy, a real mouth-breather, knows he’s never gonna get any action like he got on this island so he lets go of the horse to get back to his wife. Wife eats him.

The rest of them get home and go on merchanting and commercing and all that until two years later when ol’ Sokara sees his ex-wife in his bedroom begging him to come back.

“I’d have trusted you if you didn’t try to tear my limbs off with those squirrelly teeth of yours,” he says. “I’m gonna kill you with a sword!”

She’s not so hot on that and takes it to the King. The King is all hot and bothered because she’s, as we’ve established, real fit. Sokara is all like, “Your honor, or highness or whatever, this lady here’s a cannibal, and she’s my ex-wife. You gotta let me kill her with a sword.”

The King is pretty sure she’s not a cannibal so he starts chatting her up and pretty soon the two of them are having a bawdy spin on the royal linens. For three days!

Sokara is sort of forced to stand outside awkwardly while the King and his hot ex-wife make all kinds of noise in the bedroom, real kinky sounding stuff. Three days later she comes out and Sokara would have been all “I told you so” only he’d be telling a dead King he was gonna die. Cuz the former Mrs. Sokara came out of that King’s bedroom with a mouth full of the King’s blood. All that was left of the King was “a pool of blood and hair.”

Sokara has had enough of his crazy ex-wife. So he gets together an army of lads and storms the island, this time sparing no mercy for any woman regardless of how pretty her eyes were or how straight her teeth. All the women instantly turn into demons and start screaming and eating people – women, am I right? – but Sokara and his army of lads triumph.

The lads make Sokara the new king of the island of horny cannibal ladies, now that all the cannibal lady ghosts have been killed, and the descendants persist to this day on that island, now called Sri Lanka. Sokara went on to die and eventually, after a few more lifetimes, reincarnated into the Buddha, Guatama Siddhartha, who would lead 500 disciples to the three treasures only after escaping the lure of sensual illusions.

This story has parallels across Asia, but is documented in a Japanese version of The Lotus Sutra.

“The twenty-fifth chapter of the Lotus, known as the “Kanzeon Fumonbon” 観世音普門品, enumerates ten perils from which the bodhisattva Kannon assures protection. Among them is the danger of being shipwrecked on an island of man-eating demons.” – D. Max Moerman, “Demonology and Eroticism.”

Now you know who to pray to.

Anyway, I’m in Sri Lanka this week. Comment approval and e-mails may take a while.

Headphones connected to the iPhone connected to the Google connected to This Japanese Life on Facebook (Connected to the government). 

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