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Ichigoichie and the opportunity for opportunities

A while back I was taking part in a calligraphy lesson at a Zen temple where we were asked to draw a simple circle, but only with one stroke. It’s amazing how much this simple exercise can tell you about your emotional state, if you are able to draw it well, it usually shows you are in a clear state of mind.

We were told that we would be gifted our drawings (they add the temple stamp and make it all fancy), so naturally, I wanted to make the best one possible. But of course I screwed up and stopped too early. I asked the monk whether it was ok to draw on top, and he forbid me from doing so. So I started again.

In any endeavour, be it creative, business, or for personal joy, we need opportunities to try. But each opportunity needs to be treated with respect. If you know you have many opportunities, you become complacent, and you can become sloppy and lose focus if you’re not careful.

There is a saying that is quite apt in this situation that is very common in Japanese tea ceremony, Ichigoichie. Ichigoichie is about respecting the moment for what it is. It’s about taking the time to respect the people with you, the season, the tea in front of you. Not worrying about yesterday, or even something that happened seconds prior.

While we may get the chance to practice things over and over, Ichigoichie is based on the premise that we only get one chance to experience this moment. Better make the most of it.

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi


Hi, I’m Tim Bunting AKA the Kiwi Yamabushi, a New Zealander who became a Yamabushi Ascetic in the Dewa Sanzan mountains of north Japan. I’m part of the Yamabushido team, and we host life-altering Yamabushi training on the Dewa Sanzan (website link). People come to us for the ultimate mindfulness experience, to reach the next level, or simply connect with nature and themselves.

I’m on a mission to summit all 100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata Prefecture to spread the splendour of this fabulous location, and in dedication to all those who lost their lives out in nature, including my father.

On my daily blog I post thoughts of a practicing Yamabushi that I hope people can use to better themselves and live as fulfilling a life as possible.

Sign up to the weekly Mountains of Wisdom newsletter, follow me on social (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, Clubhouse, all @kiwiyamabushi), or send me an email via the link below to stay in touch.



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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 


All photos my own. Contact for more. 

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