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Lesson from a Yamabushi Master

Your whole life is a form of training, a training that follows a ‘do’, a way or path. ‘Do’s have no end. We are constantly trying to better ourselves as we chug along the path.

A few months back I was watching a presentation about Shugendo by someone who has done work in Tottori but focuses on Shugendo in Japan as a whole. That was the first time I heard the phrase that everyday life is a form of Shugyo training. I had never heard or even thought of that until then.

On a separate occasion I was being interviewed for a TV show in front of Master Hoshino about becoming a yamabushi. In it I said that yamabushi training takes you away from everyday life, and in effect makes you appreciate what you have in your everyday life much more. I still stand by this, but it seems I got my wording a bit wrong.

I thought I was being smart in saying this stuff, but then Master Hoshino turns around and says ‘yamabushi training is also a part of everyday life’.

Yamabushi have a word for non-yamabushi life, Shaba, which I have since learned is also the word for life outside of prison. I’m not comparing the two, although there are definitely some similarities, but I thought having such a word denoted a duality.

It seems I was wrong.

Think about your everyday life not as a form of training in and of itself, but as a part of training where Yamabushi training and everyday life are one and the same.

It’s not as if you take on a different persona or identity when you join yamabushi training, it’s just an extension of your daily life.

And vice versa.

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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