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.



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Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 


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