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The Heart Sutra

Midnight. On top of a mountain. Inside a small shrine. Only candle light to guide you. It flickers as you recite the Heart Sutra non-stop and enter a trance.

Every year from the 6th of May, Yamabushi belonging to Daishobo spend 3 consecutive days at Prince Hachiko Shrine on the top of Mt. Haguro praying the Heart Sutra in remembrance of those who lost their lives in the earthquake and following tsunami on the eastern coast of Japan in 2011.

I never thought I would be someone who would join in such ceremonies, but I’m glad I did. Not only did I get the chance to really consider the lives of those affected, but it was quite a solemn experience and time did seem to melt away. This time it was different because I was more confident in my ability to recite the Heart Sutra, so confident that I can remember it all, and I even felt the words just flowing out of me without giving any thought to it. That was quite a powerful experience.

Something like this sounds a bit like torture, but it’s nothing worse than what those who were impacted by the earthquake and tsunami felt.

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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Get In Touch

Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 


All photos my own. Contact for more. 

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