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Yamabushi advice: Dealing in situations

Although I know I am in an unusual situation, a Kiwi Yamabushi living in rural Japan, I really don’t think I am unusual. Rather, I think it’s the situation I find myself in that is the unusual thing. I was listening to Master Hoshino talk yesterday, and he said that he doesn’t actively go after the situations he finds himself in, it’s just that the situations happen to him. He never set about having a TV show made about him, and he even denied requests for a book to be written about him, which he now has three. In fact, the first book that I am currently translating was originally denied on the basis that Yamabushi lessons are passed on by word of mouth, so it would be unnatural to have them written down, so his first book is basically just a collection of his spoken thoughts written down (to say nothing of this blog).

It’s interesting to think about situations happening to you in this way, and I think this is just life. These examples just happen to be ‘good’ or I guess favourable things that happen, and there also happen to be other undesirable things that happen to you. These things then combine to create unique situations that we find ourselves in. In my opinion, whether things are favourable or not really just depends on your outlook. Everything is inherently favourable if you let it be, even ‘bad’ experiences have great lessons to be learned. ‘Unfavourable’ experiences just might not be fun in the moment, but time and perspective will allow you to see the benefits of having experienced them, we just may not be able to see them yet. Living through COVID is but one of these situations, I’m sure of it. Although war is definitely best avoided, it’s hard to deny that people were made all the stronger having experienced it. We will all be stronger having experienced COVID, it’s how you deal with it in the moment that matters.

Another personal example I have is my experience studying abroad in Okayama in 2008. At the time, I was very lonely, only really having one true friend who I am grateful to still be in contact with. Once I got back to NZ, I felt that I had grown so much over that short 6 month period. Not only that, I knew that even with an ‘unfavourable’ experience in Japan, that I could live there if I felt like it. My dream to live there that started 3 years prior on a school trip hadn’t changed, and it hasn’t changed since either. Looking back on what at the time was a painful experience, I still wouldn’t give it up, and I am extremely grateful to even be given the chance to have the experience and to have something to reflect on and learn from.

So, I think it helps to think of situations as out of your control sometimes, or maybe always. I know this may have a negative impact on goal-setting, as at the same time I believe visualising things happening can be a powerful motivator for doing great things, but this situational awareness I see more as a way of dealing with the unexpected, favourable or not.

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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All photos my own. Contact for more. 

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