In September I am considering travelling to Japan to train with the Yamabushi monks. I have found a good teacher who will guide me.
The Yamabushi follow a path called Shugendo. Shugendo translates as ‘the way to magical powers though hardships’ or ‘the way of cultivating psychic and spiritual powers’.
The Yamabushi are ascetic mountain warriors who are the holders of an ancient tradition involving the practice of strict and rigorous mystical disciplines. This wisdom is the source of the spiritual teaching the Ninja used for their missions and recorded in their manuscript. The Ninja were often Yamabushi themselves.
The founder of this path was a man named En no gyoj who lived near Kyoto in the late 7th Century. He was said to be a magician banished to the mountains for hypnotising people with his magical powers.
I plan to spend two weeks in Japan in retreat deep in the mountains. Here I will undergo harsh training, and while constantly climbing and walking the mountains I will learn the practice of rituals, meditation, fasting, standing like a tree, fire walking, abstaining from drinking water, sutra recitation, contemplation, misogi (spiritual purification by standing under freezing waterfalls), and the practice of sammitsu (mind control by magical words and hand signals, shamanism and clairvoyance. The whole experience will culminate in three days on the mountain with nothing but a white robe and food supplies.
How do you think these skills will translate in the western world, and how will they change me?