INTERNATIONAL SHUGENDO ASSOCIATION
Shugendo - the spiritual path of the yamabushi ("one who bows down on the mountain") - is a 1500 year old Japanese religious tradition distilling the profound wisdom teachings of Asia. Combining esoteric Buddhist practice, Shinto awareness of the sacredness of nature, Daoist teachings, and outdoor asceticism such as mountain pilgrimage, Shugendo is an intensely embodied path of awakening.
Traditionally a lay rather than monastic tradition, Shugendo is open to all sincere persons regardless of background or profession. We invite you to join us.
The International Shugendo Association (ISA) - a not-for-profit organization incorporated in the United States - is the overseas outreach of the Mt. Koshikidake tradition of Shugendo centered on Kannon-ji temple in Yamagata prefecture, Japan. Our headmaster is the current heir of that tradition, Shokai Koshikidake. Koryu Shugen Honshu, a recognized religious denomination in Japan, was founded by him to promulgate the teachings of Shugendo in the modern era.
All persons interested in Shugendo, from any country or religious background (including other Shugendo traditions) are welcome to join ISA or participate in our public events. You may contact us (or one of our recognized practice centers) to begin learning.
TRAINING IN NATURE
Mountain Training, a central focus of Shugendo for centuries and perhaps its best-known practice, is conducted annually at Mt. Koshikidake in Japan. Other Shugendo gyoba - training fields - have been established at natural areas in Japan and North America.
During these outdoor trainings conducted throughout the year, mountains, valleys, and forests become places of meditation and mirrors revealing our intrinsic wisdom and compassion. Through ritual and ascetic practices like takigyo - meditation under waterfalls - the Shugendo practitioner can shed old patterns and awaken to a new life.
Shugendo is truly a way to be reborn through nature.
Shugendo practitioners learn many meditation and ritual practices integrating the "three mysteries" of body, speech, and mind - mudra, mantra, and visualization. These are studied in a graduated curriculum that begins with recitation of basic sutras and mantras and then progressively introduces the student to more complex practices. Perhaps the most famous practice is the Shugen goma, the fire ceremony, a form of deity yoga centered on various Buddhist figures such as Fudo Myo-o.
Anyone can study these things with time and diligence. Shugendo in our tradition allows qualified laypersons to learn mikkyo (vajrayana) and other hidden practices that in many sects are restricted to monastics.
Community is central to Shugendo in two ways.
First, we practice together. People from many walks of life can meet "on the mountain" - within the circle of our training - where they support one another. In our way of thinking, none succeeds unless all succeed.
Second, we practice not only for ourselves but for all beings: though we enter places of solitude to test ourselves, we return again to society to apply our practice for the benefit of all. This is the Shugendo way.
Shugendo is based upon respect and friendship. When you enter this path, you join a spiritual family.
Shokai Koshikidake was born in 1958 to a family whose members had been Shugendo priests at Mt. Koshikidake for centuries. Inheriting these traditions, along with a historically significant family archive of Shugendo knowledge that had elsewhere disappeared, he has devoted his life to sharing Shugendo teachings.
In 2005, after training extensively as a Tendai priest and in the Shugendo of Mt. Haguro's Kotaku-ji Shozen-in, he founded Koryu Shugen Honshu: an independent religious organization with the mission of preserving and reviving the Shugendo of the Mt. Koshikidake tradition. To this end, he has uniquely also welcomed non-Japanese students.
International Shugendo Association was founded at Koshikidake Soke's urging, in order to make these teachings more widely known outside Japan. Our mission is to plant Shugendo across the world, in ways matching the needs of different people and cultures.
ISA members may begin learning Shugendo practices under the guidance of our Headmaster and his students. They are also eligible to attend events throughout the year, including Mountain Training in Japan.
Beginning members submit an annual dues that supports our events and our headquarters in Japan. Your first year's membership dues includes our daily recitation book, and access to online instructional resources allowing you to begin learning that important practice. Some other things you will eventually need - such as juzu (prayer beads) - can be obtained through us on this site.
We welcome your interest, and are happy to answer your questions.
For more information on ISA membership, you may contact the practice center below that is nearest to you.
Koryu Shugen Honshu/Kannon-ji - Our headquarters temple
Higashine City, Yamagata Prefecture
Please contact through www.koryu-shugen.com
Shugendo Studies Oceania, Brisbane
Please contact Jisho Schroer through www.ubasoku.net
Tenmyoji Temple, Toronto
Please contact Eikai Ip via this Facebook page
Enkyoji Hokke Shugen Dojo, Seattle
Please contact Kanjin Cederman via this Facebook page
Korinji Shugen Dojo, Wisconsin
Please contact Meido Moore through www.korinji.org
We will shortly release our 2019-2020 full schedule. Please join our email list to be updated!
NOVEMBER 16, 2pm - 8pm
Autumn Shugendo Half-Day Retreat at Korinji in Wisconsin
We will practice the Shugendo daily recitation, walking and mantra practice outside,
and moon-disk meditation (Gachirinkan).
Senko Goma fire ceremony will be conducted to bless the participants.
Suggested donation: $45. Please RSVP to email@example.com
MAY 22-24 2020
Mountain Training at Mt. Koshikidake
Higashine City, Yamagata Prefecture, Japan
Led by Shokai Koshikidake Soke; special Guest: Kakudo Mitsunaga Dai-Ajari
Beginners are welcome for their first mountain entry
Please also join this Facebook group for updates
OCTOBER 16-18 2020 (Exact program TBA)
Shugendo Training in Wisconsin with Shokai Koshikidake Soke
Special Guest: Kakudo Mitsunaga Dai-Ajari
Provided as a service to members; proceeds benefit ISA
DAILY RECITATION BOOK
The Koryu Shugen Honshu Sutra Recitation Service, used for daily practice, contains Shugendo morning and evening services including important texts, mantra, and mudra. These daily recitations are the foundation of our training and crucial preparation for further ritual study.
English translations are included. An appendix includes scores for the traditional calls played on the horagai, the conch shell trumpet that is an important ritual item and symbol of Shugendo.
135 pages, spiral bound.
PRICE: Coming soon
JUZU (PRAYER BEADS)
Traditional juzu of the Tendai style, as used in our practice. The beads are made from ume (Japanese plum) wood, a hard and durable material that will last a lifetime. Juzu are used to count mantra recitations and are one of the indispensable ritual tools for practitioners.
These juzu are the chuhira (medium) size, which is ideal for carrying during outdoor training.
PRICE: Coming soon
The wagesa is a kind of stole worn by practitioners during daily recitation and other practice. It expresses connection with our Shugendo lineage and community.
This wagesa for laypersons is made from beautiful dark brown silk, embroidered with the symbols of Koryu Shugen Honshu and the Mt. Koshikidake tradition of Shugendo.
PRICE: Coming soon
FUDO MYO-O OFUDA
An ofuda is a special protective talisman. This one is dedicated to the Buddhist deity Fudo Myo-o, and will be blessed by Koshikidake Soke during a ritual conducted at the Taisekisan Fudo Myo-o Hall in Murayama City, Japan. It is handwritten by him.
Taisekisan Fudo Myo-o was venerated by the great general Abe no Hirafu, who was famous for his victorious campaigns in the Asuka era (7th century). This Fudo is also a special guardian of Mt. Koshikidake. The ritual has not been conducted for 150 years, and Koshikidake Soke is reviving it.
A small number of these ofuda are available.
PRICE: $85 includes EMS postage.
TO ORDER: Please contact us.