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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. 

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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:

Shugendo should be a platform welcoming various religions and philosophies. My students have many backgrounds, including priests from different Buddhist traditions, practitioners of religions such as Daoism, Christianity, and many others. The reason why we gathered together is that Shugendo is a teaching coming from this planet. We are all living on the same planet in this Universe. There is no reason not to share this treasure of Shugendo for everyone.Our most powerful weapon is our different backgrounds and abilities. We must have more strong confidence in ourselves. Everyone has an amazing history and character. Please be proud of your religion, nationality, gender, and whatever identity you have. Then, we can visit each other to explore new worlds and cultures, and share them. This is our style of Shugendo, as a religion belonging to this planet.      -Shokai Koshikidake, Soke (Headmaster) of the Mt. Koshikidake tradition of Shugendo

 
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ABOUT ISA

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. The official Advisor of Koryu Shugen Honshu is Kakudo Mitsunaga Dai-Ajari, the most famous living "marathon monk" of Mt. Hiei (and Koshikidake Soke's master).

Persons interested in Shugendo, from any country or religious background (including other Shugendo traditions), are welcome to apply to join ISA or participate in our public events. You may contact us  (or one of our groups) to begin learning.

For a detailed history of our Shugendo tradition see this article.

 

OUR PRACTICE

"It is a pity that some people think Shugendo is only a kind of technique to perform ritual.

戒律: Buddhist Precepts, 
懺悔: Repentance, 奉仕: Service, 

布施: Offerings

 

My translation of the above things may not be perfect. But you may be able to understand that there is no technical matter mentioned in this list.

Your mind and attitude toward deities and human beings is the most important thing. We cannot be dishonest to them."
 
- Koshikidake Soke

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.

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DAILY PRACTICE

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 if they have sufficient time and diligence. Ordination is required to learn beyond a basic level, but Shugendo is historically a tradition centered outside monasteries. This means that you need not be a full-time monastic or professional clergy to learn mikkyo (vajrayana) and other hidden practices. The most important thing is your own dedication and effort. If you are committed and willing to work hard over time, there is a path open to you.

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COMMUNITY

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.

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OUR TEACHER

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.

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MEMBERSHIP

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 in the USA and Europe, and Mountain Training in Japan. Membership is additionally the gateway to many resources - including translated texts - that Soke has prepared for his students' use.

Members submit an entrance fee upon joining, and thereafter a small monthly donation that supports our events and our headquarters in Japan. When you join you will receive our daily recitation book and access to online resources for learning that and other important ritual practices. Some other things you will eventually need - such as juzu (prayer beads) - can be obtained through us on this site.

To apply, read the information on this page, and fill out the online application. You will also be able to submit your entrance fee there securely using PayPal.

Attention to new members who have already been accepted: 

if you have already submitted your application and been notified of acceptance by ISA, here is the page where you may set up your monthly donation and learn what comes next. 

 

GROUPS & CONTACTS

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For more information on ISA membership, you may contact the person below that is nearest to you.

JAPAN
 

Koryu Shugen Honshu/Kannon-ji - Our headquarters temple

 Higashine City, Yamagata Prefecture 

Please contact through www.koryu-shugen.com

AUSTRALIA
 

Shugendo Studies Oceania, Brisbane

Please contact Jisho Schroer through www.ubasoku.net

CANADA
 

Tenmyoji Temple, Toronto

Please contact Eikai Ip via this Facebook page

GERMANY

Rossau, Saxony

Please contact Jiho Kahl via this Facebook page

 

UNITED STATES
 

Puerto Rico: 
Koryu Shugendo Puerto Rico, San Juan
Please contact Jisen G. Javier Garcia through www.shugendopr.org

Washington:
Enkyoji Hokke Shugen Dojo, Seattle
This group is focused on reviving Shugendo practice connected to the Nichiren tradition

Please contact Kanjin Cederman via this Facebook page

Wisconsin:
Korinji Shugen Dojo, Reedsburg

Please contact Meido Moore through www.korinji.org

 

 

PRAYER REQUESTS

Several times a month, Koshikidake Soke conducts goma - fire ceremony - dedicated to various Buddhas, bodhisattvas, and deities including Fudo Myo-o, Yakushi Nyorai (Medicine Buddha), Juichimen Kannon, and others. During these ceremonies he will burn prayer boards in the goma fire that contain wishes and dedications. The power of such ritual, when conducted by a qualified master, can be extraordinary.

If you would like to have a prayer - for yourself, for others, for those who have passed away - included in Soke's dedication,
please contact ISA. Include the details of your prayer sufficiently that Soke can inscribe them on a wishing board. We will then notify you of the day/time of the ceremony, and if you are on Facebook we can invite you to a closed page where it will be livestreamed.

The suggested donation for prayer requests is $30, which you can submit via PayPal using the button below.

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PRACTICE ITEMS

Provided as a service to ISA members.
Please be patient, as we order from Japan periodically and will send your items to you as soon as possible.
Due to Covid, for some items there may be a shipping delay of some weeks or several months.

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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, hard cover and bound in the traditional Japanese manner. For ISA members only, one per member. Note: this book is INCLUDED with your ISA entrance fee as a new member. Please apply for membership.

PRICE: $150.00 includes postage from Japan.

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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. For ISA members only, one per member. Please apply for membership.

PRICE: $90.00 includes postage from Japan.

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WAGESA

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.
 

For ISA members only, one per member. Please apply for membership.
 

PRICE: $85.00 includes postage from Japan.

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FUDO MYO-O OFUDA

An ofuda is a special protective talisman. This one carries the energy of the Buddhist deity Fudo Myo-o, and will be empowered by Koshikidake Soke during a ritual conducted by him. It is handwritten by Soke and personalized for the one requesting it (the one shown in the photo is an example).

Ofuda may be placed on one's personal altar or in any place of honor in a room.


PRICE: $110 includes postage from Japan.

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LIMITED EDITION - ONLY 5 AVAILABLE:

SIGNED MARISHITEN KIRIGAMI BY KOSHIKIDAKE SOKE

These are large (15.5" x 21") kirigami, "cut paper," of original designs by our Shugendo Headmaster, Shokai Koshikidake. We have five each of 2 designs that have been drawn, hand-cut, numbered, signed, and empowered by him:

This kirigami depicts the Buddhist deity Marishiten, who was much revered by the samurai (this is also the guardian deity of Korinji in Wisconsin). Marishiten is the god (or goddess) of the dawn, here shown in a fierce aspect astride a wild boar and wielding various weapons. In the Marishiten Bosatsu Darani Kyo it is said that she is invisible and fast as light, and can not be hindered, traced, or obstructed by enemies. Those who chant the Marishiten mantra also gain these benefits.

Donations for these kirigami support our hosting of Koshikidake Soke and his master Kakudo Mitsunaga Dai-Ajari (the most famous living Mt. Hiei "marathon monk") at Korinji in Wisconsin in 2022!


PRICE: $285 includes postage.

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LIMITED EDITION - ONLY 5 AVAILABLE

SIGNED KISHIMOJIN KIRIGAMI BY KOSHIKIDAKE SOKE

These are large (15.5" x 21") kirigami, "cut paper," of original designs by our Shugendo Headmaster, Shokai Koshikidake. We have five each of 2 designs that have been drawn, hand-cut, numbered, signed, and empowered by him:

This kirigami depicts the fierce eye of the Buddhist deity Kishimonjin, who is venerated as a protector in Nichiren Buddhism (also the guardian deity of Enkyoji Hokke Shugen Dojo in Seattle). Kishimojin (Sanskrit: Hariti) appears in the Lotus Sutra, and in Japanese Buddhism is an aspect of the Bodhisattva of compassion. She especially protects children.

Donations for these kirigami support our hosting of Koshikidake Soke and his master Kakudo Mitsunaga Dai-Ajari (the most famous living Mt. Hiei "marathon monk") at Korinji in Wisconsin in 2022!


PRICE: $285 includes postage.

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ONLY 2 LEFT

SPECIAL TALISMAN AGAINST ILLNESS

We have only a few of the special talismans against illness that Koshikidake Soke has made and empowered in response to the current pandemic. The inscriptions come from the archive of ancient Shugendo ritual practices that were preserved by his family. He explains:
 

"There is my family old document which collected many talismans, I found out one of them is very effective to expel any epidemic diseases. A secret incantation is engraved on the front side, and a secret Japanese poetry sutra is on the back side. That Japanese poetry said that ‘I will become wind and blow any disease away by the power of Kamikaze [divine winds] from Ise’."


These come with cords for wearing around the neck, but also with smaller cords for attaching to a mobile phone, keychain, bag, etc.


PRICE: $70 includes postage.

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KANNON-JI OMAMORI

This protective talisman shows the honzon, main image of veneration, at Kannonji temple in Yamagata, near Mt. Koshikidake - our headquarters temple. This is Kannon Bosatsu (Avalokitesvara), the bodhisattva of compassion. The talisman has been empowered by Soke. 


These come on smaller cords for attaching to a mobile phone, bag, keychain, etc.


PRICE: $30 includes postage.

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LIMITED AVAILABILITY: SPECIAL SANKOSHO FOR SHUGENDO PRACTITIONERS

Now available in limited numbers: this remarkable ancient style sankosho (three-point vajra), recreated precisely from an existing artifact kept as a treasure in Shoso-in temple. Koshikidake Soke describes its significance:

"According to Shugendo tradition, En no Gyoja caused the deity Zao Gongen to manifest through his ascetic prayer in the Kumano mountains. The implement which was held by Zao Gongen was this Sankosho. Its shape was simple but powerful, called 忿怒型 (wrathful style). It is a very ancient style of 鈷 (vajra). One of these 忿怒型三鈷杵 (wrathful 3 points vajra) still existing is known as a Shoso-in byobutsu (正倉院御物, Shoso-in Imperial Property), a treasure of that temple.

Some say that the wrathful 3 point vajra is an image of lightning because En no Gyoja met Zao Gongen among thunderbolts. It is interesting that the image of the thunderbolt is found in ancient religions across the world, including Greek, Mesopotamian, and those of the Far East including in Japan. The power of our planet and nature is revealed in this shape. Please take this thunderbolt in your hands for your practice."


18.5 cm long, high-quality copper alloy. This is a rare item specially commissioned by Soke for our training: please obtain it while its still available. For ISA members only, one per member. Please apply for membership.

PRICE: $399 includes postage.

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2022 KIRIGAMI BY KOSHIKIDAKE SOKE

Kirigami, "cut paper," of original designs by our Shugendo Headmaster, Shokai Koshikidake. Each one is handmade by him. More than just artwork, these are meant as talismans and have been empowered using Shugendo ritual. Two sizes are available: big (39.5×53.5cm) and small (32×42.5cm).
 

Designs for the 2022 Tiger Year are shown:
 

Top row, left to right:  Bishamonten riding a Tiger; Tiger; Wrathful Daikokuten (Mahakala); Daitoku Myo-o
Bottom row, left to right: Treasure Ship (for wealth); Ebisu and Daikokuten (big size only is available); Horagai; Nyo-i Hoju (wish-fulfilling jewel).


PRICE: $45 each includes postage.
SPECIAL FOR ISA MEMBERS: Order 2 or more at $35.00 each.

TO ORDER: Please contact us to specify which designs and sizes you want. You may then submit payment by Paypal to shugeninternational@gmail.com

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UPCOMING EVENTS

Please ​join our email list to be updated about events.


MONTHLY SHUGENDO PRACTICE DAYS IN WISCONSIN

A monthly get-together in natural areas near Korinji (Reedsburg, WI) for hiking, meditation and mantra recitation, and takigyo (waterfall training).
Beginners welcome. 
See www.korinji.org for details.




APRIL 16-18

WA Spring Shugendo Mountain Training and Hokke Shugen Practice

A three-day intensive practice including the Jikkai Shugyo (10 Realms Training) on the mountain, suigyo (water purification practice), ritual and meditation practice. Conducted in natural areas near Seattle, WA.
See here at gasshodo.com for details.

 



MAY 21-23

Wisconsin Spring Shugendo Mountain Training

​A three-day intensive practice including the Jikkai Shugyo (10 Realms Training) on the mountain, takigyo (waterfall training), ritual and meditation practice. Conducted in natural areas near Korinji monastery (about 50 miles NW of Madison).
See
www.korinji.org for details.


 

JUNE 25-27

WA Summer Shugendo Mountain Training and Hokke Shugen Practice

A three-day intensive practice including the Jikkai Shugyo (10 Realms Training) on the mountain, suigyo (water purification practice), ritual and meditation practice. Conducted in natural areas near Seattle, WA.
See here at gasshodo.com for details.


 

AUGUST 20-22

Shugendo Mountain Training in Chironico, Switzerland.


A three-day training in natural areas including hiking, takigyo (waterfall training),

and practice of various ritual and meditation methods.
Info brochure
here.
Please contact Myoen Ciucci: nicole.ciucci@vtxmail.ch

 



SEPTEMBER 24-26

Wisconsin Autumn Shugendo Training

​A three-day intensive practice conducted at Korinji (about 50 miles NW of Madison) and in nearby natural areas.
Special guest: Rev. Eikai Ip of the Toronto Tenmyo-ji temple.
Event details and registration info
here.
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OCTOBER 15-17

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 more updates.



2022 EVENTS:


 

MAY 19-21, 2022

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 more updates.

 


JULY 29-31, 2022

Mountain Training in Switzerland
 

Shugendo Mountain Training in Chironico, including hiking, waterfall training, and practice of various meditation methods in nature.

​To receive updates, please contact Myoen Ciucci: nicole.ciucci@vtxmail.ch




OCTOBER 1-3, 2022 (exact event schedule TBA)

Shugendo Empowerments and Teachings in Wisconsin with Mitsunaga Dai-Ajari and Koshikidake Soke

 

Led by Shokai Koshikidake Soke, Headmaster of the Mt. Koshikidake Tradition of Shugendo

Special Guest: Kakudo Mitsunaga Dai-Ajari, Tendai Buddhist master and famous "marathon monk"

Join us for this historic first visit of Mitsunaga Ajari to the USA. Kechien Kanjo will be conducted by Mitsunaga Ajari.

Other kanjo (empowerments),instruction in Shugendo practice, goma (fire ceremony), and other activities also offered.
Details and registration here.

 

OCTOBER 7-9, 2022 (details TBA)

Shugendo Training in Seattle, WA with Shokai Koshikidake Soke


Hosted by Enkyoji Hokke Shugen Dojo.