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Columns, Film Review Essay

Shugendo Now

As the title of this documentary suggests, Shugendō Now examines the state of Shugendō practice today as practiced by both professional practitioners, known as yamabushi, and ordinary Japanese people. The film begins by explaining that yamabushi are those who enter the mountain to seek experiential truth. They perform austerities and ritual actions adopted from shamanism, the kami tradition, Esoteric Buddhism, and Daoism. This syncretic tradition is called Shugendō, “The Way of Acquiring...