Education About Asia: Online Archives

Shugendo Now

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DIRECTED BY JEAN-MARC ABELA

JEAN-MARC ABELA AND MARC PATRICK MCGUIRE, PRODUCERS

EMPOWER PICTURES, 2009

88 MINUTES, ENGLISH SUBTITLES, DVD

Reviewed by William Londo

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 Power.”