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Yamabushi (山伏, one who prostrates himself on the mountain) are Japanese mountain ascetic hermits. [1] They are generally part of the syncretic shugendō religion, which includes Tantric Buddhist, Shinto, and Japanese Taoist elements. [2]


Their origins can be traced back to the solitary Yama-bito and some hijiri () (saints or holy persons) of the eighth and ninth centuries. [3]

According to author Frederik L. Schodt:

These positively medieval-looking nature worshipers carry metal staves and conch shells and wear straw sandals and sometimes a hemp cloth over-robe with the Heart Sutra written on it. They follow a mixture of esoteric or tantric Buddhism mixed with Shinto, the native animistic religion of Japan. [4]

Appearance of Yamabushi

Appearance of Yamabushi. They wear yuigesa, kyahan, tokin, shakujo in hand, and they blow horagai to prevent evil spirits Appearance-of-Yamabushi-rm.jpg
Appearance of Yamabushi. They wear yuigesa, kyahan, tokin, shakujō in hand, and they blow horagai to prevent evil spirits

Yamabushi usually wear and bring the following cloths and items: [5]

See also

Further reading

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  1. Nelson, Andrew Nathaniel (1995). The Original Modern Reader's Japanese-English Character Dictionary (Classic ed.). Rutland, Vermont: C. E. Tuttle Co. pp. 134, 346. ISBN   9780804819657.
  2. "Exoteric Buddhism, Esoteric Buddhism, and Shugendo - 顕教・密教・修験道". www.tendai-jimon.jp. Tendaijimon Sect. Archived from the original on 2020-12-21. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  3. Blacker, Carmen (1999). The Catalpa Bow: A Study of Shamanistic Practices in Japan (3rd ed.). Richmond, Virginia: Japan Library. pp. 165–167. ISBN   1873410859.
  4. Schodt, Frederik L. (2020). My Heart Sutra. Berkeley (Ca): Stone Bridge Press. ISBN   978-1-61172-062-4.
  5. (ja) Kotobanc Yamabushi