The Yamabushi


The Yamabushi (Yama-mountain bushi-soldier) was a group of soldiers who lived in mountains of Japan. They lived and they trained of rustic way, were religious of the Shinto (native religion of Japón)y to many of its abilities attributed mystical character to them.

The origin of the Yamabushi, they are apparently the Ubasoku, a species of shamanes that lived in mountains and practiced sintoístas and taoistas rites before the arrival from the Buddhism to Japan. One of these Ubasoku was In-Not Ghyoja (604-705 d.C.), who was recognized like one of the more powerful lay magicians of its time; according to the Shoku Nihon Ghi (chronic of cut 697-791 d.C.)vivió in mountains of Katsuragui, near Koya San, present sintoísta center, in where he practiced the magical formulas of "Jumon" or "Sutra of King Pavo Real or Fénix" with which could make magic, besides to dominate to espiritus and the Kamis (deities shinto) and to admonish to the Oni (demons). One thinks that he was the founder of the Shugendo sect, since we found statues of him in all the temples of this religion.

Another one of these ubasoku was Kobo Daishi (Kukai)(774-835 d.C.) who founded the Shingon religion and brought the tántrica doctrine from India to Japan, that later used the Yamabushi.

At the Heinan time (834-909 d.C.) in the provice of Yamato, a group of priests (ubasoku) and vagabonds, retired to mountains of this region for the harmonious practice of their religion (shinto or Buddhist) in complete harmony with the nature. They were made call Shuhendo and they came from two sects; the Shingon and the Tendai, that are the two Mikkyo (esotericas sects) of Japan. The sect shingon was created by the Sho-ho monk of the temple of Daigo Ji also known since Tozan Has. The Tendai sect was created by the Zoyo monk of the temple of Shogo In.

They had great height until the Meiji time (1872) since the government abolished to these groups by the fact that they were very powerful politica and militarily. It was after World War II (1945), when the freedom of creed in Japan, in which some surviving groups of Yamabushi regrouped, clear settled down that with less affluence than before.

As or it had been mentioned, the Yamabushi lived in mountains taking an austere existence, without no of the comforts that could offer the city or the temples. Their techniques are a combination of popular beliefs, buddhism, sintoísmo and taoísmo of esoteric type and wait for in 5000 years the arrival of the new Buddha, Miroku Bosatsu (or Boddshisattva Maitreya). It would be possible to be said that the objective of the Shugendo is the one to reach supernatural powers atravez of the magical practices of the Shinto, as they are orations of mantras and formulas of encantamiento.

Some of their important centers but are in Honshu Omine San to the center of this and Dewa San to the north, and Ehiko San in Kyushu. The Yamabushi practice consists of the total resignation of the material, as much so some finished momificados in the snow of mantañas, since their only company was their orations. Another common practice of the Yamabushi is the one to remain under the frozen spurt (in Dewa San to 1500m of altitude) of a cascade by several hours without letting say the same oration to obtain the control of mind and body that allows to support the suffering them and to obtain the illumination. Also they accustomed, like exercise of initiation to beginners and which the veterans do annually, whom after day's march in mountains releases, complied a hall with the doors and closed windows and at midnight began to burn payuika and saved of rice in the braziers; the monks had to hold the smoke during all the night without falling asleep, neither to cover the mouth, nor the nose, in spite of the fatigue, the smoke, the slight dark and the heat.

After six days of this tired routine, they walked on live coals of ardent pine to finish the Gomma (fire purification); one says that sometimes the teacher transmitted his spiritual force to the student so that he has supported walking by live coals. Another test (Go Hyo) that exists it consists of loading on his back a very heavy stone, if the monk is not pure of heart will not be able to resist and will be squashed. One also says, that if some monk became ill and it was not possible to be cured with single his will threw it to a precipice. The monks had to resign to everything and to live on wild foods and alms, besides to remain chaste. Nevertheless this custom disappeared when they arrived the Miko (women chaman) with which married, although these could not follow the monk to the mountain.

Valuntad of the Yamabushi does not have to know you limit, must be able to do and to resist everything, can raise and lower mountain thousands of times without getting tired themselves, exposing themselves to the fire and not to burn themselves. Its power comes from Boddhisatva (Bosatsu) using a Vajra or Kongo, nevertheless entrust other Gods, for example to Fudo Myo that is the Kami of the meditation.

That one that surpasses all the tests will be able to appear again like a Buddha equipped with supernatural powers. Due to their ability in the martial arts and to their forces apparently on human, the Yamabushi often was used like mercenarios by the government and other politicas forces of Japan. These monks of Yamabushi it was known them with the name of Goji Under, who used their magic to help to some Daimyo in their personal revenges

For this, the Goji Under left totems in the towns that they loved to affect for being able to scatter with his magic, diseases, hatred, it displeases, and other curses that would scare people.

As we already know, the Yamabushi had total control of their mind and body, loved the nature and was expert in resistance and survival, this makes us think that there is one narrow relation with the "Ninja" since there are these attributed the knowledge to them of secret techniques, mysterious powers and a total self-control of his vital functions. It could have been that some Soke of some Ninja clan, had received the instruction of some Yamabushi and this it as well passed this knowledge of generation in generation to his clan.

Although there is no clear evidence of the relation between Yamabushi and Ninja, is also probable that some monk could become ninja and fight by the causes that he believed advisable. It is necessary to remember that a Ninja could be anyone: a farmer, samurai or also yamabushi.

Another one of the influences of the Yamabushi in the martial arts was in some schools of the IAI Jutsu and Ken Jutsu like the one of Yagyu Shinkage Ryu, coming from Kage Ryu (school of sombra)y later the Yagyu changed the name to him to Shinkage (or new shade). One says that the Feudo Yagyu was in Kinki, mountainous region between the lake Biwa and Nara, near the monastery of Kasuga, and directed by a descending family of the Sugawara.

In the Yagyu Shinkague Ryu the study of the Muto (or it fights disarmed against a armed opponent) and the Shuriken Jitsu are emphasized (to send special arms), which were taken care of to conserve their effectiveness. As we see, espirítu of the Yamabushi is to a great extent influences of the Ueshiba teacher, since it is mentioned that in its childhood, Or Sensei was a student of Kobo Daishi and In-Not Ghyoja, in addition of which later it was devoted to the practice of the Shintoísmo. Adding to this the fact that Morihei Ueshiba practiced during long time the fencing style Yagyu Ryu (another technique of Yamabushi), that clearly note by the movements used in its Aikido.




Hosted by www.Geocities.ws