Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

(Jap.). A style of esoteric ascetic practice (see Esoteric Buddhism) in Japanese Buddhism that can be found within both the Tendai andShingon schools. The term literally means ‘the way of cultivating experience’, and is traced back to the Heian period when privately ordained monks went to the mountains, partly out of the native Japanese reverence for nature and mountains in particular, and partly to escape the government's increasingly intrusive regulation of monastic life. Such people, called yamabushi (those who lie down in the mountains) practised austerities such as long and arduous hikes through the mountains, seen as pilgrimages through sacred landscapes; fasting; long periods of scripture chanting without food and drink, and so on. While originally independent, they later became subsects within the Tendai and Shingon traditions, the two with the greatest emphasis on esoteric practice. The goal of practice is both personal transformation and liberation, and the acquisition of supernatural power.

Subjects: Buddhism.

Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.