A Beautiful Documentary About the Yamabushi Monks in Japan Who Immerse Themselves In Nature

In the short documentary “Mountain Monks”, filmmaker Fritz Schumann has captured the quiet beauty of the ancient religion and the monks who climb mountains and traverse waterfalls in northern Japan, often without shoes on their feet in a meaningful ritual that symbolizes death and rebirth.

This once-forbidden ancient faith they follow is a combination of Shinto, Buddhism, Animism, Taoism, and mountain religions, and its mission is to help others strip away the excesses of modern life and regain their strength in nature. Schumann reveals the rarely seen side of the Yamabushi through personal interviews and gorgeous footage. While their tradition is at risk of disappearing, it offers a way for those seeking a different path in Japan‘s society.

“my imagination is a monastery and I am its monk.”

-john keats




credits: lori dorn, laughing squid, fritz schumann, youtube


46 responses »

  1. a beautiful and respectful doco; I know there are times when I felt ‘strangled’ at work and I longed for something more; I found it for a time in Raj Yoga —- I may post a poem about that experience —and in the rigors of ocean swimming in the winter but ii was pretty brutal; I like the way of the monks 🙂

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  2. It is incredible. Our minds are very powerful tools and a well trained mind, a disciplined mind can lead the body to endure things unimaginable. Faith and concentration can lead humans to do the unthinkable. Lovely post Beth!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I think Leonard Cohen’s years he spent been a ‘Monk’ were a important part of his creativity …
    In an interview during his period living as a Buddhist monk, he remarked: “It’s a popular notion that it is exclusively suffering that produces good work or insightful work, I don’t think that’s the case. I think in a certain sense it’s a trigger or a lever, but I think that good work is produced in spite of suffering, as a victory over suffering.”

    This idea of more play and less pressure is something that proved to be both a boon to his creativity and also his general wellbeing. He may not have kept up with the tennis, but finding exultation in the simple joys of life and moving away from maudlin in despair to revelling in mindfulness is something he sustained for the remainder of his days, and it is a reminder to all of us to do the same.

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