Category Archives: japan

yamabushi.

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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

 

holy flume ride.

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The Onbashira festival is held only once every six years, (next one will be in April 2022), to metaphorically revitalize the Suwa shrines. The historic and lengthy event has been performed for over 1,200 years in Japan, and consists of two month-long components. The Yamadashi takes place in April, during which four very large tree trunks are felled by hand axes in the cemetery of a shinto shrine. They are wrapped and adorned in red and white, and then dragged by teams of men towards the Shinto shrines, who test their courage during the trial by performing “kiotoshi”: dangerously riding the logs downhill on rough inclines. The Satokibi, in May, sees these logs used as symbolic support structures. They are raised in the shrines by hand, while one man straddles the top, singing. When it is fully raised, and the man on top balanced many feet in the air, success is declared. A remarkable spectacle.

“to celebrate a festival means; to live out,

for some special occasion and in an uncommon manner,

the universal assent to the world as a whole.”

-joseph pieper

 

source credits: mental floss magazine