So, what exactly is a modern yamabushi?
This is a very good question indeed! A yamabushi can be anyone and everyone. They tend to stand out from the crowd through their ability to go a little further and to walk where others fear to tread: The “path less travelled” , if you will. Full of quests to be undertaken, challenges to be answered and obstacles to be overcome. An exciting journey, full of wonder and excitement in the company of others of like mind.
The duties of a yamabushi:
- To bring light where there is darkness, love where there is hate and peace where there is hostility
- To always help others and to share their burdens, however heavy they may be, and to lead the way by example, rather than simply relying upon past reputation
- To love each other, do good and fear nothing!
Personal qualities and attributes
A warrior of the sacred mountain must have a body of steel, a will of iron and a heart of gold. Always remembering that kindness becomes power and gentleness becomes strength, and that we become strong by helping others become stronger, happy by helping others become happier and wise by helping others become wiser. And that, whenever you share good things, they always come back to you, so whatever you share becomes more, not less.
Retreats? No, we never retreat!
Far from retreating from mainstream society, a yamabushi actually chooses to immerse themselves completely within it. This is because our way is an all embracing and inclusive one, rather than being exclusive and elitist. A warrior of the sacred mountain is nothing special: It is just an ordinary person doing some extraordinary things.
Indeed, some of the things a warrior monk is capable of might well cause certain people to stand back in wonder. But that is just another way of making those people more “wonder-full”. It is the enemies known as ignorance, sorrow and suffering that must be forced to retreat, and never the yamabushi!
While a lot of philosophical paths begin with the student “discovering themselves: and finding out “who they really are” as far as the Yamabushi are concerned: If you haven’t found yourself and don’t already know who you are, then this particular path probably isn’t the one for you. A fledgling mountain warrior should already be very secure in themselves, as they will need to be concerned with far more important matters on their journey onward and upward the sacred mountain of enlightenment.
Remember: Just because someone looks like a yamabushi and talks like a yamabushi does not necessarily mean they are one. Certificates, belts, grades and even our budogi emblazoned with our sacred mon aren’t really all that important. It is what is on the inside that counts, and this truth is made manifest by the way we think, act and behave. True warrior monks of the sacred mountain will always recognise one another, as our hearts, minds and souls are inseparably and intrinsically linked.
Love, not war
True love is unconditional and eternal. So, in order for us to claim our immortality all we have to do is love as much as we possibly can in the purest way we can because, In the end, Love really is all there is.
Wherever a true warrior monk of the sacred mountain walks, demons will fear to tread! We need no words or rituals to banish the darkness of ignorance: Our very presence is enough to cause any evil to flee.A yamabushi accomplishes all of this not by engaging in battle, but by living in peace and harmony with other people and the environment. Caring for them and keeping them healthier, safer and more secure.A Yamabushi is not expected to be perfect, just to strive to become better than they are and become all they can be. And, by so doing, encourage others to do the same.