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The Japanese Shugendo Religion: Going Back to One’s True Nature

Taichi Tani is a monk in a village in Kochi Prefecture on Shikoku Island.  Although Shikoku is famous for its pilgrimage and numerous Shingon Buddhism temples, Mr. Tani’s temple is outside the pilgrimage route and from another tradition: Shugendo. Shugendo is a Japanese religion mixing Buddhism, Shinto, and Taoism. Ascetic training in the mountains is a central…

Omisoka and O-Shogatsu: The Japanese Year-End and New Year’s Holidays

The New Year, called “O-Shogatsu” in Japanese, is a traditionally very important holiday for Japanese people. In ancient times, January used to be early spring according to the lunar calendar. It was the season when everything started flourishing again. Like in many other cultures, people gathered and wished each other a prosperous year. Today’s Japanese…

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