Because Korinji's lineage stresses the embodied and intensely energetic nature of genuine Zen practice, various kinds of physical culture have historically been highly valued as complementary disciplines. Traditional martial arts (bujutsu) are especially useful for this, since they train the body-mind in a manner that meshes well with Zen training. Some of Korinji's lineage ancestors, like Omori Sogen Roshi, were practitioners of arts like swordsmanship.
Korinji has a proprietary bujutsu curriculum which is only taught to students here. Korinji residents receive formal training in this curriculum twice a week under the guidance of our abbot, Meido Roshi, as a practice supporting the cultivation of body and breath, to bring out intense energy, to cut habitual self-absorption, and to manifest bodily fearlessness.
Periodic intensive martial art training events are also hosted at Korinji.
Shugendo - the spiritual path of the yamabushi ("one who bows down on the mountain") - is a 1500 year old Japanese religious tradition distilling the profound wisdom teachings of Asia. Combining esoteric Buddhist practice, Shinto awareness of the sacredness of nature, Daoist teachings, and outdoor asceticism such as mountain pilgrimage and immersion in waterfalls, Shugendo is an intensely embodied path of awakening.
Aside from Rinzai Zen training Korinji also houses Korinji Shugen Dojo, a center for Shugendo practice recognized by Shokai Koshikidake Soke, the Headmaster of the Mt. Koshikidake (Yamagata, Japan) Shugendo tradition. The Zen and Shugendo paths are not mixed at Korinji, but students have the opportunity to pursue whichever suits their needs and interests. Koshikidake Soke has recognized natural areas near Korinji as Shugendo gyoba, or training fields. We conduct frequent training events, including official Mountain Training in Wisconsin. See our Events page.
See www.shugeninternational.org for more information about our tradition of Shugendo.
Do-in Ho is a series of 54 body exercises that are integrated into daily practice at Korinji, divided into 3 sections: a self-massage routine, movement exercises, and breathing forms.
Do-in means "to guide and pull”, referring both to the bodily movements employed and the movement of energy in the body. Through these exercises internal energy may be settled and increased, while congestion and blockages may be dissolved. The forms simultaneously strengthen and tone the muscles and stretch the fascia and nerves, helping to both balance and integrate the body. Do-in Ho forms may be practiced by anyone and are excellent for health.
As part of our fine art training at Korinji we practice calligraphy of bonji, or Sanskrit characters (also called siddham). Unlike Chinese characters, these are often drawn with a flat wood stylus rather than a brush.
Bonji are especially important in esoteric Buddhist practice. The characters, which are the mantric seed syllables of various buddhas, bodhisattvas, and deities, are not simply letters indicating sounds. They are considered to be actual visual representations and manifestations of those beings. Visualizing bonji is an important part of practices found in the Shingon, Tendai, and Shugendo traditions (including the Shugendo training done at Korinji). Bonji are also used on protective amulets created by Zen priests, for example Korinji's omamori.