Acharya Ryōjun Shionuma is well known in Japan since he has completed two of the most difficult ascetic practices of the Shugendō tradition: the Ōmine Sennichikaihōgyō (One-thousand Days Trekking Practice on Mt. Ōmine) and the Shimugyō (Four-fold Renouncing Practice).After finishing those practices, he founded the Jigenji (Merciful Eye Temple) in a small village close to the city of Sendai.This temple and this village have become his home base. There, he prays, teaches, farms, participates in the activities of the village, writes books and welcomes pilgrims. Regularly he gives conferences in different parts of Japan and more recently he has been invited to give conferences oversees. Until now, none of his books have been translated into English. The Life-Long Spiritual Journey of an Apprentice Japanese Bonze is thus the first translation into English of one of Acharya Shionuma’s books.
Nine years of practice to liberate myself from all what is an obstacle to be at the service of thosewho come to me.
“The practice I engaged in consisted in a 16 hours daily trekking on the mountain trails linking Mount Yoshino to Mount Ōmine. At the end of the practice this would add up to a total distance of 48,000 kilometers. The difference in altitude between the two mountains is roughly 1300 meters. If one makes that trek every day during the four months from May to September for nine years, one will have walked for a thousand days.”