Shugendo DVD “Where Mountains Fly”
« In the middle of the night, on the 19th day of the 8th month of the 3rd year of the Sôchô era, the sky was filled with a multitude of sounds. The country was shaken as under a powerful earthquake. This mountain arrived through the air, and came down from the sky to rest in our country. Ômine is the place where it landed, and stopped. Ômine is a part of the South-Eastern corner of the country in which Buddha was born. It broke off from the South-Western part of the Diamond grotto on the Vulture Peak.
After that, nothing is known. »
In 538 AD, a mountain flew over from India to land in Japan. The arrival of Mt Ômine in the Kii peninsula is a metaphor for the introduction of Buddhism to Japan. The DVD “Where Mountains Fly” takes you deep into Japanese sacred mountains by way of two narratives: a legend dating back to the 12th c. AD, and contemporary religious practices in the mountains.
The legendary narrative follows the path of En-no-gyôja, the alledged founder of Shugendô, the “Way of Practicing Magical Powers”, on his pilgrimage through the Kii peninsula. This part of the film, inspired by emaki (Japanese picture scrolls), is made of animated images. Using real landscapes as source material, the animation recreates the extraordinary adventures of En-no-gyôja. The fictional episodes are intertwined with documentary episodes bearing testimony to the use of these sacred mountains by various contemporary Shugendô practicioners: meditation under waterfalls, sûtra recitation, pilgrimages through forests and mountains, and fasts that may lead to death.
“Where Mountains Fly” mingles documentary with fiction in an entirely novel way. The universe it introduces, filled with nature and mystery, takes you along mountain paths to little known aspects of Japanese cultures.
This Swiss produced DVD is available at Where Mountains Fly. A unique way to find out more about the Japanese culture and the influences on the founder of the system of Reiki, Mikao Usui who is believed to have been a Shugendô practitioner. Enjoy!