Japanese religious tradition combining folk beliefs with Shinto, Buddhism, and elements of Daoism. The practitioner engages in spiritual and physical disciplines to attain power against evil spirits. Shugen-do flourished in the Heian period and allied itself with the esoteric schools of Buddhism, Tendai (Chinese Tiantai), and Shingon. Many Buddhist priests belonging to esoteric traditions regularly developed Shugen-do techniques, and Shugen-do practitioners often served as Shinto priests. The government abolished Shugen-do in 1872. After 1945, with the establishment of religious freedom, some Shugen-do groups attempted a revival, but the tradition's membership and influence remain greatly diminished.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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