In Tune With All Things

To become attuned to all things and become a thoroughly natural creature, the Ninja employed the ninpō mikkyō (tantric teachings of Buddhism). The mikkyō says there is no coincidence. All that we see as good or bad luck are unchanneled forces manifesting in our lives. This means that a correct mental attitude is necessary to be able to comprehend reality in all its perfection.

Ninja and Science

The Ninja were both scientists, employed and interested in the workings of organisms and natural processes. But at the same time, they were also interested in deeper spiritual and occult phenomena. They trusted in their effects, which had often proven themselves over the many centuries since their creation.

Today’s science is not mature enough for many things, and decoding the DNA code is only scratching the surface. It will still take a very long time before perhaps one day the workings of the mind and consciousness can be explained.

Asian Arts and Modern Science

Many Asian arts (especially medicine) were considered ridiculous until recently. But now that for example the effectiveness of acupuncture has been proven, these arts are being embraced by an ever-widening crowd.

But nothing has been clarified for a long time, the functioning of meridians and internal body dependencies is still unclear and results are based on speculation and assumptions.

Openness to All Aspects

But today’s Ninja are not closed to new or old aspects. Ninja are not committed to any particular religion or creed, they incorporate those aspects of religion as working principles into their creed that have value to them.

It is therefore important to understand that all aspects – be it religious or philosophical – are only meant to be suggestions for Ninja. It was by no means mandatory, nor should it be today, to have certain beliefs to call oneself a Ninja.

Not a kamiza (shrine) in the Dōjō makes the Ninja, but only his spirit and his physical abilities, be it Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, or completely different.

Philosophy and Religion as Ethical Foundations

But what should be clear for sure is that a Ninja without any philosophical or religious basis is a disgrace to all. Anyone who sets their goal solely on physical development will fail. Anyone proud of being able to smash boards or defeat opponents in tournaments has chosen the wrong art in Bujinkan Budō Taijutsu or should never choose this art. Kickboxing, karate, or even better boxing is my recommendation.

Also, I want to note that otherwise, he will never exceed a certain level in the Bujinkan (4th dan).

Origin of the Mikkyō in India

The mikkyō draws its teachings from esoteric, tantric currents that have their origin in India.

These teachings, which originally come from Hinduism, were incorporated into esoteric Buddhism Vajrayana as tantra. This movement arose from the Mahayana and is practiced today primarily in Tibet.

Japanese Monks in China

In the Heian period, the monks Saichō (Dengyō Daishi) and Kūkai (Kōbō Daishi) were sent to China by Emperor Kammu to improve the religious situation in Japan through the study of Buddhism. They brought the basics of mikkyō to Japan when they returned.

The monk Kūkai studied Mi zong in China and upon his return in 816 he founded the Kongobuji Monastery on Mount Koya (near Osaka), the headquarters of the Shingon sect, an esoteric mikkyō Buddhist sect. He combined Shintō and Buddhism in his teaching.


In the Shingon, special importance is given to the sanmitsu (The Three Secrets). Thought, word, and deed can lead everyone to Buddhahood. The main feature of this sect is the realization of a harmonious relationship of the five elements.

The second monk, Saichō, studied tian tai, a branch of tantra. After his return, he founded Enryakuji Monastery on Mount Hiei zan for his Tendai sect. This monastery became the most powerful in Japan. At times, 40,000 monks and sōhei were under the protection of the imperial house. However, in the course of his campaign against the ikkō-ikki (rebel peasant warriors), sōhei (Buddhist warrior monks), and Ninja, the monastery of Oda Nobunaga was burned down. Three major streams emerged from this destruction: Sammon, Jimon, and Shinsei.


The most important teaching in Tendai is to follow the three precepts: Avoid evil wherever it appears, do good wherever possible, and respect all living beings.

In the countries of origin, the foundations of mikkyō became a religion in the following centuries. A large number of gods were added and worshiped.

However, the Ninja used the mikkyō to enhance their skills and powers. Mikkyō is not just a religion, but working principles of the laws of the universe.

Text: Stefan Imhoff