Ways of the Seven
Bosatsudo, or The Way of the Enlightened Being is a popular and widespread philosophy founded by the ascetic Shaku-Nyorai. The basic precepts of Bosatsudo are threefold: existence entails suffering; suffering is caused by attachment and desire; freedom from suffering can only be achieved through oneness with the Void.
Bosatsudo monks are those who have devoted themselves to the cause of achieving this oneness with the Void, and aiding others in their attempts to do so. By adhering to strict physical and mental discipline (martial arts and meditative practices), they believe they can accumulate spiritual merit not only for themselves, but for all sentient beings, thus bringing all souls closer to true freedom from suffering. The greatest masters of Bosatsudo hold that true understanding cannot be taught, and so they seek to prod their students toward enlightenment through seemingly nonsensical riddles or stories, called koan, and through the rigorous practice of meditiation.
Several sects have split from the primary lineage of Bosatsudo, most notably Shingon, founded by Kukai-Nyorai. The fundamental principle of the Shingon sect is that the understanding that leads to enlightenment is best conveyed not through meditative practice but through art. Shingon monks are often highly accomplished in the visual arts, and occasionally tattoo their bodies with symbolic images through which they can manifest extraordinary powers