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hijiri

(Japanese: "holy man"), in Japanese religion, a man of great personal magnetism and spiritual power, as distinct from a leader of an institutionalized religion. Historically, hijiri has been used to refer to sages of various traditions, such as the shaman, Shinto mountain ascetic, Taoist magician, or Buddhist reciter. Most characteristically hijiri describes the wandering priest who operates outside the orthodox Buddhist tradition to meet the religious needs of the common people

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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