Shingon Discipline – Shido Kegyo (Preliminary Training)
Shido Kegyo (四度加行), also called the “Preliminary Four-fold Prayoga”, is the most important part of the training of a Shingon priest. ”Shido” is translated as “four crossings”, which can exemplify one’s crossing over Samsara.
“Kegyo” means “discipline”, this itself speaks of the preparatory rites before one engages in the main practice.
This basic system of discipline was outlined by our founder Kobo Daishi, who himself engaged in this practice when he was in China, training with Master Huiguo.
Around the thirteenth century, the format was established and, originally taking nearly 2/3 of a year to complete, was shortened to about 108 days to provide the basic fundamental skills needed for a prospective priest.
Around a given time, the student places full concentration on this ritual in a special hall that is set up specifically for student-teacher interaction. Depending on the student’s needs and schedule, the minimum time to complete the preliminaries is three months.
The student performs many meditative exercises, repentance, prostrations, mudra formations and visualizations during this period.
Each day is separated into three time periods, early morning (3:00am), morning (9:00am), and afternoon (3:00pm), with each session lasting about two to four hours.
Traditionally, it has been necessary to follow this order and undergo this ritual at Koyasan.
However, one of Shingonji Temple’s main objectives is to teach and transmit the teachings in America to qualified students.
Depending on the student, the shido kegyo preliminary may be performed here in California.
If you have a question about this discipline, feel free to email us.
The following is the discipline order that students will undergo according to the Chuin-ryu lineage of Shingon:
Rishu Sutra Training Discipline (Rishugyo Kegyo 理趣経加行), 1 week
Armored Body Protection Training Discipline (Goshinbo Kegyo 護身法加行), 1 week
Eighteen Stages Training Discipline (Juhachido Kegyo 十八道加行), 2 week
Eighteen Stages Formal Discipline (Juhachido Shogyo 十八道正行), 1 week
Diamond Realm Training Discipline (Kongokai Kegyo 金剛界加行), 2 weeks
Diamond Realm Formal Discipline (Kongokai Shogyo 金剛界正行), 1 week
Matrix Realm Training Discipline (Taizokai Kegyo 胎藏界加行), 2 weeks
Matrix Realm Formal Discipline (Taizokai Shogyo 胎藏界正行), 1 week
Homa Fire Ritual Training Discipline (Goma Kegyo 護摩加行), 2 weeks, one practicing Homa per period of day
Homa Fire Ritual Formal Discipline (Goma Shogyo 護摩正行), 1 week, one Homa dedicated to Acalanatha per period of day
The first weeks of the discipline are considered to be karma cleansing rituals. All actual rituals begin during the “shogyo” (正行) periods, which constitute the student practice alone without any contact anyone from the outside world other than your teacher.
In each period of the full discipline, there are prayers conducted in the morning (for the benefit of all beings, the state, and to the world), and in the evening (for the benefit of the hungry ghosts suffering in the hell realms and in the bardo state). Your teacher will help guide you in the procedures.
NOTE: Please take serious consideration for one’s own health! As this is a rigorous spiritual, mental and physical training session that requires the student to practice without delay, Shingonji Temple recommends any prospective student to consult a physician before engaging in the training.