In the northeastern hills outside Kyoto, Japan there’s a mountain referred to as Mount Hiei. That mountain is suffering from unmarked graves.

Those graves mark the ultimate resting place of the Tendai Buddhist monks who have did not complete a search referred to as the Kaihogyo.

What is this quest that kills numerous of the monks? And what are you able to and that i learn from it?

Keep reading and I’ll tell you.


The Marathon Monks

The Tendai monks believe that enlightenment are often achieved during your current life, but only through extreme self–denial.

For the Tendai, the last word act of self–denial — and therefore the route to enlightenment — may be a physical challenge referred to as the Kaihogyo. due to this challenge, the Tendai are often called the “Marathon Monks.”

But the Kaihogyo is far quite a marathon.

The Kaihogyo The Kaihogyo may be a 1,000 day challenge that takes place over seven years.

If a monk chooses to undertake this challenge, this is often what awaits him…

  • During Year 1, the monk must run 30 km per day (about 18 miles) for 100 straight days.

  • During Year 2, the monk must again run 30 km per day for 100 straight days.

  • During Year 3, the monk must another time run 30 km per day for 100 straight days.

  • During Year 4, the monk must run 30 km per day. this point for 200 straight days.

  • During Year 5, the monk must again run 30 km per day for 200 straight days. After completing the fifth year of running, the monk must go 9 consecutive days without food, water, or rest. Two monks stand beside him in the least times to make sure that he doesn’t nod off .

  • During Year 6, the monk must run 60 km (about 37 miles) per day for 100 straight days.

  • During Year 7, the monk must run 84 km (about 52 miles) per day for 100 straight days. (52 miles per day!) then , he must run 30 km per day for the ultimate 100 days.

The sheer volume of running is incredible, of course, but there’s one final challenge that creates The Kaihogyo unlike the other feat…

Day 101

During the primary 100 days of running, the monk is allowed to withdraw from the Kaihogyo.

However, from Day 101 onwards, there’s no withdrawal. The monk must either complete the Kaihogyo … or take his own life.

Because of this, the monks carry a length of rope and a brief sword in the least times on their journey.

In the last 400+ years, only 46 men have completed the challenge. Many others are often found by their unmarked graves on the hills of Mount Hiei.

3 Lessons on Mental Toughness and Commitment

The mental toughness of the Marathon Monks is incredible and their feats are unlike most challenges that you simply and that i will face. But, there are still many lessons we will learn from them.

1. Complete or Kill.

The Marathon Monks are an extreme version of the “complete or kill” mentality. But you’ll take an equivalent approach to your goals, projects, and work.

If something is vital to you, complete it. If not, kill it.

If you’re anything like me, then you almost certainly have a bunch of half–finished, half–completed projects and concepts . You don’t need all of these loose ends.

Either something is vital enough to you to finish , or it’s time to kill it. Fill your life with goals that are worth finishing and eliminate the remainder .

2. If you plan to nothing, you’re distracted by everything.

Most folks never face a challenge with truth possibility of death, but we will learn tons from the monk’s sense of commitment and conviction. they need clarified exactly what they’re working toward and for seven years they organize their life round the goal of completing the Kaihogyo. Every possible distraction is rendered unimportant.

Do you think the monks get distracted by TV, movies, the web , celebrity gossip, or any of the opposite things that we so often waste time on? in fact not.

If you select , you’ll make an identical decision in your life. Sure, your daily goals might not carry an equivalent sense of urgency because the Kaihogyo, but that doesn’t mean you can’t approach them with an equivalent sense of conviction.

We all have things that we are saying are important to us. you would possibly say that you simply want to reduce or be a far better parent or create work that matters or build a successful business or write a book — but does one make time for these goals in particular else? Do your organize your day around accomplishing them?

If you plan to nothing, then you’ll find that it’s easy to be distracted by everything.

3. It doesn’t matter how long your goal will take, just start .

On Day 101, the Tendai monks are thousands of miles and 900 days from their goal. they’re beginning on a journey that’s goodbye then arduous that it’s almost impossible for you and that i to imagine. And yet, they still accept the complete challenge. Day after day, year after year, they work.

And seven years later, they finish.

Don’t let the length of your goals prevent you from starting on them.

Never hand over on a dream simply because of the length of your time it’ll fancy accomplish it. The time will pass anyway. —H. Jackson Brown

What causes you to Different From the Marathon Monks There is one very fortunate difference between you and therefore the Tendai monks. You won’t die if you don’t reach your goal!

In the words of Seth Godin, you literally have the “privilege of being wrong.” You won’t die if you fail, you’ll only learn.

Furthermore, you’ll always change your mind. If you plan to a goal, work thereon for a year, and choose that this isn’t actually what you wanted … guess what? You’re liberal to choose something else.

This should take a burden off of your shoulders! You don’t need to worry about committing to the proper thing. If you’re debating between choices, just choose one. you’ll always adjust afterward .

You have the chance to settle on a goal that’s important to you and therefore the privilege of failing with little or no consequence. Don’t waste that privilege.

Where to travel From Here

The biggest lesson that the Tendai monks offer for everyday people such as you and me is that the lesson of commitment and conviction.

Imagine the sense of commitment that the monk feels on Day 101. Imagine what it seems like to embrace the ultimate 900 days of that challenge. Imagine what it seems like to simply accept a goal that’s so important to you that you simply tell yourself,

“I’m getting to finish this or i will be able to die trying.”

If you’ve got something that’s important to you, then eliminate the unrelated and unimportant tasks, start regardless of how big the challenge, and plan to your goal.

Prakash Sellathurai

Product Leadership | Ex-Entrepreneur

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