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footsteps through time, space, and spirit

First Steps

on the Path of Light

A Blue Lotus Assembly Mind-Science training
with An-shu Stephen K. Hayes

would your
life look like if
you were able to...

  • Awaken and cultivate your spiritual power

  • Detoxify your body and spirit of corrupting influences

  • Align the spiritual keys of self-development potential

  • Purify your mind with recognition of emptiness and interdependence

These are the goals of the practices we will be studying in this course!

Sound ambitious?  With some diligence and determination, encouragement from a supportive community, and belief in your higher potential, you may be surprised by all that you are able to accomplish!

Hara Gya-Tei,
Hara So Gya-Tei,
Bo-Ji So-Wa-Ka!

Going Beyond,
Going on Beyond,
Awakened to All!

Passage from the Hannya Shin Kyo, Heart Sutra

"Each of us wants to be of value and significance and positive influence in the world of which we are a part.  Therefore, we find ourselves pulled to take up these wisdom attainment practices.


Advancing towards the holiness of wholeness is the highest and most noble obligation of the human being."

An-shu Stephen K. Hayes 

The Discipline of Shugendo

Climb and Seek the Power of the Peak
Cross the Stream and Find the Ancient Dream


Envision yourself in Japan, at the dawn of written history, when venturing into mountain wilderness meant leaving behind the safety and familiarity of your village to embark on a journey full of terrible and unknown dangers. 


In these times, no sane person would casually go for a hike through the mountains as we might do today on a long weekend trip for leisure. 


The mountains were too full of risk, wrought with natural threats such as treacherous terrain, poisonous plants and aggressive  animals. But also dwelling in these wild heights are the spirits of long-passed ancestors, some of whom entered the spirit realm in a state of confusion, regret, or pain.  Not all would have gone on to find a peaceful resting place in the light.  Malevolent lost spirits restlessly await to usurp the mind of  any who would wander into the mountain peaks' other-worldly twilight. 

A traveler's mind, their own human consciousness, could be completely and forever lost in confusion and despair to the will of disembodied entities should they climb too far from the protection of the valleys and plains below.

"A few courageous individuals nonetheless risked sanity, health, and livelihood to challenge the peaks in search of the very powers of nature itself."

These spiritual explorers are now known by the titles of Yamabushi "those who submit themselves to the mountains," and Shugenja "those who gain realization through experiential practice."

The mountain seekers faced tremendous physical and spiritual obstacles to obtain new vision, powers, and abilities that they would then employ to aid and serve their communities when they descended once again to their villages below.

Amazingly, these mountain seeker rites and passages still exist for us today.  Shugen practitioners across the world still work to cultivate spiritual power for the purpose of aiding and serving their neighbors.

In this 21st century, we can learn much from these ancient practices to achieve spiritual alignment.  "We need an inner technology to lead us as fragmented individuals into reunion with the grander whole of rich green nature beneath our feet and star-studded cosmos above our heads."  -Stephen K. Hayes


The Blue Lotus Assembly
Living and Sharing Spiritual Brightness

The Blue Lotus Assembly is a vibrant and self-sustaining spiritual community.  We are dedicated to sharing authentic practices for realizing enlightened human potential with all people who seek a deeper, truer, more siginificant experience of life.

The Blue Lotus Assembly is a distinctly Western order. We operate under our own authority, autonomous and self-directing in our organization and charter, but members enjoy a connection to long-established Japanese and Tibetan "esoteric mountain practice" root precedents and teachers.  

Ultimately, the goal of this practice is that of personal transcendence of the ordinary smallness of spiritual vision to achieve full self-actualization.

How much are you willing to change on your quest to become the "you" that you wish be in the future?


This course will offer training in the four practices required for initiation of the first level, Deshi (弟子) Disciple of Shugendo as outlined by the Blue Lotus Assembly

There is absolutely no requirement or expectation for you or anyone to initiate, vow, take oaths, or make promises in this training.  Those ceremonies are offered as an option for encouragement to those who wish to make a personal statement of their commitment to the practices.  

The four practices in this training are,


  • San-Ju-Jo Kai - “Vows of the Three Pure Precepts”

  • Misogi no Harai - “Ablution Purification”

  • Go-Tai-To-Chi - “Vow Salutes to Self Development Potential”

  • Hanya Shin Gyo - “Heart of Transcendent Wisdom Sutra”

Required Reading


These practices are found in the

"Enlightened Warrior Gyo-Ja Practitioner Recitation Handbook" written by An-shu Stephen K. Hayes.


This book will be required reading material for all participants of the training.  If you do not already have a copy of this book, you can purchase it for only $12 by following the link below.

Community as a key to lasting growth

Sangha is the Sanskrit word for community or assembly. It is one of the keys to success on the path of personal development.

Quite often people attend classes or seminars with great teachers, but the learning support ends with the closing speech. After a few days, the energy of the event fades and the positive momentum of meaningful change fizzles out. We fall back into our old habits.

This teaching series is designed to keep the momentum going!

First, An-shu presents a lesson.  We then follow up with a discussion led by senior community leader and ordained shugenja, Jim McFarland.
Bring your burning questions to Mr. McFarland and he 
will assist you in integrating the teachings into your daily life.

Plus you'll gain access to our discussion group on Facebook, wherein members of the community seek answers, share wisdom, and contribute to the advancement of others on the path.

Each of us brings a lifetime of experience and a unique perspective to the group. Your insights may illuminate something from the lesson that someone else missed.
And theirs may do the same for you.




A series of initiatory steps serve as “mile markers” on the spiritual path, affirming ever-deepening commitments, and signaling new beginnings in ever-advancing training.

The Blue Lotus Assembly offers a life-long series of initiations for those who choose formal connection to the lineage.


There is absolutely no obligation or expectation for anyone to take these initiations.


They are offered only as encouragements to those who wish to make a personal statement of commitment.

Those who wish to make vows will have the opportunity to do so in a virtual ceremony gathering following the final teaching session of this training course.  Initiates of the first level earn the title of 

Deshi (弟子), Disciple of Shugendo.  


Deshi wear a green wa-kesa 輪袈裟 stole over the shoulders, and receive an authorization diploma.

For Deshi initiation, the minimum donation for the certificate, wa-kesa, and materials for the ceremony is $150.  This donation is made directly to the Blue Lotus Assembly, and is not included as part of this training as it is completely optional.  You can learn more about Blue Lotus Assembly initiations here.

Practitioners who have already been initiated are encouraged to attend the ceremony as welcoming witnesses to the new sangha members as they take their first steps.  

First Steps on the Path of Light

Four-part live online (Zoom) training. Forever-access to recordings. 

+ 2 trainings with Stephen K. Hayes (90 minutes each)

+ 2 discussions with Jim McFarland (90 minutes each)

+ access to the Ryokai Facebook Group

Live sessions occur Saturdays 3pm EST

Nov 27, Dec 4, Dec 11, Dec 18

Reserve your seat for $128 and get immediate access to our Facebook community. 


Stephen K. Hayes

Primary Instructor

An-shu Stephen K. Hayes is everyone's image of the iconic master warrior sage.

Black Belt Magazine calls him "A legend; one of the ten most influential martial arts masters alive in the world today" for good reason. He is peerless in his ability to share real and honest ninja combat secrets enriched by unparalleled insights from the Himalayan meditative mind sciences.

His gift is his ability to deliver a complete and all-inclusive approach to personal security and personal power. His genius is his ability to present complex esoteric concepts in a practical, useful, and understandable way.


Jim McFarland

Discussion Leader

Jim McFarland is a student of An-Shu Stephen K. Hayes and holds the rank of yondan (4th degree black belt) in ninjutsu.


Mr. McFarland is a Rei-Bu (ordained practitioner) of Japanese Shugendo mountain transformation practice and holds the Buddhist name Eisho. He also studies and practices Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism.  

Mr. McFarland is a Masters level clinical counselor with 30 years of experience and specializes in helping people suffering with anxiety.

He is the author of a new series of self-help courses titled “Attack Your Anxiety and Rewire Your Anxious Brain” released in the U.S. to help a broader audience find relief from anxiety. 


Bryan Griffin

Community Organizer

Bryan Toutoshi Griffin began training in To-Shin Do with An-shu Stephen and Rumiko Hayes at the Hombu dojo in 1998 and currently holds the rank of rokudan (6th degree black belt).


Mr. Griffin is a Deshi-Gashira (Senior Disciple) of Shugendo.

He is a veteran of the US Marine Corps and served as a scout sniper in combat deployements to both Iraq and Afghanistan.  

He has a degree in business administration and runs the Raleigh Quest Center, where he shares the valuable self-defense and self-development training of To-Shin Do with all who seek to unleash their potential!

First Steps on the Path of Light

Four-part live online (Zoom) training. Forever-access to recordings. 

+ 2 trainings with Stephen K. Hayes (90 minutes each)

+ 2 discussions with Jim McFarland (90 minutes each)

+ access to the Ryokai Facebook Group

Live sessions Saturdays 3pm EST

Nov 27, Dec 4, Dec 11, Dec 18

Reserve your seat for $128 and get immediate access to our Facebook community. 

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