A "Sage" (仙人, Sennin) is someone who is able to utilise senjutsu (仙術; Literally meaning "Sage Techniques"), and has mastered the art of Sage Mode or someone given said title because of their renown for their great power, wisdom, or holy standing.
Main articles: Senjutsu and Sage Mode Senjutsu (仙術; English TV "Sage Jutsu"; Literally meaning "Sage Techniques") refers to a specialised field of techniques that allows the user to sense and then gather the natural energy (自然エネルギー, shizen enerugī) around a person.
Main articles: Sage Mode, Sage Transformation, and Orochimaru's Juinjutsu Senjutsu practitioners learn to draw the energy of nature inside of them, blending it with their own chakra (created from spiritual and physical energy within the shinobi). This adds a new dimension of power to the practitioner's chakra, resulting in the creation of "senjutsu chakra" (仙術チャクラ, senjutsu chakura). In humans, this new chakra enables the user to enter an empowered state called Sage Mode. Those that can absorb or manipulate senjutsu chakra sages (仙人, sennin). Currently, there are two known ways to learn senjutsu: One being to learn from the toads of Mount Myōboku as Jiraiya and Naruto have done, and the other from the snakes from the Ryūchi Cave where Orochimaru and Kabuto Yakushi learned it.
Generally, senjutsu chakra cannot be used by those untrained in senjutsu, though this is not always the case. Members of Jūgo's clan passively absorbs natural energy, mutating their bodies. Because they cannot control the chakra they are creating, they tend to go into berserk rages. Orochimaru would experiment on enzyme and use that as the basis of his cursed seals, which would absorb the wielder's chakra and in return feed them Orochimaru's senjutsu chakra.
- In the anime, the sound of natural energy being gathered to form senjutsu chakra is the same as the one used for the healing green chakra of the Mystical Palm Technique.
- The word senjutsu (仙術) uses the same hiragana: せんじゅつ, as the Japanese art of scrying (占術), possibly an allusion towards the abilities of Sages to sense persons while in Sage Mode.
- ↑ Naruto chapter 642, pages 14-15
Very few people are shown to have mastered senjutsu. This is because both learning and using senjutsu is not safe; death may easily occur while learning to use it. Fukasaku claims that the toad sculptures on Mount Myōboku are those who failed to master the art of senjutsu. Naruto Uzumaki, Kabuto Yakushi, Orochimaru and Jiraiya are currently the only known human users of senjutsu. Other animals such as Fukasaku and Shima are also able to use it with the White Snake Sage and Great Toad Sage amongst others, being at least knowledgeable in it.
"Sage" can also refer to an individual renowned for their great power, wisdom, or holy standing.
- The Sage of the Six Paths was one of the most famous sages in the series, a legendary figure who discovered chakra, created modern ninjutsu, the one who saved the world from the Ten-Tails and was the first jinchūriki. It is unknown if he too was capable of using natural energy.
- Son Gokū's moniker: The Great Sage Equalling Heaven (斉天大聖, Seiten Taisei) also makes mention of being a Sage.