Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Best Way to send Gratitude

   First get a tanzaku(white thick paperboard for poems) and write… “○○家先祖代々の霊位”.

For non-Japanese people, I have put it out to ask the God Spirit how they should make the tanzaku: The answer was: Make a cross in 5cm wide 30cm vertical x 18.5cm horizontal (1 foot = 30.48cm). Write on the horizontal part in one or two lines, “Memorial for the ancestors of the ’s.” The cross must be made from paper material, perhaps a cardboard wrapped in white paper. You shouldn’t use any vinyl or plastic materials. The spirits can only reside on a paper material, which is a fine fiber made out of tree bark. Use a fairly bold black or gold marker. The lost spirits have very limited vision. (see graphical image: http://cgi.shinkyaku.com/B/yokomoji.gif )

Write the last name you are using at present time. You might be divorced or for complicated reasons changed your name, you still need to use the last name you are using at this present time. Use a marker or ink, in black or gold. It is best to write it yourself. It doesn’t matter if the writing is bad as long as you put your heart in it. You will need a stand to hold the tanzaku or the cross. Light two incense sticks in front of the tanzaku or the cross. The morning hours are the best time to do the ritual. Be sure the fire is out before you leave your house. (Better to avoid doing at night after 10pm, especially between midnight and 3am. Unnecessary spirit contact may occur). The two incense sticks represent your father’s side and your mother’s side. After you light the incense, chant “ Dear ancestors Ikashite-itadaite Arigatō-gozaimasu , I am grateful for this opportunity of this life.“ You can say it aloud or in your mind. Once you start doing this ritual, all your ancestors who have not yet reached heaven or have not been worshiped until now are going to come to you. Thus you might start to feel their pain. Everyone goes through this. I went through a lot of this. It is a natural phenomenon. There are so many of your ancestors behind you, even just going back for few generations.

Once you have become familiar with the ritual, add another incense. The third one should be lit after you have said the chant toward your direct ancestors. When you have lit the third one, chant, “To all the other various spirits, Ikashite-itadaite Arigatō-gozaimasu, I am grateful for the opportunity of this life.” This will cover the rest of the spirits who are in relation with you. If you already have a Buddhist altar at home with a memorial, you do not need to make this particular memorial. Just chant the words in front of your altar. Japanese style incense will need a small bowl with ashes or sand to make the incense stand. Once you have used a lot of incense in the bowl, the part that is in the ashes or sand might create high heat, which could cause a fire. I recommend the use of another plate under the bowl.

* The sound vibration is very important in a kotodama(spirit of words). For non-Japanese speakers, I suggest you say it in Japanese (Ikashite-itadaite Arigatō-gozaimasu) first and then in your own language (Thank you for letting us live" or "I am grateful for the opportunity of this life" or similar).

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