Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Festivals are Resuscitation ・Rebirth



The other day, I saw a TV show titled “Ise and the Japanese people.” I was able to see only a part of the show, but it was very interesting. They were talking about why the sengu had to be done every twenty years. In a Japanese tradition, twenty years to learn a technique of some kind seems to be quite common. So the twenty years cycle passing on from one generation to another would be adequate. I was expecting to hear that kind of answer. However, the intellectual who was invited to talk about it said something interesting. My interpretation of his speech is, “the spiritual power of the gods will start to decline after twenty years. So every twenty years, we do the grand festival, the sengu, to resuscitate and give a rebirth to its power. ” As for an academic person, he said something quite right even from a spiritual perspective. I was unexpectedly impressed. When you look at the old documents about the festivals held at The Grand Shrine of Ise, they seriously believed that the power of the gods have a cycle of life and death, just like the rising and the setting of the sun. So they held many festivals and events in different season to maintain the divine power.

Every year, all over Japan, in Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples there are festivals such as hadaka-matsuri (running around the town naked)or kenka-matsuri (fighting fest)to revitalize the energy of the gods. The people who all carry innate god gather and enjoy the wildness. When I see the excited people carrying the mikoshi (portable shrine), everyone’s magnetic energy is strongly emanated creating a huge ball of energy. As the festival goes on, the ball is “kneaded” and becomes bigger and bigger. At the end, when the mikoshi reaches the main shrine, the huge ball of energy subsides inside the shrine. In a regular shrine, a big festival is held once a year. Every time people pay a visit to a shrine and leave their wishes, the energy ball shrinks. And in one year, the festival revitalizes it again. So when people stop holding festivals, it means the gods will disappear from the shrine or the temple. Thus the shrine or the temple will be a deserted place.

The sengu of The Grand Shrine of Ise is a super grand festival. They prepare twenty years for the next festival. The offerings are made with the finest skills and hearts. The magnetic spiritual energy of the craftsmen is “kneaded” into the works. Thus the process itself is already a part of the Shinji – work for the divine. Every morning when we are doing the gratitude sending with incense to our ancestors, or changing the water on our altar, we are also “kneading” the magnetic spiritual energy. The act will resuscitate and revitalize the god spirits and our ancestral spirits.

Ikashite-itadaite Arigato-gozaimasu

Thank you for letting us live

3 comments:

Pedro Teixeira da Mota. said...

Hi, salutations!
Very good post. Still, i will think that if for many it can be said: "Every time people pay a visit to a shrine and leave their wishes, the energy ball shrinks.", I feel that there is other people who make the energy of the place be revitalized, or by their strong worship they really give some energies to the shrine and to the Kami...
Are this powerful gods or Kami so dependent of the energies built by man, or it is ust for some small shrines, or minor Kami, that this works like that?
Ikashite Itadaite arigatou-gozaimasu!

Sazareishi said...

There are not dependent. But all of the wishes people leave are cold jaki(邪気). It is an energy of ego and desire and opposite of the right energy. And if thousands and million people leave those energy you could imagine they will be effected by it.

Pedro Teixeira da Mota. said...

I understood... So the visits of thousands and thousands at the first day of the year can create almost havoc or troubles there...