Monday, December 21, 2009

Journey : Ise ~ Kumano to Tenkawa 8

Tamaki-Jinjya shrine is the inner shrine of the so-called Kumano-San-Zan and at the same time the inner sanctuary for the Shugendo (syncretic religious order which combined elements of ancient pre- Buddhist worship of mountains with the doctrine and ritual of Esoteric Buddhism). In the times when the capital of Japan was located in Nara and Kyoto, the vast areas from Nara, Yoshino to Kumano was the source of it’s power, the interference coming from the World of Spirits.

Years later, Kūkai (notable Japanese monk, 774~835) introduced the Esoteric Buddhism into this area, which made the area the spiritual center for incantations and prayers as well as curses. In some periods, this area had considerable influences on succession of the Emperor of Japan, politics and assassinations behind the scenes. From the early times, there are some particular spots in this area that have the spiritual power to accelerate the strength of the human will. The territory of God in Tamaki-Jinjya is one of the important spots.

It is not clearly known when Tamaki-Jinjya was built, but the historic studies indicate that the shrine may have erected at least before Christ.

From the prehistoric times, the area where Tamaki-Jinjya is located has highly been esteemed for thousands of years as the important spot for nature worship. In fact, only in the territory of God of Tamaki-Jinjya, there are several great trees that have survived for more than three thousand years, which are largest in the Kinki district.

My last visit to Tamaki-Jinjya dates back as far as 25 years. The change of scenery around the old shrine astonished me. The entrance path to the shrine was renovated and the leaves of the trees alongside the path were trimmed. In the past, the trees stood naturally and the piles of fallen leaves on the path made it look like an animal trail. After a radio tower was built at the top of the territory of God, the Tamaki area changed.

An electro-magnetic wave broadcasted from the radio tower seemed to drive the spiritual existence away. Long ago, when I used to visit here, a group of Tengu (long-nosed forest goblins) used to follow me jumping around. The number of the Tengu was largest among all shrines I had ever visited. I sensed that the Tengu punishes mercilessly if somebody disrespects the sacred ground.

In former days, I think the priests of the shrine were guided not to clean the entrance path even if they wanted. The nature spirits do not like the trees to be cut down. The decrease of the nature spirits was thought to contribute to the freedom where people are able to clean up the shrine and its territory. However, I wish there were the surroundings still left, similar to the famous animated movie“Mononoke-Hime”(directed by H.Miyazaki). If the future progress in the communication technology could eliminate the radio tower, the spiritual existence of Tamaki district may come back.

This time, I sensed a few Kenzoku (a spirit entity that serves under a god) gathering at the place for prayer. I assume this situation will continue all the way to the far future.

Ikashite-itadaite arigato-gozaimasu

Thank you for letting us live

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