After leaving Izawa-no-miya, we went to a close by shrine, Saminaga-jinjya (佐美長神社). This was my first visit. It was a small shrine with no live-in priest but a clean and pure place. The wonderfully strange thing about the shrines in Ise is that no matter how small the shrines are they are all in a very sacred condition. The basic construction of the shrine is much like the main shrines of Ise. But the purity of the place could not be kept only by the form of its construction. I looked around to see the surrounding forest to find the answer to why the place feels so sacred. I looked down to the ground. The ground with small pebbles had no falling leaves. If no one had been here, the ground would be full of leaves in a day or two. This means that some one is coming here every day to clean the property. The time and effort spent to clean this place is priceless. A person who lives as god, who knows that he is god would do such thing. He cares. He cares for the nature and brings life to the trees and even to the small pebbles. Human beings are also part of the nature dynamics.
Thank you for letting us live
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
After visiting the Izawa Jinjya, we sent to Izawa-no-miya (伊雑宮). On the road towards Izawa-no-miya. I was experiencing a very heavy weight on my back. I understood it was Kunitsu-kami (国津神) and other gods who ended their lives. As I started to walk the sando path, one step at a time the heaviness seem to go away. When you come to the middle of the path, you will see a well in the forest. When I thought that Princess Yamato-hime-no-mikoto had also come here to purify herself before making a vow, I became emotional.
From Heian Period (794~), the local people had repeatedly claimed that Izawa-no-miya is in fact the main shrine to worship Amaterasu-Ohomikami. During the Edo Period (1603~), they claimed that the Naiku is a lower rank shrine and they were punished. Fifty village people were exiled and died leaving their sorrow behind.
The sai-jin (祭神), official god of Geku is Toyouke-Ookami (豊受大神). Toyouke-Ookami, Amaterasu-Ohomikami and Kunitoko-tachi-kami is actually one and the same. And the local Shintoist called Watarai Family claimed that these gods are the supreme gods. This family is local to the area where Izawa-no-miya reside. It shows that the local people were very passionate about the gods.
Why were they so devoted to worship the gods? The answer comes from rice making culture. The area where Izawa-no-miya resides has always been a rice-making district from the ancient times. Therefore the local people were financially wealthy as well. When you are well off, you have more peace of mind and able to have the sense of gratitude towards the gods. Mysteriously, as long as they held the rituals and worshipped the gods, they never had problems in the rice production. Even when the other areas were not doing so good, they never had any kind of damage. This is because the goddess Amaterasu-Ohomikami who brought rice (kome) into this world reside at Izawa-no-miya. This shrine existed way before Naiku was establised over two thousand years. If the scientists could dig the area and research the remains, I am sure they will find that the shrine already existed around the Jōmon Period (12000~ 3000 years ago).
Izawa-no-miya’s official god crescent is a kagome (篭目紋). Its design is identical to the Star of David, the Jewish symbol, but the history of the usage is much older in Izawa-no-miya.
There are common factors in the Hebrew and Japanese culture. In the Jewish tradition, “mana” is a food that grows inside a pot, a soul food that was given by World of God. “Kome (rice)” also increases its amount when it is bowled in a pot. I sense that “mana” and “kome” has a similar sound vibration. The word “money” originally comes from the word “mana” of the Jewish tradition. In the West Japan, they believe that the financial market is based on the price of rice. I think that god's idea of “money” is “food.” If you try to save too much food, it will eventually rot. Before it rots, it should be shared with others.
The word “mana” also exists in Hawai'i. Its meaning is “the divinity from the highest source.” I sense that in the ancient times, the continent that existed on the Pacific Ocean of today use to be the place of origin for rice farming. When that continent sank, people escaped to places like Hawai’i and Ise. Carrying the common ancient knowledge they had no choice but to travel to find a new home around the Pacific Rim.
Thank you for letting us live