Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hidden Shrines of Ise 7 - Going to Haku-san

Coming home from Ise, I was hoping to relax on the days off from work. After three days of traveling, I was surprised to find myself not tired at all. I must have visited around fifty shrines including the small omiya. I only sent gratitude at the shrines. This might be the reason why I am feeling so fulfilled.

I put the ken-barai-fuda from all three shrines (Gegū, Naigū, Izawa-no-miya) on my altar, and just when I thought to take a deep breath, my family calls me all of the sudden to say that they want to go to Haku-san. After driving for over a thousand kilos, I was hesitant. But they insisted on going and I thought it might be a good idea to end my journey by going to Haku-san. So we did.

We first went to Heisen-ji Hakusan-jinjya (平泉寺白山神社). It was a while since I had visited this shrine. The fresh green seaweeds looked beautiful after surviving the long cold winter days. The day we visited this shrine, the local people were gathering to clean the shrine. Our visit ended clean and pure. Nothing odd happened and it went smoothly.

The next shrine we visited was Hakusan Chukyo-jinjya (白山中居神社). The road toward this shrine run on the side of a river and the other side was cliffs. It was very narrow. The car navigation system did not have this shrine on the map, so I had to use my instinct.

We found the shrine and parked the car. We looked up to see the giant trees on the sides of the sando path as we walked through. On top of the trees, I saw two tengus watching over. They were the kenzokus of this shrines. It has been a while to see tengus. Last time I saw them was at the Tamaoki-jinjya in Nara. Tengus are nature spirits. So as the traffic increases they seem to disappear. One should be cautious with shrines with tengus on the watch. If you do anything disrespectful, you might injure yourself. I told my family to watch their steps and to walk slowly.

In the middle of the path towards the shrine, there was a giant rock in the middle of the road. When I saw this rock, a vision immediately came to me. In the ancient time, a disrespectful man came into this sando path. The tengus saw this man and threw this giant rock. The man died ofcourse held under the rock. We walked around the rock trying to see if we could find the bones of the man.

The path is a steep downhill. The natural spring water is coming down the hill so the stone steps are wet and slippery. If you are not a good walker, it might be wise to take the car all the way to the torii gate. The path is not and easy welcoming path.

When we got to the main shrine climbing the steep stone steps, a gūji, a Shinto priest, was getting ready for an Oharai. His grandchild is holding his kimono walking around with him. When I saw the gūji’s face, I could see that he is a true priest. It is hard to explain by words, but I can feel the aura of a man of dignity who is serving for a righteous god.

Ikashite-itadaite Arigato-gozaimasu

Thank you for letting us live

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Hidden Shrines of Ise - 6 - The spirit of mutual concessions

When I was around 20 years old, I used to make a round trip from Mt.Miwa in Nara, passing Takihara-no-miya Shrine to Ise Jingu and back to Nara. I made several trips within three years as I was told by my kenzoku.

The Japanese Gods tell me, there are two most important line reflected from the World of the Gods. And it has to do with the movement of the sun.

One of the line is between Awaji Island and Ise Jingu. This line was used by a god who was in charge of Japan for the last three thousand years. As the history shows, Nara is in between this line, and it once became the capital of Japan and this is where the Japanese culture began. On the orbital line of the sun rising from Ise towards Awaji, we could see the traces of the remains of the sun worship, such as an iwakura, shrines and other religious temples.

This line between Awaji and Ise was functioning as a spiritual power line until the end of Showa (~1989). However from Heisei (1989~), the power line has shifted to Ise ~ Haku-san.

Now the Ise ~ Haku-san line has become the Heavenly Power Line. The Awaji ~ Ise line still remains as the Earthly Power Line. Its actual power is still working from underground. The two lines have been taking turns from one civilization to the next.

Looking the other way around, when the Heavenly Power Line switches to the other line, it means that the whole concept of civilization changes.

It had been twenty years since I had last visited the Takihara-no-miya Shrine. It felt a lot different since the time of Showa. Many of the large old trees were gone. Maybe the typhoon knock them down. There used to be a lot of tree fairies. This shrine was also the resting place for Princesss Yamoto-hime-no-mikoto during her journey from Mt.Miwa to Ise.

The shrine reminded me of the super ancient times. Now time has come for this shrine to rest for another few thousand years.

During my trip in Ise, the most memorable thing is the spirit of mutual concessions. In this town, many streets where extremely narrow. Maybe because of this road condition, people naturally learned to be like that. Without the sense of mutual concession, I would not be able to make it to many of the shrines I visited.

This was a message for me about how the world will become. At the end of this chaos, most of the countries will start to have the spirit of mutual concessions and the Shift will occur safely.

I felt a sense of relief and returned home. I was hoping to rest for a while, but that was not the case.

To be continued…