The physical body is a vehicle that carries the soul and the innate god. The physical body is sort of a tree we perch on but eventually we fly off. As the wind blows, the branch we perch on will shake from time to time and causes us anxiety. At the same time, we want to observe and experience different sceneries from the branch. But the time we can perch on the branch is limited.
We go and see a two hour movie. We make the time for it and we spend some money for it as well. And what do to you expect from it? Do you expect it to be a monotonous, flat and boring story? No. We want from suspense and excitement to an emotional moving happy ending. So those who are suffering right now in their real life, which part of the whole movie do you think you might be experiencing? Would you prefer to play the guy who leaves all his friends and try to survive a life in solitude? Or would you like to be the guy who goes through hardships and still tries to help others? I see more virtue in the later role.
The same idea can be applied to ancestral worship. Our ancestors created us. And we shouldn’t forget about them. Humans are foolish. We tend to forget about the good things people did for us in the past. We owe our ancestors a debt of gratitude. When we forget about them, we will loose our luck. Our fortune is weakened. There are others too that we shouldn’t be forgetting, teachers of life, people who helped us when we needed help. When these beloved people pass away, we should continue to send gratitude together by burning one incense for them. Two incense for our ancestors and one for the others. It is important to show our appreciation in our own way.
Everything we do in this lifetime will reflect on us one way or the other. The good things and the bad things, they will all reflect back to ourselves. It might not reflect while we are alive. It may be in our afterlife or reflect on our children. This is an absolute universal truth. We are all watched from above. There is no escape. Justice is given equally to everyone. God is watching.
If it doesn’t come back in this lifetime, it will in the next lifetime or next generation. Just because, you didn’t see the bad guy get punished, it doesn’t mean that god doesn't exist. God is merciful and has much longer perspective than us. In other words, life is eternal and frightfully never ending.
So it is very important we honor our ancestors and those who helped us. However, I see many people doing ancestral worship (kuyō) in a wrong way. First of all, paying some religious group or a “sensei” is not only wrong but also creating a worse situation. The best way is to do it by yourself. Direct descendent carries the same DNA, the spiritual lineage. Even when you don’t carry the same DNA, if you are using the same last name, you have the fate to carry the lineage. As mentioned on the previous article, there is the invisible third line in the DNA structure. This is the spiritual connection that links all the ancestors and descendents together. If you use other people in the kuyō, the spiritual energy of the third party would interfere and becomes a distractive electro-magnetic current. I think it is alright to invite a Buddhist monk for a funeral or anniversaries. It is an expedient for the relatives to gather. The deceased would be happy to see his relatives gather. But the daily kuyō with gratitude is most important. It is most healing for the deceased.
Secondly, the deceased are spirits. They don’t have a physical body. Therefore, they need a ‘tree’ to perch on. We call it yorishiro. It is either the tanzaku or a memorial tablet. This becomes the tree they could perch on. On the tanzaku, the letters 霊位 are important for the spirits to recognize that is a resting place for them. In foreign countries, it is best to write something in similar meaning, so the spirits could recognize the energy that emanates from the word written on the tablet that they could rest here for a while.
Those who wish to send gratitude to their ancestral spirits should consider the above two matters. Not forgetting and to acknowledge the invisible people who have helped you and created you is a priceless act. It will certainly reflect back on you.
Today as always, I am extremely passionate about helping others, those who live and those who have passed away.
Thank you for letting us live
I would like to spread the Gratitude Awareness towards ancestral spirits and everything around us so 5% of the world population will start acting on it on a daily basis.