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[Guide to the Shrine’s Precincts 1] Hints Hidden in Misogi

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There are three main buildings including the main hall.

The deity Amaterasu Omikami is enshrined in the center of the main hall of Misogi Shrine. This is the same deity that is enshrined at the Imperial Grand Shrine of Ise.

The building to the right of the main hall enshrines the deities of the senior priests who were involved in the establishment of this shrine.

The building on the left is dedicated to the ancestors of the worshippers of this shrine.

The Unique Shinmei Structure - A Simple and Beautiful Building

This building is a Shinmei-style structure. It is characterized by two pillars, one on each side, stretching straight from the ground to the roof. These two pillars are called munamochi-bashira, and they support the entire building.

This is the exact same structure as the main building of Ise. Ise Jingu has a thatched roof, while this one has a wooden shingle roof, and Ise's Jingu is much larger. Other than the covering and size of the shrine, the construction of these buildings is exactly the same.

There were warehouses on stilts in the Yayoi period (300 BCE~300 CE), and this building is exactly the same type of structure.

The Boundary Between "Clean" and "Unclean" is a Place of Purification (Misogi).

Many people believe that misogi means to bathe in water and purify oneself in rivers, waterfalls and oceans.

There is nothing wrong with that, but to put it simply, misogi means "to become clean”.

There is an expression to curse people, "Kitanai-yatsu".

How would you feel if someone you know said to you, "You're a wicked person?”

It would be very shocking, wouldn't it?

This is much worse than just being called a bad person. It's like being told that you're not human.

If you look at folk tales, you will find that bad guys are often portrayed as somewhat humorous, popular, and hard to hate. Therefore, we don't see things in terms of good and bad (right and wrong) as people do in the West, but in terms of clean and unclean.

How do we know if you are clean or unclean?

So, how do we know if we are clean or not?

This is easy to find out by looking at yourself in the mirror.

For example, let's say you have ink on your cheek.

If you look at yourself in the mirror, you will see the same thing.

“Ah! There's ink on my cheek.”

What do you do then?

Do you wipe the mirror?

You never wipe the mirror, do you?

You wipe your own cheek, not the mirror.

Do you ever do the following?

You have a fight with your husband or wife.

It's not my fault. It's your fault.

Or, you have a problem at work.

It's a bad working environment, and so on.

This is the same as wiping the mirror! Do you understand?

As long as you do this, the situation will not improve. You will never be able to solve the problem.

In other words, just wiping the mirror may clean the mirror, but it won't make things better.
You have to start by reevaluating yourself.

This is super important! Everything is in you, not the other way around.
Symbols of Shinto Shrines - Mirrors

The symbol of a Shinto shrine is a mirror. Wherever you go, you will always find a mirror. It is not something that is just placed there. It has a number of meanings. One of them is look at yourself first.

What is the origin of misogi, and what happens if we do it?

When the Great God Izanagi returned from the Land of Hades, he realized that he had to do misogi (purification). As he did so, many gods were born.

The last part of this scene is depicted as follows:

The left eye is washed and the Great Goddess Amaterasu (Sun Goddess) is born, the right eye is washed and Tsukuyomi-no-Mikoto (Moon God) is born, and the nose is washed and the Great God Susanoo-no-Mikoto (God of the Underworld, etc.) is born. These three children were particularly noble.

The Great God Izanagi was so delighted that he entrusted the land he had ruled until that time to his three children and returned to heaven.

In other words, it depicts that when you do misogi, you have enough power to take care of everything else.

Isn't that amazing?

It means that misogi is the only way to take care of the rest.

This is Misogi Shrine.

Many shrines in the world are concerned with the divine virtues of their enshrined deities (Gosaijin).

For example, a shrine may say, “If you want to make a good match, come to our shrine and pray to god.”

However, here at the Misogi Shrine, we never say anything like this or that because we enshrine Amaterasu. So, misogi is what we value here.

You can stay in the shrine and practice!

We have a dojo with one hundred tatami mats, which is used for ascetic practices.

Once a month, we hold a Shinto training session for two days and one night. You can stay here and practice misogi and rituals of purification.
Covering yourself with water is not the only way to practice misogi.
There is no such practice at all, so please don't worry.
This is an opportunity to learn about the spiritual traditions of Japan and the practices and teachings handed down within them.

If you are interested, please feel free to ask.

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