true identity of Benzaiten


In my house, there is a room about two tatami mats for a household Shrine altar next to a Japanese style room. A wooden statue of Benzaiten(弁財天), a goddess of music, eloquence and also wealth and water is put there. It’s about 50cm high and a wooden seated figure. It is carved into details and a very colorful Buddhist image.

  • household shrine altar 神棚
  • next to A Aの隣に
  • wooden statue 木像
  • goddess 女神
  • seated figure 坐像
  • carve 彫る
  • into datails 細部まで

2014-03-10 01.00.09

Let me tell you about how I got it. On a holiday soon after I got married, my wife and I went out to an antique market . It was held in  a large venue, where traders all over Japan got together. Straying from her on the way, I was roaming through articles. Then I felt a faint light in the far corner. Wondering what it was, I went there to find a great seated figure of Benzaiten there. It looked very expensive to the untrained eye. It was a real wooden statue created by carving with a single knife.

  • get married 結婚する
  • antique market 骨董市
  • venue 会場
  • trader 業者
  • all over Japan 日本中の
  • get together 集まる
  • stray from A Aとはぐれる
  • on the way 途中で
  • roam ぶらつく
  • article 品物
  • faint かすかな
  • corner 隅
  • wonder 〜しらと思う
  • expensive 高価な
  • to the untrained eye 素人目にも

Thinking ” It must be expensive,” I asked the owner how much it was. He said 500,000 yen surveying my face. At that time, I just got married, so I couldn’t afford it. But I thought the price was cheap because I thought it to be worthy of a price of one more digit. Thinking “There must be some reason,” I asked him why it was so cheap. Contrary to my expectations, he said frankly to me, ” I hear owners of this statute are doomed to unhappiness.” He himself seems to have had bad experiences since he got it.

  • must be~ 〜であるに違いない
  • owner 所有者
  • survey しげしげと見る
  • cannot afford A Aを買う余裕がない
  • be worthy of A Aに値する
  • digit 桁
  • reason 理由
  • contrary to A Aに反して
  • expectation 予想
  • frankly 率直に
  • I hear… …らしい
  • be doomed to A Aに運命づけられている
  • seem to have pp 〜したように思われる
  • experience 経験

I liked his personality and wanted the statue. But I didn’t have enough money then. I found my wife in the venue and show it to her. She also seemed to like it especially its beautiful face. But she disagreed with me because of lack of money. Even after I arrived home, I was concerned about the Benzaiten. I consulted with my wife, and decided that I would go to the antique market again the next day and if it was still available, I would beat down the price to 300,000 yen, and if I couldn’t make it, I would give it up.

  • personality 人柄
  • especially 徳に
  • disagree 反対する
  • because of A Aのために
  • lack of A Aがないこと
  • be concerned about A Aが気になる
  • consult 相談する
  • the next day 翌日
  • available 入手可能な
  • beat down A Aを値切る
  • make it うまくいく
  • give A up Aを諦める

The next day, my wife and I went to the market and found Benzaiten was still there. I asked the owner to sell it for 300,000 yen, and he said it’s OK observing our faces. The day being Sunday, banks were all closed so I didn’t have any cash with me then. It was the last day of the market, and the owner was going to leave for another prefecture at night. He was a trader coming from far.

  • ask A to~ Aに〜するよう頼む
  • observe じろじろと見る
  • cash 現金
  • prefecture 県

When I told him about the problem, he told me that I could take the Benzaiten on the spot and allowed me to transfer the money the next day. I felt sorry about that, so I tried to pay the deposit at least but he refused to receive it. He trusted me. He might have wanted to part with it as soon as possible. We were happy to take Benzaiten home.

  • allow A to~  Aが〜するのを許す
  • transfer 振り込む
  • deposit 前金
  • at least 少なくとも
  • refuse 拒む
  • receive 受け取る
  • trust 信頼する
  • might have pp ひょっとしたら〜したかもしれない
  • part with A Aを手放す
  • as soon as possible できるだけ早く
  • be happy to~ 喜んで〜する
  • take A home Aを家に持って帰る

That night, I had a dream. Benzaiten was playing the biwa, a four-stringed Japanese lute, with two dragons of dark blue and black following her. The dream was the first and the last one of my seeing Benzaiten. I believe ordinary people had better not own something like a Buddha statu, which spiritual beings are easy to possess. It seems that Buddha statues wander about in search of a place for settlement.

  • have a dream 夢を見る
  • dark blue 濃紺
  • follow 後について行く
  • the first and the last 最初で最後の
  • ordianary 普通の
  • had better not~ 〜しない方がよい
  • spiritual being 霊的存在
  • be easy to~ 容易に〜する
  • possess 憑依する
  • It seems that… …であるように思われる
  • wander about 放浪する
  • in search of A Aを探して
  • settlement 定住

Spiritually speaking, it is not true that a Buddha statue protects its owner. On the contrary, wandering spirits are apt to gather around it asking for some memorial services. Only the person should own a Buddha statue who has an aspiration to hold memorial services for spirits who has nobody to look after them, and is determined to take on a spiritual handicap. Many collectors of Buddha statues suffer from diseases caused by spirits.

  • protect 守る
  • on the contaray それどころか
  • be apt to~ 〜しがちである
  • gather 集まる
  • ask for A Aを求める
  • memorial service 供養
  • aspiration 志
  • look after A Aの世話をする
  • be determined to~ 〜する覚悟をもっている
  • take on A Aを引き受ける
  • collector 収集家
  • suffer from A Aに苦しむ
  • disease 病気
  • cause 引き起こす

Later my wife, remembering Benzaiten,  asked me “Hey, when will Benzaiten bring us big money?” “Benzaiten is a righteous god, which means she is not good at making money,” I answered jokingly.

  • bring A B AにBをもたらす
  • righteous 正しい
  • be good at A Aが得意である
  • jokingly 冗談めかして

The spiritual true identity of Benzaiten is a daughter of Susanoo(スサノオ). When a goddess of the World of Gods appears in the Buddhist world, it becomes Benzaiten. In Kojiki(古事記), the Records of Ancient Matters, Suseribimenokami(須勢理毘売神)is his daughter, who is to be a wife of Ohkuninushinokami(大国主神). Suseribimenokami was given a Koto, a Japanese harp, called Amenonorigoto(天の詔琴)by his father, Susanoo.

  • true identity 正体
  • daughter 娘
  • goddess 女神

Looking at the Koto through my spiritual sight, it is a ten-stringed Koto. It is not a mere musical instrument but a thing from the World of  Gods and looks like a kind of spiritual weapon. When she plays the Koto, heaven and earth seem to resonate in unison. She governs even the life and death of gods themselves by the way she plays it. Benzaiten equals Suseribimenokami.

  • spiritual sight 霊視
  • mere 単なる
  • musical instrument 楽器
  • not A but B AではなくB
  • look like A Aのように見える
  • a kind of A 一種のA
  • weapon 武器
  • heaven and earth 天地
  • resonate 共鳴する
  • in unison 調和して
  • govern 左右する
  • life and death 生死
  • the way S+V SがVする方法
  • equal イコール

Today too

I Ka Shi Te I Ta Da I Te  A Ri Ga To U Go Za I Ma Su

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