FAQ 11


The other day, I was told by a psychic that I was obsessed by Jinrei Tanuki(人霊タヌキ, a human spirit which takes on a form of a racoon dog). I heard the word for the first time. What is it?

  • the other day 先日
  • psychic 霊能者
  • obsess 憑く
  • racoon dog 狸


When an ascetic or a psychic who made money by cheating others dies, they can’t go to heaven and their spiritual body can change into the one of a form of a mean racoon dog. One’s nature and character are projected on the spiritual body. An image for an animal in the consciousness of the human race changes the form of a spiritual body like that. It has nothing to do with the actual animal’s spirit of a raccoon dog.

  • ascetic 行者
  • cheat 騙す
  • spiritual body 霊体
  • mean 卑しい
  • nature 性質
  • character 性格
  • project 反映する
  • have nothing to do with A Aと何の関係もない
  • actual 実際の

A human spirit taking on a form of a racoon dog has religious knowledge and is cunning. Sometimes it obsesses someone and makes him into a psychic and manipulates him into cheating others and doing the wrong things. Many of the pay psychics are obsessed by such a thing. They are likely to get plump like a racoon dog as they get obsessed deeper and make more money.

  • religious 宗教の
  • knowledge 知識
  • cunning ずる賢い
  • manipulate 操る
  • pay 有料の
  • be likely to~ 〜しそうである
  • get plump 小太りになる

The psychic who told you so was seeing himself spiritually. There are a lot of cases pay psychics are actually seeing the spiritual beings obsessing themselves. They cheat his clients out of their money, saying unscrupulous things and scaring them, but the truth is they are seeing themselves spiritually. You are to blame too to get in touch with such a pay psychic.

  • case 場合
  • unscrupulous いい加減な
  • client 顧客
  • scare 怖がらせる
  • cheat A out of money Aから金をだまし取る
  • be to blame 悪い
  • get in touch with A  Aと連絡を取る

FAQ 10


Why are the rules of holding a memorial service for ancestors so rigid? Some karma must have made us get married to each other. Why can’t we hold a memorial service for the ancestors of a husband and a wife equally at the same at the Buddhist altar? Both my parents’ family line and my husband’s one are important to me.

  • rigid 厳格な
  • get married to A Aと結婚する
  • at the same time 同時に
  • Buddhist altar 仏壇


Many of the spirits who need to be relieved by a memorial service for them are in anguish and in trouble. If you held a memorial service for ancestors of two family lines at the same time, the spirits of your parents’ family line would try, above all things, to protect their offspring, or  you. As a result, conjugal relations between you and your husband would go wrong. And, strange to say, you would come to worry about your parents more and more and in fact the  troubles about your parents’ home would increase.

  • relieved 安心した
  • in anguish 苦悩している
  • in trouble 困っている
  • try to~ ~しようとする
  • protect 守る
  • above all things 何にもまして
  • offspring 子孫
  • as a result 結果的に
  • conjugal relations 夫婦関係
  • go wrong おかしくなる
  • strange to say 奇妙なことに
  • come to~ ~するようになる
  • worry 心配する
  • in fact 実際
  • increase 増加する

The offsprings who hold memorial services for their ancestors are precious for them, so they try to secure them. One of the causes of divorce can be the wrong kind way of holding a memorial service. Once a woman get married, her spiritual line is also changed to the one of her husband’s family. To hold the service by using her husband’s family name and to direct your compassion to your parents’ ancestors in offering the third incense stick would lead you to your happiness. If you held a memorial service for the spirits of the two family lines at the same time, the spiritual lines would mix up and the effect would be lost.

  • precious 貴重な
  • secure 確保する
  • cause 原因
  • divorce  離婚
  • once S+V いったんSがVしたら
  • direct 向ける
  • compassion 憐れみ
  • incense stick 線香
  • lead A to B AをBに導く
  • be lost なくなる



You said that when we hold a memorial service using Tanzaku at a Buddhist altar, this altar should be put at the living room where family members get together or a room near it. I hold the service at our living room as you said it. Our TV set is at the living room so I often hold the service watching TV. You said that spirits are a kind of magnetism before, right? I think TV set emits strong magnetism. Is there any no problem about that?

  • memorial service 供養
  • Buddhist altar 仏壇
  • get together 集まる
  • magnetism 磁気
  • emit 放つ


If a TV set is within a meter of the Tanzaku, it is ideal that you turn off the TV while you hold the service. To be sure, there is some effect of magnetism, but the most important thing here is whether or not you are serious enough to switch off the TV when you do it for the sake of your ancestors. When you hold a memorial service for your ancestors, it is not the formality that reaches them but your true compassion for them.

  • ideal 理想的な
  • turn off A Aを切る
  • effect 影響
  • to be sure 確かに
  • whether S+V or not SがVするかどうか
  • enough to~ 〜することができるくらい十分
  • for the sake of A Aのために
  • not A but B AではなくB
  • compassion 哀れみ



With regard to the family home of my mother, I heard the people who takes care of their tombs have died out. I’m concerned about the ancestors of my mother’s family home, and I feel like holding a memorial service for them using another Tanzaku(短冊、a kind of memorial tablet made from paper). You would say that the third incense sticks offered would take care of them, but can I do it myself ? Because I’m anxious about it somehow.

  •  with regard to A Aに関して
  • family home 実家
  • die out 絶える
  • be concerned about A Aについて心配している
  • feel like~ing 〜したい気がする
  • be anxious about A Aについて案じている
  • somehow どういうわけか


You had better hold a memorial service with the surname you’re now using. It is not until you make your direct ancestors relieved and satisfied that you can save other spirits of your relatives. A family line which is to die out has its own karma. If you try to interfere with it forcibly, you may receive the reaction. The doom has been fixed over a long time, so no one can stop it and no one is to blame. So, you should relieve your ancestors first, and then other spirits of your relatives so that your family line the name of which you’re now using won’t die out.

  • had better~ 〜した方がよい
  • surname 氏名
  • It is not until S’+V’ that S+V
  • direct 直接の
  • be relieved 安堵する
  • be satisfied 満足する
  • save 救う
  • relative 親戚
  • interfere with A Aに干渉する
  • forcibly 無理に
  • reaction 反動
  • doom 不運
  • be to blame 責められるべき
  • so that S+V SがVするように



At first I had thought that when we hold a memorial service for our ancestors, we need to offer two incense sticks, one for a husband’s ancestors and the other for a wife’s. But, according to your explanation that the third incense stick covers wife’s ancestors, do we need to offer two incense sticks just for a husband’s ?

  • at first 最初は
  • ancestor 先祖
  • offer 捧げる
  • incense stick  線香
  • husband 夫
  • wife 妻
  • according to A Aによれば
  • explanation 説明


Yes. That’s right. You can trace back to your family line deeply, the name of which you are now using, by offering two incense sticks. For example, suppose there is a young married couple here. When they hold a memorial service, they should offer one incense stick for the male ancestors in the family line of the husband, and the other for female ancestors of his. By doing this, they can relieve the whole ancestors in the husband’s family line.

  • That’s right. その通りです。
  • trace back to A Aを遡る
  • suppose 考える
  • male 男性の
  • female 女性の
  • whole 全体の

The third incense stick is for a wife’s parents’ ancestors. Historically speaking,  there was a name of a house prior to a surname, so your compassion can reach the former through the latter. Most of the spirits who especially need to be relieved are the deceased who died within a hundred years ago. Holding a memorial service, with a family name used now being a key, makes the spirits of ancestors relieved. A state of ancestors never fails to influence their descendants both physically and mentally.

  • historically speaking 歴史的に言えば
  • prior to A Aに先立って
  • surname 姓名
  • compassion 同情
  • most 大部分
  • state 状態
  • never fail to~ 必ず〜する
  • descendant 子孫
  • physically 肉体的に
  • mentally 精神的に



My father died recently. I imagine that as my father didn’t grow up in a happy home environment, he is missing us after leaving our family. If I hold a memorial service for him with gratitude calling his name, will my compassion for him be understood by him sooner or later? I’ve been thinking about it because the other day I had my father appear in my dream.

  • recently 最近
  • home environment 家庭環境
  • miss  〜がいなくてさみしく思う
  • memorial service 供養
  • gratitude 感謝の気持ち
  • compassion 哀れみの気持ち
  • reach 届く
  • sooner or later 遅かれ早かれ
  • the other day


The memorial service held by a family sharing the same spiritual line with the deceased is the most effective. Each of the family members and the deceased is connected to each other spiritually, so it’s very effective. Even if you have a pay psychic hold a memorial service for the deceased in place of the family, the compassion won’t be understood by the deceased in fact.

  • share  共有する
  • the deceased 故人
  • effective 効果がある
  • connect 繋げる
  • each other お互い
  • pay 有料の
  • in place of A Aの代わりに

You can offer incense sticks calling your father’s name for about one year after his death. But actually you need to stop calling his name when 49 days have passed since he died. You have to remember that as long as the compassion of the family members for the deceased is too strong, the deceased cannot go to heaven worrying about his families and clinging to this world. In Buddhism, a priest gives the deceased Kaimyo(戒名), a posthumous Buddhist name, which means erasing his/her name from this world and sending him/her the message ” There is no place for you to be here any more. So just go.”

  • incense stick 線香
  • stop ~ing 〜するのを止める
  • cling to A Aに執着する
  • Buddhism 仏教
  • priest 僧
  • posthumous 死後の
  • erase 消し去る
  • not ~ any more もはや〜ない

If the deceased cannot go to heaven and remains at the house, his/her families will be influenced without knowing and a sad feeling will well up in them. It would be better to put away a picture of a deceased with care in a year and take a look at it only when remembering him/her. If you keep the picture within sight permanently, there is possibility of making the deceased cling to life.

  • remain 残る
  • influence 影響する
  • well up 沸き上がる
  • put away A Aを片付ける
  • take a look at A  Aを見てみる
  • within sight 見えるところに
  • permanently いつまでも
  • possibility 可能性



Two Sakaki plants put at the household Shinto altar of my house have not been dead for more than two weeks. Is it OK if I don’t replace them with other new ones as long as they are alive? The leaves of the Sakaki plants are very vital. I think it is because I change the water everyday and they are put in a relatively cool place. I thought it was desirable that I change them for new ones regularly. And also, if one plant of the two is dead, should I change it for a new one? Seeing the vital leaves, I don’t feel like throwing them away.

  • household Shinto altar 神棚
  • replace 取り替える
  • as long as S+V SがVする限り
  • alive 生きている
  • vital 元気がいい
  • relatively 比較的
  • desirable 望ましい
  • regularly 定期的に
  • feel like~ing 〜したい気がする
  • throw A away Aを捨てる


As long as the leaves of the plants are alive, you don’t have to change them even if it has been a couple of months since they were put. If there are any dead leaves standing out, you can cut them by hand, not with scissors. When you cut the branch, you can use scissors, but you had better not use an edged tool in cutting the offerings dedicated to God.

  • don’t have to~ 〜する必要はない
  • even if S+V たとえSがVするとしても
  • a couple of A 2・3のA
  • stand out 目立つ
  • scissors ハサミ
  • branch 枝
  • had better not~ 〜しない方がよい
  • edged tool 刃物
  • offering 捧げ物
  • dedicate 捧げる

When the number of the leaves decreases, the function as Yorishiro(寄り代), a thing spritis come close to and alight on temporarily, drops. So it’s time to change the plants. When you do it,  you should change both of them. If you keep the slimy part of the plants under the water clean, they will last long.

  • decrease 減る
  • function 機能
  • come close to A Aに近づく
  • alight on A Aに止まる
  • temporarily 一時的に
  • drop 低下する
  • slimy ヌルヌルする
  • last もつ

Since the Sakaki plant on the right side of the altar is the one a local deity comes close to, it is natural that the plant withers fast as long as the altar is enshrined properly and is functioning. Also, the withering leaves mean that the Sakaki plant has taken impurities of family members as a substitute. As for the Sakaki plants of my household Shinto altar, the more visitors come to my house,  the faster the leaves die.

  • since S+V SはVするので
  • local deity 氏神
  • natural 当然だ
  • wither 枯れる
  • enshrine 祭る
  • properly 適切に
  • absorb 吸収する
  • impurities 穢れ
  • substitute 身代わり
  • as for A Aに関していえば
  • visitor 訪問者