“Gratitude for the present situation” is beyond reason.


I like Mr. Shiko Munakata(棟方志功), a Japanese artist. I have a couple of copies of his works. I have visited the art museum of his works , standing where his house used to live, in Kamakura(鎌倉). Seeing his works, I understand spirits of gods and Buddha descended on them, using a string bound around his head as Yorishiro(寄り代), a place on which spirits come down temporarily.

  • work 作品
  • art museum 美術館
  • used to~ 以前〜していた
  • descend  降りる
  • string 紐

He evacuated to Toyama prefecture(富山県) during the late World War Ⅱ, around 1945. He couldn’t afford to buy enough food because he was still an obscure artist. A chief priest of a Buddhist temple allowed him, who never seemed to get on in the world, to live there.

  • evacuate 疎開する
  • the World War Ⅱ 第二次世界大戦
  • cannot afford to~ 〜する余裕がない
  • obscure 無名の
  • chief priest 住職
  • allow A to~  Aが〜するのを許す
  • get on in the world 世に出る

The priest took a liking to him to see him joining his palms together in front of an image of Buddha, like a child. The priest let him draw a picture on a sliding screen thinking he must be bored. Munakata got so absorbed in drawing that he draw pictures on a white wall next to the sliding screen before he knew it. Realizing what he was doing suddenly, he often said sorry to the priest. The priest never got angry with him, saying” Shiko is very pious. It’s OK.” The priest was a man who respected pious people. He though such people were treasures of human beings beyond reason.

  • take a liking to A Aを好きになる
  • join palms 手を合わせる
  • image of Buddha 仏像
  • sliding screen ふすま
  • bored 退屈している
  • get absorbed in A Aに夢中になる
  • realize 認識する
  • suddenly 突然
  • get angry 怒る
  • pious 信心深い
  • respect 尊敬する
  • treasure 宝
  • beyond reason 理屈を超えて

Some people mockingly describe pious people as:

1.  a person who depends too much on others

2. a person who is easily deceived

3. a person who is faint-hearted

4. a person who is out of date

  •  describe A as B AをBと言う
  • mockingly 冷ややかに
  • depend on A Aに頼る
  • deceive 騙す
  • faint-hearted 気の弱い
  • out of date 時代遅れの

The problem here is what they worship, but seeing Mr.Shiko Munakata spiritually, I feel he worshiped gods in spite of himself because he loved them so much. He had no reason or purpose. He was the kind of person who was moved to tears , feeling a god in nature or people as well as before a Buddha statue. I’m sure he was a genuine artist. He must have felt Buddha in his heart as well instinctively. Being in a state of Kannagara(カンナガラ)enabled him to produce such an art.

  • worship 崇拝する
  • in spite of oneself 思わず
  • reason 理由
  • purpose 目的
  • be moved to tears 感動して涙する
  • as well as A Aだけでなく
  • I’m sure… きっと…
  • genuine 本物の
  • as well もまた
  • instinctively 本能的に
  • state 状態
  • enable A to~ Aが〜するのを可能にする
  • produce 生み出す

It seems that accumulations of the past lives have effects on a man’s faith and his karma to meet with the right kind of faith in this world. Blessed are those who can be genuinely grateful for the present situations to gods and their ancestral spirits. Those who mock this couldn’t understand it even if it is explained for ten years because the faith of gratitude is beyond reason. People whose heart is in the right place could understand it by instinct.

  • accumulation 蓄積物
  • effect 影響
  • faith 信仰
  • blessed 幸いである
  • genuinely 素直に
  • grateful 感謝に満ちた
  • the present situations 現状
  • ancestral 先祖の
  • mock あざける
  • by instinct 本能的に

Now is the age that the end of the law of metempsychosis has begun. The compilation of each soul is here and now. A lot of people go a long way around in faith at a time like this.

  • metempsychosis 輪廻
  • compilation 集大成
  • go a long way around 遠回りをする

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

生かして頂いて ありがとう御座位ます

Thank you so much for keeping us alive.


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