An interpretation of Ubusuna-kami

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There are a lot of interpretations here in Japan about Ubusuna-kami(産土神), a guardian deity of one’s birthplace, but I’ll write my own interpretation about it in terms of Ise-Hakusan Dou.

  • interpretation 解釈
  • in term of A Aの観点から

Local sacred spirits patrol where people live. Interestingly, each of them has its own course of patrol and territory to protect.

  • local 地元の
  • territory 縄張り
  • protect 守る

When you build a new house, it’s better to hold a Shinto ceremony of purifying the building site. The spiritual ability of the Shinto priest doesn’t matter in this case. If you show some respect to sacred spirits of the place in this World of Reality, the spirits will allow you to do it except particular cases where there used to be a graveyard or some important ruin, or the house could block the course of patrol of the spirits.

  • purify 浄化する
  • site 場所
  • ability 能力
  • matter 重要である
  • respect 尊敬心
  • allow A to~ Aが〜するのを許す
  • except A Aを除いて
  • graveyard 墓場
  • ruin 遺跡

During the period of pregnancy, women are affected by the holy energy of the sacred spirits residing in the place.The holy energy makes Tamaza(魂座), where a soul settles, in the unborn child so that a soul can dwell on the baby. A soul, traveling forever,  is supposed to settle in this Tamaza induced by karma. Tamaza is like a placenta of a spiritual body.

  • pregnancy 妊娠
  • affect 影響する
  • reside 住む
  • settle 定着する
  • dwell 住む
  • induce 誘導する
  • placenta 胎盤

As a traveling soul tries to settle in Tamaza, women have morning sickness. When the morning sickness, which is the process of a mother and her child joining together, is over, the soul has settled in the Tamaza safe and sound, which means the soul has dwelled in the fetus.

  • morning sickness つわり
  • process 過程
  • safe and sound 無事に
  • dwell 住む
  • fetus 胎児

The fetus with a soul dwelling in it is a human being. In this stage, Ubusuna-kami has already existed in the Tamaza as Inner God. In my spiritual sight, Tamaza of ordinary people looks like 6 to 8 petals of a flower. An individual soul can be described as sitting on the petals.

  • exist 存在する
  • Inner God 内在神
  • sight 視力
  • ordinary 普通の
  • petal 花弁
  • describe A as B AをBと描写する

After a child is born into this world, the number of the petals increases as he/she develops their own Inner God in the course of life. When they were born, the number of the petals was 6, but they could increase the number up to 16. When the number is 6, the child’s Inner God is Ubusuna-kami of the birthplace, but if they can increase the number to 16, then their Inner God will have changed into the protective god of the whole country. In Japan the holy spirit on 16 petals is Amaterasuohomikami(天照太御神).

  • number 数
  • increase 増加する
  • develop 発達させる
  • up to A Aまで
  • protective god 守り神
  • the whole country 国全体

Today too,

生かして頂いて ありがとう御座位ます

I KA SHI TE I TA DA I TE    A RI GA TO U GO ZA I MA SU

Thank you so much for keeping us alive.

Jozo-son appearing to be weak is the incarnation of the strongest being.

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In Japan, you can often see stone Buddha statues or stone images of Jizo along busy streets or at spots which stand out. Looking at a Jizo Bosatsu statue along the road, I can see that trying to escape from agony, spirits who were killed in car accidents or died near there are coming close to people praying to Jizo, because their families don’t hold enough memorial services for them or the dead still don’t know they’re already dead.

  • stone image 石像
  • stand out 目立つ
  • agony 苦しみ
  • pray 祈る
  • memorial service 供養

Roughly speaking, there are two types of people who visit Jizo.

1. those who visit Jizo for the purpose of having their wishes come true

2. those who don’t know exactly what Jizo is but visit Jizo to clean the place it stands feeling that if rubbish were thrown away there, Jizo, whose face is like a child’s, would feel sad.

  • roughly speaking 大まかに言うと
  • for the purpose of ~ing 〜する目的で
  • come true 実現する
  • exactly 正確に
  • rubbish ゴミ
  • throw away A Aを捨てる
  • sad 悲しい

As for people of 1, spiritual beings who have the same feelings as the visitors’ will come close in synchrony. Spirits who desire to be saved or want someone to do something for them will come close and possess them. The visitor will go home together with the spirit. That is, those who depend on others are possessed with the same kind of spirits in suffer who cry for help like the visitor. Such people would be more and more unstable mentally.

  • as for A Aに関していえば
  • the same A as B BとおなじA 
  • in synchrony 同調して
  • save 救う
  • possess 憑依する
  • that is つまり
  • depend on A Aに頼る
  • in suffer 苦しむ
  • unstabel 不安定な
  • mentally 精神的に

In regard to 2, such people will attract the same kind of spiritual beings who have mercy for others. Spirits who are willing to do something helpful for others will come close without asking. As a result, such people come to be in satisfactory situations naturally. In short, what matters is the attitude of the visitors.

  • attract 引き付ける
  • mercy 慈悲心
  • be willing to~ 進んで〜する
  • without asking 頼まないでも
  • as a result 結果的に
  • satisfactory 満足の行く
  • in short 要するに
  • matter 重要である
  • attitude 態度

Jizo-son(地蔵尊)… a noble(尊) of the warehouse(蔵) of the ground(地) … a noble man of the ground…the noble of the earth. Jizo is the deity who wants to save even spiritual beings in the World of the Hell, spirits who went to hell because of their ignorance and innocent spirits who died as child or baby.

  • deity 神
  • ignorance 無知
  • innocent 無垢な

Jizo is described as a clean-shaven boy in this World of Reality, but its true identity is very strong in my spiritual sight. It seems that the strongest deity appears in the outskirts of this world pretending to be weak. In a way, spiritual beings who choose to have a vulnerable figure are much more fearful than those who look strong like Fudo Myoo(不動明王), for they do have very strong power. If you bully a weak person, there will be the deuce to pay. The bullied will have grudge against you everlastingly.

  • describe A as B AをBと描写する
  • clean-shaven 坊主頭の
  • true identiy 正体
  • sight 視力
  • outskirt 場末
  • pretend to~ 〜するふりをする
  • choose 選ぶ
  • vulnerable か弱い
  • bully いじめる
  • grudge 恨み
  • everlastingly 末永く

The true identity of Jizo is a Buddhistic embodiment of Kunitokotachi-oh-kami(国常立太神), the king of the World of Gods and the World of the Hell of the earth. This is also the deity of the ground of the earth, who is accompanied with even Susanoo(スサノオ)and Shiva.

  • embodiment 化身
  • be accompanied with A Aを従える

生かして頂いて ありがとう御座位ます

I KA SHI TE I TA DA I TE    A RI GA TO U GO ZA I MA SU

Thank you so much for keeping us alive.

When your wishes are realized by praying to deities, you have to fear its exchange conditions.

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Unfortunately most people regard shrines as where they pray to deities for personal desires. They might think deities should make their wishes come true without hesitation. If they think having their wishes realized is an undoubted right because they took the trouble to visit the shrine and spent money, I have to say they are very impious. In a spiritual sense, they are too reckless.

  • unfortunately   残念ながら
  • regard A as B AをBと見なす
  • pray 祈る
  • personal 個人的な
  • hesitation ためらい
  • undoubted right 当然の権利
  • take the trouble to~ わざわざ〜する
  • impious 不信心の
  • reckless 無謀な

It is often said in this world that nothing is so fearful as to receive things for free. In other words, you cannot get anything for free in the world. In spiritual worlds, right kind of deities do not relate themselves to personal desires of human beings. If there is such a spiritual being, there must be some spiritual exchange condition. If your wishes are realized, there are two types of cases.

1. the case where you made your wishes come true as a result of your own efforts and it had nothing to do with spiritual beings

2. the case where you had your wishes come true “by misfortune” because of some spiritual being in the World of the Dead

  • terrible 恐ろしい
  • reveice 受け取る
  • for free 無料で
  • in other words 言い換えると
  • relate oneself to A Aに関与する
  • positively 積極的に
  • exchange condition 交換条件
  • efffort 努力
  • have nothing to do with A Aと関係がない
  • by misfortune 不幸にも

In the case 1, you won’t be charged anything later because though you prayed to deities, you realized your wishes through efforts, keeping away from spiritual beings in the World of the Dead thanks to your ancestral spirits. What concerned the realization of your dream was not deities but your ancestral spirits, who are allowed to give their descendants what they want just as parents help their children without reservation.

  • charge 請求する
  • keep away from A Aから離れておく
  • thanks to A Aのお陰で
  • ancestral 先祖の
  • concern 関わる
  • be allowed to~ 〜するのを許されている
  • descendant 子孫
  • without reservation 無条件で

There is a problem in the case 2. The spiritual being will charge you together with interest when least expected. I have seen a variety of charges people asking for my advice received. What will happen to the people in later years who prayed to deities for thriving business and money is health problems, misfortunes of their descendants, malfunction of their physical body, a short life and so on. These things are better than what will happen after death because the charge and payment is done in this world.

  • interest 利子
  • when least expected 忘れた頃に
  • a variety of A 様々なA
  • thriving business 商売繁盛
  • malfunction 機能不全
  • and so on  など

If  nothing miserable happens to such people in this world and they can finish their lives safe and sound, what they have to fear most is for Tamaza(魂座), part of a soul which is needed to reborn, to be eaten by spiritual beings after death. Because they received benefits and convenience from spiritual beings in the World of the Dead, they have to serve the Devil after they die without being reborn. Descendants of a family line where such ancestral spirits exist will have constant troubles, for the family line is clogged with their souls.

  • miserable 悲惨な
  • safe and sount 無事に
  • reborn 再び生まれる
  • benefit 恩恵
  • convenience 便宜
  • serve 仕える
  • family line 家系
  • be clogged with A Aで詰まっている

In total, what you’ve got by irregular means will be lost after all. A holy spirit suggests to me that myths around the world or old tales such as “The Honest Woodman” have told people this lesson since a long time ago. In a short life, it is a highlight of life that you dare to accept with gratitude various troubles in life which come to you naturally, rather than you seek for an easy short cut.

  • in total トータルでは
  • means 手段
  • suggest 示唆する
  • myth 神話
  • lesson 教訓
  • highlight 醍醐味
  • accept 受け入れる
  • gratitude 感謝の気持ち
  • seek for A Aを探し求める
  • short cut 近道

生かして頂いて ありがとう御座位ます

I KA SHI TE I TA DA I TE    A RI GA TO U GO ZA I MA SU

Thank you so much for keeping us alive.

Deity to be prayed to for practical benefits in this world will turn into the one who punishes greedy people.

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Among the shrines where people pray for thriving business, the ones where Inari(稲荷) or Ebisu(戎) deity is enshrined are famous. A lot of people visit these shrines every day, where they cast the magnetism of their wishes for money at the deity. I can feel that at Fushimi Inari-jinja shrine(伏見稲荷神社), holy spirits are striving to clear the place of the accumulating magnetism of desire and purify it.

  • pray 祈る
  • thrive 繁盛する
  • enshrine 祭る
  • cast 投げる
  • magnetism 磁気
  • strive 努力する
  • clear A of B AからBを取り除く
  • purify 浄化する

At a certain head shrine of Inari-shin which belongs to another line different from Fushimi Inari-jinja shrine, fox spirits are being sent on errands so that they can support people’s selfish desires, regardless of its content. I can feel that a certain spiritual being, who is the boss of the fox spirits, is drawing up the bills for a huge price to pay with interest, which are supposed to be sent later to those who accepted the favor.

  • certain ある
  • belong  属す
  • on errands お使いで
  • selfish 身勝手な
  • regardless of A Aに関係なく
  • content 中身
  • bill 請求書
  • interest 利子
  • be supposed to~ 〜することになっている
  • accept 受け入れる
  • favor 恩恵

If those who prayed for something stop visiting the shrine every year, the boss will take away something important for them silently, as if it were saying “My men worked for you. What are you going to pay for it?”

  • take away A Aを取り上げる
  • silently 黙って

This also holds true of the groups people manage who do some spiritual business using the name of God. In this case, fox spirits on an errand correspond to living humans who are members of the group. What humans do, not fox spirits, can have strong impact on society, so their spiritual sin is much more serious.

  • hold true of A Aに当てはまる
  • correspond to A Aに相当する
  • impact 影響
  • society 社会
  • sin 罪

As for Ebisu deity, I can feel that he is accumulating desires humans emit very hard.  I can see a huge lump of human desires in every Ebisu shrines. It’s like people are praying to the huge lump of dirt of desires with their hands put together.

  • as for A Aについて言えば
  • emit    発する
  • lump 塊
  • dirt 垢

Ebisu deity is generally described as a fat man with a well-liking face who has a big sea bream in one hand and a fishing rod on the other hand. This seems to be a black joke by the great holy spirit who rules Yomi-no-kuni(黄泉の国). Hidden, ancient holy spirits have often left admonitions or warnings in folk tales or legends for people.

  • describe 描写する
  • well-liking face 福顔
  • bea bream 鯛
  • fishing rod 釣り竿
  • ruler 支配者
  • admonition 諭し
  • warning 警告
  • folk tale 民話
  • legend 民間伝承

The kanji of “戎” of Ebisu deity is similar to that of “戒”, meaning a warning. In the dark age where the World of the Dead was at the height of its prosperity, the faith that people worship deities to fulfill personal desires consoled and encouraged people to be sure. But in the age of the sun to come, Ebisu deity will turn into the one who punishes people for the sake of them. In the World of Reality, Ebisu deity will become equal to a deity who punishes people.

  • similar 似ている
  • the World of the Dead 幽界
  • be at the height of one’s prosperity 全盛期
  • faith 信仰
  • fulfill 実現させる
  • console 慰める
  • encourage 励ます
  • to be sure 確かに
  • turn into A Aに変わる
  • punish 罰する
  • for the sake of A Aのために
  • equal 等しい

What the deity whose face is healthy and cheeks are red will fish with his fishing rod might not be a sea bream…but greedy, selfish people who are always trying to depend on deities outside of them without paying any attention to their own Inner God.

  • fish 釣る
  • depend 頼る
  • pay attention 注意を払う

生かして頂いて ありがとう御座位ます

I KA SHI TE I TA DA I TE    A RI GA TO U GO ZA I MA SU

Thank you so much for keeping us alive.