The Meaning of The Third Incense Stick


As for the words you say in holding a memorial service for your ancestors, you can use your own words or make a change to them as long as they mean gratitude to your ancestors. But I hope that you say “I Ka Shi Te I Ta Da I Te  A Ri Ga To U Go Za I Ma Su” meaning “Thank you so much for keeping us alive” because they have an important spiritual meaning.

  • as for A Aに関して言えば
  • make a change to A Aに変更を加える
  • as long as S+V SがVする限り
  • gratitude 感謝の気持ち
  • meaning  意味

Well, after offering two incense sticks, you offer the third one. This has a spiritual meaning. In the way of Ise-Hakusan Dou, when you have a memorial service for your ancestral spirits and the spirits who have something to do with you, all you need is a Tanzaku(短冊, a strip of paper)or a memorial tablet for spirits to stay at temporarily like a perch with the words “The Place For Spirits Of So-and-So Family” written on it.

  • incense stick 線香
  • have something to do with A Aと何らかの関係がある
  • memorial tablet 位牌
  • perch 止まり木

No matter how complicated the situations you’re in, you have to write your own surname you’re now using on the Tanzaku. If you change your surname, you have to change the name on it, too. Using Yorishiro(寄り代), or a place for spirts to stay at, you console your ancestral spirits who have the same surname as yours preferentially.This is because you have to increase the number of ancestral spirits who have been relieved by memorial services and then have them help other related spirits.

  • complicated 複雑な
  • surname 氏名
  • console 慰める
  • preferentially 優先的に
  • increase 増やす
  • related 関係した

If you expanded the object of a memorial service by writing your family name and all other related family names on the Tanzaku or memorial tablet, the memorial service would be halfway for each of the family lines and as the result you couldn’t accomplish its intended purpose because the object is too broad. Keep in mind that there are a huge number of ancestors in your family line only.

  • expand 広げる
  • object 対象
  • halfway 中途半端
  • accomplish 成し遂げる
  • intended 意図された
  • purpose 目的
  • keep A in mind Aを心に留めておく

To prevent this, it’s better not to write the names of other related family lines on the Tanzaku intentionally and instead to take care of them by offering the third incense stick. By offering it, you can console the spirits who have something to do with you one by one according to the need. I know from my long experience and spiritual sense that holding memorial services for ancestors does have practical effects on the person who holds it eventually.

  • prevent 防ぐ
  • intentionally 意図的に
  • instead 代わりに
  • according to A Aに応じて
  • practical 実際的な
  • effect 影響
  • eventually 最終的には

A lot of spirits who need memorial services are in suffer. They are suffering so much that they afford no ease and reassurance. I learned from a special topic of a TV documentary program I saw before that the biggest factor of fights between prisoners is a little difference of the amount of meals served to them and the order of serving is also important. It’s hard to understand in an affluent, free society, but it could be a conflict of life and death in such a closed space. In the TV program, a prisoner, who was selected from among the prisoners regularly, was checking the amount of each meals with a ruler. This is not a funny thing but a serious matter.

  • suffer 苦しみ
  • afford A Aの余裕がある
  • reassurance 安心
  • factor 要因
  • conflict 喧嘩
  • prisoner 囚人
  • difference 違い
  • serve 出す
  • affluent 豊かな
  • conflict 争い
  • ruler 定規

The same kind of thing exists between ancestral spirits and other related ones. It’s important to offer two incense sticks to your ancestral spirits first, and after that to offer one incense stick to other related ones. This is not discrimination against spirits. This way of offering incense sticks is to make much of the relationship between spirits and the person who offers them. First you console your ancestral spirits who have the same surname as yours and then have them help other spirits related to you.

  • exist 存在する
  • discrimination 差別
  • make much of A Aを重視する
  • relationship 関係

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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