What You’re Thinking is Much More Important Than Offerings

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The other day, I took out the remains of incense sticks in the bowl put in front of my kamidana, or a household shinto altar. I found a lot of remains there though I’d already thrown them away two times this year.

  • the other day 先日
  • remains 残ったもの
  • incense stick 線香
  • throw A away Aを捨てる

As I have been practicing holding grateful memorial services for more than ten years, as soon as the bowl is filled with the remains, I can tell by the smell. I can smell a faint bad smell due to its incomplete combustion filling the room one or two hours after holding a memorial service

  • scent 匂い
  • incomplete 不完全な
  • combustion 燃焼

I don’t use candles. You have to be careful. Some fires happening every year are caused by candles. In holding memorial services for your ancestors in the way of Ise-Hakusan-Dou method, you don’t need any candles. If you have to use them due to a Buddhist service or your family tradition, you had better put out the fire when you leave the room. It’s dangerous to keep the fire burning in a room with nobody watching it.

  • cause 引き起こす
  • put out A  Aを消す
  • dangerous 危険な

In Buddhism, candle are lit so that spirits can see where a memorial service is held. In the same way, the lights of incense sticks arranged in a triangle tell them the place like a runway seen from a night sky. So you don’t have to worry about not using candles.

  • Buddhism 仏教
  • light つける
  • runway 滑走路

I put two bunches of Sakaki plants and a water vessel at my kamidana. There is a spiritual meaning in these. Sake, salt, rice and lights etc are not neccessary. These are nothing more than the symbols of consideration for God or gratitude for bumper crops. This way of memorial services is just an imitation of the way of shinto shrines.

  • bunch 束
  • water vessel 水容器
  • prepare 用意する
  • consideration 思いやり
  • gratitude 感謝の気持ち
  • bumper crops 五穀豊穣
  • imitation 模倣

If the sake and rice are left as they are so long that they go bad and covered with dust, the energy of holy spirits can’t come close to them. To be sure, offering sake and rice is a good thing to do because it expresses your gratitude to God, but remember that in a spiritual sense, what you offer to God is not the things but the labor of offering them. Holy spirits receive consideration from human beings. Even if you offer rice or sake everyday, they never eat such physical matter.

  • as S be そのまま
  • to be sure 確かに
  • labor 手間
  • physical matter 物質

In this sense, if you offer things to your kamidana thinking, “I don’t wanna do this,” or “I have no time,” you’re actually offering these negative energy. The feeling is reflected upon you due to “the law of mirror.” So you have to be careful.

  • actually 実際には
  • reflect 反射する

As a businessman, I’m busy in the morning. But I make it a rule every morning to change the water in the stands of two bunches of Sakaki plants and the water vessel and hold a grateful memorial service for my ancestors. This is all I can do in the morning stress-free. Since I get up at five to maintain this blog, this is all I can do.

  • make it a rule to~ 〜することにしている
  • stress-free ストレスなしで
  • maintain 維持する

All you have to do is do what you can do pleasantly and honestly. If you feel stressed in holding a memorial service, you need to reflect upon whether or not you’re trying to use God for your own benefit.

  • pleasantly 気持ちよく
  • honestly 正直に
  • reflect 反省する
  • benefit 利益

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 me/us alive.

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