What not to do in Mourning

森羅万象第6巻 表紙

When a relative passes away, it is said, you should not visit a shrine for 49 days. I’m going to explain about its spiritual meaning.

  • relative 親戚
  • pass away 亡くなる
  • meaning 意味

The true purpose of visiting a shrine must be to offer gratitude to God. What you offer to God is reflected toward you sooner or later like a mirror. That is, the spiritual law exists that what you offer returns to you. If you offer gratitude to a holy spirit, such a happy situation will occur as others will thank you. Conversely, when visiting a shrine with a sad heart you’re offering sadness to God and as the result some sad situation will be returned to you.

  • purpose 目的
  • gratitude 感謝の気持ち
  • reflect 反射する
  • exist 存在する
  • conversely 逆に

Shrines where righteous deities reside have a strong reflecting effect, so you have to be careful in visiting such a shrine. Hearing the rumor that visiting a certain shrine causes visitor’s dreams to come true, greedy people would try to visit the shrine deep in the mountains at any cost. But it often turns out that they have the opposite effects to what they intended.

  • righteous 正しい
  • rumor 噂
  • greedy 欲深い
  • at any cost 何としても
  • the opposite effect 逆効果
  • intend 意図する

If you pay a visit to a shrine disconsolate after a close relative of yours died, what do you think you’re offering to God? Even if you’re visiting there with an outward appearance of calm, what you’re actually transmitting to the holy spirit is sadness. The 49 days is just a rough indication meaning that you’ll regain your composure 49 days after your close relative died. So, if you’re still in the middle of sadness even in 49 days, you shouldn’t visit any shrine. The notion of 49 days is derived from Buddhist view of life and death, not Shintoism. Conversely, if you and your family can be in the state of composure because the deceased lived long and died peacefully, it’s OK to visit a shrine within 49 days.

  • disconsolate 悲嘆に暮れて
  • appearance 見かけ
  • calm 落ち着き
  • transmit 伝える
  • indication  目安
  • regain 取り戻す
  • composure 落ち着き
  • notion 考え
  • be derived 由来する
  • the deceased 故人

In Shintoism, death of relatives is regarded as uncleanness and visiting a shrine in mourning is forbidden. But this is what only shinto priests performing rituals should be careful of, not visitors in general. If a shinto priest performed a ritual as a medium for the holy spirit, his spiritual body having coarse spiritual vibration due to the death of his close relative, the holy spirit couldn’t come close to him. These days, unfortunately, there are only a small number of shinto priests who can attract holy energy even in a normal state where no one around him has died.

  • uncleanness 穢れ
  • in mourning 忌中
  • forbid 禁じる
  • shinto priest 神官
  • ritual 儀式
  • coarse 粗い

Also, in terms of the right Shinto view, death of human beings is anything but uncleanness. The sun rises in the morning, goes down in the evening and rises again after night. One of the important ideas of Shinto is the death and rebirth of gods. Gods’ death means that gods just hide themselves. Shinto regards the death of human beings as well as every thing as a process of a never-ending journey of dying, hiding and regenerating. Death is never uncleanness. It’s nothing more than a rest in the middle of the journey.

  • in terms of A Aの観点から
  • be anything but A 決してAではない
  • rebirth 再生
  • regard A as B  AをBとみなす
  • rest 休息

In mourning, as long as you’re sad, all you have to do is change the water in the container put in front of your shinto altar. You’re not forbidden to touch the shinto altar. All and everything, including life and death, are nothing more than a manifestation of the Original Being. With the utmost courtesy, you would never be punished by God.

  • container 容器
  • forbid 禁止する
  • be nothing more than A Aに過ぎない
  • utmost 最大限の
  • courtesy 礼儀正しさ
  • punish 罰する

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 me/us alive.