A Certain Shinto Ritual That Had Been Performed by My Grandfather and His Ancestors – Part 1

森羅万象第6巻 表紙

When the time of Obon festival comes around every year, I remember my deceased father. He, weak in the legs, never failed to visit our family’s grave every year up until several years before he passed away. It was my duty to take him to the grave because I was a salaried worker and could take days off. The grave was at the precincts of a temple on the outskirts of our town and the temple was on a slope of a mountain. So it was hard for him to visit there by himself.

  • deceased 亡くなった
  • never fail to~ 必ず〜する
  • pass away 亡くなる
  • duty 義務
  • precincts 境内
  • outskirt 郊外

According to his story he told me again and again, our ancestors’ true grave was in an unexplored place in the mountain which people were not allowed to enter. Why so? This was because the grave was not an ordinary one but a tomb mound that looked like a small mountain.

  • unexplored    人が入ったことがない
  • enter 入る
  • tomb mound 墳墓

His father and his ancestors had been engaged in traditional handicrafts in a region and their another job was to perform a certain shinto ritual like a shinto priest. They were not official priests that belonged to the Association of Shinto Shrines(神社庁), but unqualified ones who had performed shinto rituals related to an indigenous faith.

  • engaded 従事している
  • handicrafts 工芸
  • region 地方
  • unqualified 資格のない
  • indigenous 土着の

There have been a lot of shinto priests from my family line who belong to the Association of Shinto Shrines. One of my remote relatives has been the chief priest of a certain famous shrine with a long history for many years. When my father was a college student, he stayed at the shrine. It is interesting that the enshrined deity of the shrine is Oh-mono-nushi-no-oh-kami(大物主大神). This deity is also the one of Mt. Miwa(三輪山) in Nara prefecture.

  • remote relative 遠くの親戚
  • enshrine 祭る

Accodring to him, the tomb mound of my ancestors had been said to be Oni-zuka(鬼塚), or Fiend Mound, since a long time ago. A legend says that a long time ago, Susanoo(スサノオ) came to where Oni-zuka is now located and when leaving he took off his physical body and buried it there and it became the tomb mound later. Since then, my father’s ancestors had been taking care of it.

  • legend 伝説
  • take off A  Aを脱ぐ
  • bury 埋める

There was a tradition in my family line that when a successor died, his bones were buried at an edge of the tomb mound and other family members visited the grave on the outskirts of the town. One day, an incident happened in the town that put an end to this long tradition at the time of my grandfather.

To be continued.

  • successor 後継者
  • incident 出来事
  • put an end to A  Aを終わらせる

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.

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