Shinto Manner of “Two Bows, Two Claps and One Bow” Set as the Standard by God’s Will

In Shintoism, it has been thought of as the standard manner and disseminated as such all over the country since Meiji era to bow two times, clap your hands two times and bow once in front of the main building of a shrine. As regards the number of the clapping by Shinto priests, however, there are various theories according to ancient traditions.

  • era 時代
  • disseminate 普及する
  • bow お辞儀する
  • as regards A Aに関して
  • ancient 古来の

For example, in Kunitsu-kami(国津神) shrines belonging to Izumo(出雲) line, it is thought of as the official manner to clap your hands four times, while in Ise Grand Shrine(伊勢神宮), to clap your hands four times and do as many times again, which is called Yahirade(八開手), is the offical manner the Shinto priests do. According to my inspiration, I feel that this manner seems to conjure up and worship the Four Haraedo Spirits(祓戸四神) led by Susanoo(スサノオ).

  • official 公式の
  • inspiration 霊感
  • conjure up A Aを呼び出す

Counting the four-time clapping as one-time, the eight-time clapping can be said to be the prototype of the present two-time clapping. Also, the number 8 has been regarded as a lucky number in Shintoism since ancient times.

  • prototype 原型
  • present 現在の
  • ancient times 古代

Humans clap their hands when they are happy or moved, which is a kind of instinct common to all human beings in the world. Babies also clap their hands when happy and so did people in ancient times. Ancient people seem to have clap their hands naturally to express their gratitude, awe or excitement of joy toward the holy spirit. Yes. They could see God.

  • moved 感動した
  • instinct 本能
  • gratitude 感謝の気持ち
  • awe 畏怖の気持ち

They sometimes saw the energy of the holy spirit spiraling up Iwakura(磐座), a huge stone on which the energy body of God comes down. The energy was often perceived as a shining dragon or huge serpent. Impressed by the energy, ancient people clapped their hands to praise God. The number of clapping didn’t matter for them in those days.

  • spiral up 螺旋状に登る
  • perceive 知覚する
  • serpent 蛇
  • praise 賞賛する

I feel that the present manner of ” two bows, two claps and one bow,” has been established by God’s will after many twists and turns. My spiritual interpretation of it is as follows:

● two bows: In shitoism, Izanagi (イザナギ)and Izanami (イザナミ)make a couple and they are the origin of other gods. Therefore, to bow two times is to bow these original gods.

● two claps: To clap two times is to praise the two gods.

● one bow: To bow once in the end is to unit the two gods as one and to express your gratitude for your having been entrusted with it as your Inner God.

  • establish 確立する
  • interpretation 解釈
  • entrust A with B  AにBを任せる

Though there are details about the manner, the most important manner is to dedicate your smiles to God. Please use this attitude as your reference.

  • detail 詳細
  • dedicate 奉納する
  • attitude 考え方
  • reference 参考

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.