What the Original Japanese Buddhism Means

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In foreign countries, religious rituals glorifying God are common, while those for ancestral spirits are rare. There are some countries that have no such customs. In Japan, holding memorial services for ancestral spirits have been practiced a lot since ancient times, compared with other countries, because the Buddhism in Japan, which originally came through the Eurasian Continent, valued ancestral spirits and spread all over Japan as such.

  • glorify 讃える
  • custom 習慣
  • compare 比較する
  • the Eurasian Continent ユーラシア大陸
  • value 重んじる

In the earliest Buddhism founded by Shakuson, the teachings of memorial services for ancestral spirits are very few. According to an episode, for example, when Shakuson spiritually saw the mother of Mokuren(目連), one of his Ten Disciples, was suffering in Hungry Ghost Realm of Hell, he suggested to Mokuren that he contribute food to as many monks and people as possible and get the monks to pray for his mother so that she could rest in peace.

  • the earliest Buddhism 原始仏教
  • found 創設する
  • contribute 寄付する
  • monk  僧侶

I think this episode is suggestive.

● the importance of contributing to others

●the importance and practical power of consideration by a lot of people

I feel that this just one episode caused Japanese Buddhist monks to perform funeral services and have a ceremonial dinner after the service. I also feel that the episode was used in its broad interpretation and as a result Buddhist monks came to live their lives depending on alms.

  • suggestive 示唆に富んだ
  • importance 重要性
  • consideration 思いやり
  • interpretation 解釈
  • alms 施し

This is how memorial services for ancestral spirits, which didn’t exist in the earliest Buddhism, led to the present “funeral Buddhism.” It goes without saying that this is different from the earliest Buddhism founded by Shakuson. It’s the original Japanese Buddhism. I interpret this incident as a good thing for Japan as a whole. I feel that holy spirits of the World of Gods of Japan concerned themselves with the establishment of this system.

  • funeral Buddhism 葬式仏教
  • interpret 解釈する
  • incident 出来事
  • concern oneself with A Aに関与する

The idea of worshipping ancestral spirits had existed before Buddhism was introduced to Japan. Though the present Buddhism in Japan has a  lot of problems, such as Buddhist monks enjoying luxury or exploiting people by the system of collecting money, it has surely contributed to the custom of directing people’s mind to their ancestral spirits periodically. The thing is it’s important never to forget gratitude toward ancestors and to direct your mind to them once in while. There are  various ways for doing this.

  • worship 崇拝する
  • introduce 紹介する
  • luxury 贅沢
  • explot 搾取する
  • direct 向ける
  • periodically 定期的に
  • once in a while 時折

If some spirits related to you are in pain in this World of Reality, they will try to make you notice their existence. Therefore you need to direct your mind to them by holding memorial services before you are forced to notice them. Otherwise, you would be made to notice their existence in some way. Also, even if the spirits in pain give up informing you of their existence, your spiritual line will be clogged, which, in turn, will affect the life force, fortune, and mental stability of their descendants, including you.

  •  related 関係した
  • notice 気づく
  • existence 存在
  • be forced to~  〜せざるを得ない
  • otherwise さもないと
  • inform 知らせる
  • clog 詰まらせる
  • descendant 子孫

A lot of people are going through difficulties in life, burdened with spiritual handicap. They are being tortured doubly hard. It is true that people, living in this World of Reality, world, have the hardships of life even if they hold memorial services correctly every day. Efforts are important in real life. But without spiritual handicap, they could overcome the hardships with a positive mind. There is a difference of heaven and earth here.

  • difficulties 困難
  • torture 苦しめる
  • correctly 正しく
  • effort 努力
  • overcome 乗り越える
  • positive 積極的な

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.

 

Questions and answers (42)-(43)

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Question 42:

You say we, humans living in this world, can only make spirits unable to rest in peace relieved. Why is it so?

  • human 人間
  • rest in peace 成仏する
  • relieved 安心した

Answer:

The other world can be said to be a static world. It is divided into countless dimensions, and spirits in peace in a dimension cannot interfere with and save other spirits in anguish in another dimension. There is no way but to go through the World of Reality. Strong spirits resting in peace of the ancestors’ spirits, trying to save other spirits in pain in the same family line, lead their offsprings living in the World of Reality to hold a memorial service for their ancestors, and by doing so save the unfortunate ones.

  • the other world あの世
  • static 静的な
  • divide A into B AをBに分割する
  • countless 無数の
  • demension 次元
  • in anguish 苦悶する
  • go through A Aを経由する
  • in pain  苦しんでいる
  • family line 家系
  • lead A to~ Aに〜するよう仕向ける
  • offspring 子孫
  • unfortunate 不幸な

Question 43:

What do you think of Edgar Cayce?

Answer:

I think about half of what he said was true. He had a mixed spiritual wave composed of those of the Christian World of Spirit and the World of the Dead. Since he received signs from those spiritual worlds near this world, he was good at pointing out private minor details. But I feel he was unstable in giving some advice about the whole, big matters.

  • half 半分
  • mixed 混在した
  • wave 波動
  • be composed of A Aから構成されている
  • Christian キリスト教系の
  • since  S+V SはVするので
  • receive 受け取る
  • sign 啓示
  • be good at~ing 〜することが得意である
  • point out A Aを指摘する
  • private 個人的な
  • minor detail 細事
  • unstable 不安定な
  • whole 全体的な
  • matter 事柄

Questions and answers (40)-(41)

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Question 40:

I have received “an initiation of energy for enlightenment” called D◯ksha for about two years. A certain Indian saint started it and instructors who took the professional course in India put their hand on the head of a participant and transmit some energy. It is said this energy changes neurons of the brain physically and leads to enlightenment. What do you think of D◯ksha?

  • receive 受ける
  • initiation 伝授
  • enlightenment 悟り
  • certain ある
  • saint 聖者
  • instrucor 指導者
  • participant 参加者
  • transmit 流す
  • neuron 神経細胞
  • physically 物理的に
  • lead to A Aをもたらす

Answer:

There was just one person who could do the D◯ksha in India in the last 200 years. But, he didn’t give D◯ksha to anyone. Because he thought the development of spirituality of each person was important. Any qualification you can get in exchange for money is all bullshit. I feel the vibration of a spiritual being greedy to collect money. This kind of ritual for initiations which contaminate people’s original spiritual magnetism will cause physical diseases or depression in later years.

  • development 成長
  • spirituality 霊性
  • qualification 資格
  • in exchange for A Aと引き換えに
  • bullshit デタラメ
  • vibration 波動
  • greedy to~ 欲深く〜しようとする
  • collect 集める
  • contaminate 汚す
  • magnetism 磁気
  • disease 病気
  • depression 鬱
  • in later years 後年

Question 41:

You say we should write  “the Place for such and such” on a memorial tablet. But some healers say we had better not write “the Place.” What do you think?

  • memorial tablet 位牌
  • had better not~ 〜しない方がよい

Answer:

It is dangerous to hold a memorial service by using Tanzaku or  a memorial tablet without the word “the Place” on it. Because spirits coming near can’t find any objects on which they alight, they will obsess the person who holds the service. In the early stage, many of the spirits coming close to you are ones in anguish, so it’s like you show them a feast without a seat and put it back. You’ll end up in making them wander unnecessarily. Therefore, you had better not hold any memorial service using Tanzaku or a memorial tablet lacking the word “the Place.”

  • dangerous 危険な
  • memorial service 供養
  • object 物
  • alight 止まる
  • obsess 取り憑く
  • in the early stage 初期の段階では
  • in anguish 苦悶する
  • feast ごちそう
  • put A back Aを片付ける
  • it is like S+V それはSがVするようなもの
  • wander 彷徨う
  • unnecessarily 不必要に
  • therefore 従って
  • lack 欠く

If you hold the service without any Tanzaku or memorial tablet, you can do it by using steaming hot tea instead. But its effect is less than half compared with the service using incense sticks plus Tanzaku. I always set great store on practicality in everything, so I think you should not do anything ineffectual. The thing mentioned above being put into practice, people who have more or less extrasensory perception would understand what I mean.

  • steaming 湯気の出ている
  • instead 代わりに
  • effect 効果
  • less than A A以下
  • half 半分
  • compared with A Aと比べて
  • incense stick 線香
  • set great store on A Aを重視する
  • practilality 実用性
  • inefectual 効果のない
  • mention 言及する
  • put A into practice Aを実行に移す
  • more or less 多かれ少なかれ
  • extrasensory perceptiuon 霊感

Questions and answers (37)-(39)

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Question 37:

In my home Buddhist altar there are some private Ihai(位牌), a memorial tablet, with a posthumous Buddhist name on it. There are as many as two tablets for a suicide among them, so I have been worried about it. Should I get rid of all of them?

  • Buddhist altar 仏壇
  • private 個人的な
  • posthumous Buddhist name 戒名
  • suicide 自殺者
  • worried 心配している
  • get rid of A Aを取り除く

Answer

It is good to reduce those memorial tablets to one on which  “a place for such and such family’s ancestors’ spirits” is written. But you should not get rid of all of them at once, but wrap them in a white cloth and put them in a drawer of your Buddhist altar, or arrange some private memorial tablets at the back in the Buddhist altar and ancestors’ memorial tablets at the front. Then after years have passed, you should dispose of them. This kind of acts means to go through proper procedures of previous notice of executing it for the spirits.

  • reduce 減らす
  • at once 一度に
  • cloth 布
  • drawer 引き出し
  • arrage 配置する
  • dispose of A Aを処分する
  • proper 適切な
  • procedure 手順
  • previous 事前の
  • notice 通告
  • execute 実行する

Question 38:

What do you think of a right wing idea? I wanna know what god or Kenzoku(眷属) has to do with it.

  • right wing idea 右翼思想
  • have to do with A Aと関係がある

Answer

Behind a person with such idea there are often spirits who used to be a military man and can’t rest in peace. In general, a right wing idea is often associated with Shinto or the imperial family but this is not true. It has nothing to do with those. It’s a shame.

  • millitary man  軍人
  • rest in peace 安らかに眠る
  • be associated with A  Aと結びつけて考えられる
  • the imperial family 皇室
  • have nothing to do with A Aと何の関係もない
  • shame 残念な事

Question 39:

If a memorial service for ancestors is held at the head family, does the effect reach a branch family?

  • head family 本家
  • effect 効果
  • reach 達する
  • branch family 分家

Answer:

The effect of a right memorial service reaches branch families, but it is important that the services are held at each branch family. The fact that a head family practices it doesn’t mean branch families don’t have to do it. Because all offsprings are connected with their ancestors one on one, it is necessary for each one to practice it. Since the righteous guardian spirits in the World of Reality are ancestors, offsprings who don’t hold any memorial service for his/her ancestors are likely to live an unfortunate life.

  • don’t have to~ 〜する必要はない
  • offspring 子孫
  • be connected with A Aと繋がっている
  • one on one 1対1の関係で
  • necessary 必要な
  • righteous 正当な
  • guardian spirit 守護霊
  • be likely to~ 〜しそうである
  • live a ~life 〜な生活を送る
  • unfortunate 不運な

Questions and answers (9)-(11)

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Question 9:

Now I’m living in a country next to Japan. Since incense sticks are available here, I hold a memorial service for my ancestors. But if I do it in a foreign country other than Japan, does my gratitude really reach them ?

  • next to A Aの隣の
  • since S+V SはVするので
  • incense stick 線香
  • available 手に入る
  • a memorial service for one’s ancestors 先祖供養
  • gratitude 感謝の気持ち
  • foreign country 外国
  • other than A A以外の
  • gratitude 感謝の気持ち

Answer:

It’ OK. Because you are always connected with your ancestors through a spiritual line of your ancestry. Everyone receives energy from the Original God through the invisible spiritual line like a umbilical cord as long as he lives. The spiritual line is a current of ancestral history and linear. This spiritual line connecting you to the Original God is also a line which has connected with offsprings generation to generation to this day through a history of your ancestry. When you die, the line is broken. That you are alive means that you are connected with your ancestors no matter where you are.

  • be connected with A Aと繋がっている
  • spiritual line 霊線
  • ancestry 先祖
  • receive 受け取る
  • the Original God 根源神
  • invisible 目に見えない
  • umbilical cord へその緒
  • as long as S+V SがVする限り
  • current 流れ
  • linear 線形
  • connect A to B AとBを結びつける
  • generation to generation 世代から世代へと
  • to this day 今日まで
  • alive 生きている
  • mean 意味する
  • no matter where S+V どこにSがVしようとも

Question 10:

Do my ancestors staying in a spiritual world help their associates who are relatives and have not rested in peace, or do they lead them to? If a spirit who cannot rest in peace are relieved only by a memorial service conducted by the living, why is it so?

  • associate 仲間
  • relative 親戚
  • rest in peace 成仏する
  • lead A to~ Aに〜するよう仕向ける
  • relieve 安心させる
  • conduct 行う
  • the living 生きている者

Answer:

Relieved spirits of your ancestors worry about the other restless spirits who belonged to the family from which they borrowed their own bodies and make efforts trying to redress the afflicted until their next spiritual journey begins.  The energy for doing this is received from memorial services held by their offsprings with gratitude. Without the energy, they run short of that needed to help other spirits and a kind of food given to those who suffer from hunger.

  • worry 心配する
  • restless 迷える
  • belong to A Aに属する
  • make efforts 努力する
  • try to~ 〜しようとする
  • redress 救う
  • the afflicts 悩める者
  • journey 旅
  • gratitude 感謝の気持ち
  • run short of A Aが不足する
  • suffer from A Aに苦しむ
  • hunger 飢餓 

Question 11:

I cannot afford to build my own grave any more. I’m losing even my shelter. If someone’s ashes are thrown away into a river, does the deceased feel sad ? Do any misfortunes happen to his future offsprings ?

  • cannot afford A Aを買う余裕がない
  • grave 墓
  • not …any more もはや…ない
  • shelter 居場所
  • ashes 遺灰
  • throw A away 捨てる
  • the deceased 亡くなった人
  • feel sad 悲しむ
  • misfortune 災い
  • happen to A Aに起こる

Answer:

Even if you have your own grave, only part of ashes can be put in it. Most of the ashes are burned with other people’s. So if you don’t have one, it is no problem to have all the ashes disposed of. It is a memorial service held at home every day that does good to the deceased, not the ashes. Even if you have a grave, the deceased will feel sad if you don’t hold any memorial service for him at home. If you make it a rule to offer gratitude to the whole ancestry by memorial services, your surroundings will change easily into those you feel like appreciating. There is always a good chance as long as you live, so let’s both try our best.

  • even if S+V たとえSがVするとしても
  • most 大部分
  • burn 燃やす
  • have A pp Aを〜してもらう
  • dispose of A Aを処分する
  • do good to A Aのためになる
  • make it a rule to~ 〜することにしている
  • offer 捧げる
  • the whole A A全体
  • surroundings 環境
  • feel like ~ing 〜したいと思う
  • appreciate 有り難く思う
  • try one’s best 最善を尽くす

Questions and Answers (7)-(8)

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Question 7:

I heard that Bon Festival is an opportunity for ancestors to come back to their offsprings and communicate with them. Do ancestors who haven’t rest in peace yet come back, too? Do they get together at the time looking forward to seeing their offsprings no matter how they are?

  • opportunity 機会
  • ancestor 先祖
  • offspring 子孫
  • communicate 交流する
  • rest in peace 安らかに眠る
  • get together 集まる
  • look forward to ~ing 〜することを楽しみにする
  • no matter how S+V どのようにSがVしても

Answer:

I feel a door of Hell and spiritual worlds open from around the dead of night of August 11 every year. It seems that both ancestors who rest in peace and ones who don’t come close to their families who have some connection with them. From the evening of August 15 toward the dead of night is the climax of Obon Festival, when I feel space of this world distorted. At the dead of night of August 16, a tunnel connecting this world with the other world seems to be closed again. Once a year, they enjoy food and drink with their living offsprings and decrease their persisting memories of this world.

  • feel A ~ Aが〜するのを感じる
  • the dead of the night 深夜
  • It seems that… …であるように思われる
  • both A and B AもBも両方
  • come close to A Aに寄る
  • connection 繋がり
  • space 空間
  • distort 歪める
  • connect  繋げる
  • offspring 子孫
  • decrease 減らす
  • persisting 残存する
  • memory 思い出

Question 8:

You said we shouldn’t hold a memorial service for our ancestors at night, lest we should call other spirits together. By what time should I hold it at night? If possible, I wanna do it at least two times a day in the morning and in the evening or at night. Also, I have a daughter who goes to elementary school. When I offer incense sticks, should she put her hands together? Or should she offer another three incense sticks on her own?

  • memorial service 供養
  • lest S+V 万が一SがVするといけないから
  • call A together Aを呼び寄せる
  • by what time 何時までに
  • if possible 可能ならば
  • at least 少なくとも
  • daughter 娘
  • elementary school  小学校
  • offer 捧げる
  • incense stick 線香
  • put one’s hands together 手を合わせる
  • on one’s own 自分で

Answer:

You had better avoid the time between twelve midnight and three a.m. Since various kinds of spirits can easily move at the time zone, you have to avoid the time so that you can keep away spirits other than both your ancestors and ones who have something to do with you. It is ideal that you hold the service in the morning. And it is better for you to do it once or twice a day. If you think you want to do it many times, you must expect some effects. You have to be careful not to bring about counterproductive effects because holding memorial services expecting some effect causes you to emit spiritual waves difficult to reach the spiritual worlds.

  • had better~ 〜した方がよい
  • avoid 避ける
  • since S+V SはVするので
  • various kinds of A 様々な種類のA
  • so that S +V SがVするように
  • ideal 理想的な
  • It is better to~ 〜した方がよい
  • many times 何回も
  • expect 期待する
  • efffect 効果
  • bring about A Aを引き起こす
  • counterproductive effect 逆効果
  • cause A to~ Aが〜する原因となる
  • emit 放つ

It is important to have compassion that you want to relieve your ancestors. If you make them relieved, you yourself are made relieved receiving the reflection. All your kid has to do is put her hands together behind you when you offer three incense sticks. There is no need for her to offer another three incense sticks.

  • compassion 慈悲心
  • relieve 癒す
  • thanks to A Aのお陰で
  • reflection 反映
  • need 必要

questions and answers (6)

114

Question :

Your blog says that the family name of a husband should be written on Tanzaku. But, generally speaking, on Bon Festival or during the equinoctial week, people visit graves of both a husband and a wife. If I write my husband’s family name on it, doesn’t it make my parent’s ancestors cry?

  • husband 夫
  • generally speaking 一般的に言えば
  • the equinoctial week お彼岸
  • grave 墓
  • make A ~ Aを〜させる
  • ancestor 先祖

Answer:

It is no problem for you to visit graves of your parents’ ancestors and hold a memorial service for them a couple of times a year. Just follow your family’s way. The problem is, when you hold a memorial service for your parents’ ancestors at home everyday, unless you do it in the name of your present name(a husband’s family name), conflicts between you and your husband will often occur. Because there is a clash between the two spiritual lines of ancestors.

  • no problem 問題ない
  • memorial service for one’s ancestors 先祖供養
  • a couple of times 2・3回
  • follow 従う
  • unless S+V SがVしない限り
  • present 現在の
  • conflict 争い
  • clash 衝突

Question:

In the case of there being only daughters in family home, what if they all get married? I’m just like that. My sisters have all changed their names to their husband’s. One of my relatives got divorced recently, but she didn’t change her name for convenience. Does she have to hold a memorial service for her parents’ ancestors as soon as she changes back the original family name?

  • case 場合
  • daughter 娘
  • family home 実家
  • What if S+V? SがVしたらどうなるのだろうか?
  • get married 結婚する
  • relative 親戚
  • get divorced 離婚する
  • recently 最近
  • for convenience 便宜上
  • as soon as S+V SがVしたらすぐに

Answer:

If you don’t think much of a memorial service for your husband’s ancestor, you’re likely to get divorced. That a family name ends has some deep karma beyond our understanding. It is better to use your “present” name when you hold the service rather than a name of your family register.

  • think much of A Aを重要視する
  • be likely to~ 〜しそうである
  • end 絶える
  • meaning 意味
  • It is better to~ 〜した方がよい
  • rather than~ 〜よりもむしろ
  • family register 戸籍

Question:

What if a husband get married and get into his wife’s family? Does he have to hold a memorial service for her wife’s ancestors instead of his? In that case he must have reluctance to do it. When the husband and wife don’t get along well, is it likely that if he begins to hold the service for her ancestors, their relationship would be better?

  • get married 結婚する
  • instead of A Aの代わりに
  • reluctance 抵抗
  • get along well 仲良くやっている
  • likely ありそうな
  • relationship 関係

Answer:

When a man gets into his wife’s family, he has to hold memorial services for the ancestors of her name. Otherwise, the relationship of a husband and a wife wouldn’t last long. When a married couple isn’t getting on well, to hold services for husband’s ancestors would make the couple happier.

  •  otherwise さもなければ
  • last 続く
  • make A B AをBにする