A Secret of Arrangements of the Buildings of Ise Grand Shrine

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While the Shikinen-sengu ritual of Ise Grand Shrine(伊勢神宮) takes place, ornaments and treasures offered to Kami, or God in shinto, are renewed. The locations of the storage places for these are a little bit strange. Normally, such treasures are kept in inconspicuous places, but these are kept in treasure houses called Touhou-den(東方殿)and Saihou-den(西方殿)standing both sides of the main building where Kami is enshrined.

  • take place 行われる
  • ornament 装飾物
  • inconspicuous 目立たない
  • enshrine 祀る

When you visit Geku(外宮) of Ise Grand Shrine and stand at the place where visitors are permitted to pray, you can see the main building behind the treasure houses. At Naiku of Ise Grand Shrine, on the other hand, the opposite arrangement is used. You see the main building in front and the treasure houses in back.

  • permit 許可する
  • opposite 逆の
  • arrengement 配置

Historians say:

☆ the main building symbolizes North Star

☆ the treasure houses symbolize the South Dipper Six Stars and the North Dipper Seven Stars each

The two types of arrangements symbolize celestial maps of the summer solstice and the winter solstice. In Taoism, the North Dipper Seven Stars are regarded as responsible for “death” while the South Dipper Six Stars “life.” Though I have no objection to it, I feel the arrangements have a more important spiritual meaning.

  • symbolize 象徴する
  • North Star 北極星
  • celestial 天体の
  • Taoism 道教
  • objection 異論

Why is the arrangement of the buildings different between Geku and Naiku? Seen from the above, the arrangement of the buildings of Geku is △, while that of Naiku is ▽. Overlap the two arrangements, and you’ll see a hexagram(✡️).

  • overlap 重ね合わせる
  • hexagram 六芒星

Every time I stand and pray in front of the main building of Geku, I feel intense holy energy, while, at Naiku, I feel more intense energy when I look at the main building at a distance from the back than from the front. At first, I wondered why it was so. I guessed that if I could stand right behind the main building of Naiku, which is prohibited though, I could feel much more intense holy energy.

  • every time S+V SがVする度に
  • intense 強烈な
  • guess  推測する

My psychic reading has reveal that the secret lies in the treasure houses. Treasures offered to Kami are great artcraft works carefully made with the best technique. So artcraft works can be said to be magnetic masses of craftsmen’s thought energy.

  • reveal 明らかにする
  • artcraft work 工芸品
  • magnetic  磁気の

Lacquer wares, for example, are made from trees and Japanese lacquer carefully selected on the premise that they are delivered to Ise Grand Shrine. Time and effort it takes to make an artwork are unimaginable. I hear that craftsmen of treasures dedicated to Ise Grand Shrine have to obey a lot of rules, such as looping the workplace with straw ropes, restricting the entrance to the workplace and so on.

  • lacquer ware 漆器
  • premise 前提
  • unimaginable 想像できない
  • obey 従う
  • restrict 制限する

Artcraft works made with the best craftsmanship like this are positive magnetic masses. So treasure houses containing such artcraft works are like big storage batteries. And I feel these batteries begin to run down in twenty years. This is why the treasure houses, together with other buildings, have to be renewed every twenty years.

  • contain 中に含む
  • storage battery 蓄電器
  • this is why S+V こういうわけでSはVする

The reason why I feel a strong holy energy at Geku is that the treasure houses between visitors and the main building amplify the spiritual energy emitted from the main building. Ise Grand Shine can be said to be a rare religious facility that has been built with practical, spiritual secret arts. My theory is the effective period of the spiritual magnetism is one of the reasons why Shikinen-sengu ritual has to be held every two decades.

  • amplify 増幅させる
  • emit  放出する
  • practical 実践的な
  • ficility 施設
  • theory 説

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