some Shinto notes

On the way back from Nara now. Today I met up with Kashiwagi Kazuhito, Kaz, the Shinto priest I met a few weeks ago.

I recorded much of our conversation, but the battery of my recorder gave out before our talk did. (Hoping that the recording came out intelligible). A few notes of things that stand out as I ride along...:

  • You have to empty your self of ego to be filled with spiritual power.
  • Shinto starts with harai (cleansing, realignment, correction), ends with harai.
  • Kagami - the mirror shows us ourselves, need a true image of ourself to make progress. "Ga" is ego. Remove it, and you become "kami". There is a ritual in which you treat your reflection as a kami.
  • Satori. One possible writing of this uses kanji meaning "remove (tori) the gap (sa)".
  • Left - hidari. "Hi" is fire. Right - migi. "Mi" is water. Left and right hands together is fire and water balancing, then the right hand comes down, water descending.
  • The hands coming together is lateral motion. The bow makes a vertical motion. Interweaving of directions.
  • Japan is not a silk culture, that's a Chinese thing. Japan is actually a hemp(!) culture.
  • According to one idea, after death the spirit is drawn to similar ones. This makes learning difficult, as no one there is more advanced. Only in this crazy mixed-up world do we have teachers, students, examples of what to do and what not to do.
  • Japanese Buddhism made a place for itself in the Nara period by "taking care of" the spirits of the departed who had become lost. Shinto is pretty much concerned just with those who are alive.

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