A kannushi called shinshoku, is the person responsible for the maintenance of a Shinto shrine as well as for leading worship of a given kami. The characters for kannushi are sometimes read jinshu with the same meaning; the kannushi were intermediaries between kami and could transmit their will to common humans. A kannushi was a man capable of miracles or a holy man who, because of his practice of purificatory rites, was able to work as a medium for a kami; the term evolved to being synonymous with shinshoku, that is, a man who works at a shrine and holds religious ceremonies there. In ancient times, because of the overlap of political and religious power within a clan, it was the head of the clan who led the clansmen during religious functions, or else it could be another official; the role evolved into a separate and more specialized form. The term appears in both the Nihon Shoki. In them Empress Jingū and Emperor Sujin became kannushi. Within the same shrine, for example at Ise Jingū or Ōmiwa Shrine, there can be different types of kannushi at the same time called for example Ō-kannushi, Sō-kannushi, or Gon-kannushi.
Kannushi can marry and their children inherit their position. Although this hereditary status is no longer granted, it continues in practice; the clothes they wear, for example the jōe, the eboshi and the kariginu, do not have any special religious significance, but are official garments used in the past by the Imperial court. This detail reveals the figure of the Emperor. Other implements used by kannushi include a baton called shaku and a wand decorated with white paper streamers called ōnusa. Kannushi are assisted in their religious or clerical work by women called miko. To become a kannushi, a novice must study at a university approved by the Association of Shinto Shrines Tokyo's Kokugakuin University or Ise's Kogakkan University, or pass an exam that will certify his qualification. Women can become kannushi and widows can succeed their husbands in their job. Miko, female equivalent Norito Kannushi, Encyclopedia of Shinto
Shinto architecture is the architecture of Japanese Shinto shrines. With a few exceptions, the general blueprint of a Shinto shrine is Buddhist in origin. Before Buddhism, shrines were just temporary. Buddhism brought to Japan the idea of permanent shrines and much of Shinto architecture's vocabulary; the presence of verandas, stone lanterns, elaborate gates are examples of this influence. The composition of a Shinto shrine is variable, none of its possible features are present; the honden or sanctuary, the part which houses the kami and, the centerpiece of a shrine, can be missing. However, since its grounds are sacred, they are surrounded by a fence made of stone or wood called tamagaki, while access is made possible by an approach called sandō; the entrances themselves are straddled by gates called torii, which are therefore the simplest way to identify a Shinto shrine. A shrine may include within its grounds each destined to a different purpose. Among them are the honden or sanctuary, where the kami are enshrined, the heiden, or hall of offerings, where offers and prayers are presented, the haiden or hall of worship, where there may be seats for worshipers.
The honden is the building that contains the shintai "the sacred body of the kami". Of these, only the haiden is open to the laity; the honden is located behind the haiden and is much smaller and unadorned. Other notable shrine features are the temizuya, the fountain where visitors cleanse their hands and mouth and the shamusho, the office that supervises the shrine. Shrines can be large, as for example Ise Shrine, or as small as a beehive, as in the case of the hokora, small shrines found on road sides. Before the forced separation of Shinto and Buddhism, it was not uncommon for a Buddhist temple to be built inside or next to a shrine or to the contrary for a shrine to include Buddhist subtemples. If a shrine was a Buddhist temple, it was called a jingu-ji. At the same time, temples in the entire country adopted tutelary kami (chinju and built temple shrines called chinjusha to house them. After the forcible separation of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines ordered by the new government in the Meiji period, the connection between the two religions was severed, but continued nonetheless in practice.
The practice of marking sacred areas began in Japan as early as the Yayoi period originating from primal Shinto tenets. Features in the landscape such as rocks, waterfalls and mountains, were places believed to be capable of attracting kami, subsequently were worshiped as yorishiro. Sacred places may have been marked with a surrounding fence and an entrance gate or torii. Temporary buildings similar to present day portable shrines were constructed to welcome the gods to the sacred place. Over time the temporary structures evolved into permanent structures that were dedicated to the gods. Ancient shrines were constructed according to the style of storehouses; the buildings had gabled roofs, raised floors, plank walls, were thatched with reed or covered with hinoki cypress bark. Such early shrines did not include a space for worship. Three important forms of ancient shrine architectural styles exist: taisha-zukuri, shinmei-zukuri and sumiyoshi-zukuri They are exemplified by Izumo Taisha, Nishina Shinmei Shrine and Sumiyoshi Taisha and date to before 552.
According to the tradition of Shikinen sengū-sai, the buildings or shrines were faithfully rebuilt at regular intervals adhering to the original design. In this manner, ancient styles have been replicated through the centuries to the present day; the following is a diagram illustrating the most important elements of a Shinto shrine. Torii – Shinto gate Stone stairs Sandō – the approach to the shrine Chōzuya or temizuya – fountain to cleanse one's hands and face Tōrō – decorative stone lanterns Kagura-den – building dedicated to Noh or the sacred kagura dance Shamusho – the shrine's administrative office Ema – wooden plaques bearing prayers or wishes Sessha/massha – small auxiliary shrines Komainu – the so-called "lion dogs", guardians of the shrine Haiden – oratory Tamagaki – fence surrounding the honden Honden – main hall, enshrining the kami. On the roof of the haiden and honden are visible chigi and katsuogi, both common shrine ornamentations; the torii is a gate which marks the entrance to a sacred area but not a shrine.
A shrine may have any number of torii made of wood, metal, concrete or any other material. They can be found in different places within a shrine's precincts to signify an increased level of holiness. Torii can be found at Buddhist temples, however they are an accepted symbol of Shinto, as such are used to mark shrines on maps; the origin of the torii is unclear, no existing theory has been accepted as valid. They may for example have originated in India as a derivative of the torana gates in the monastery of Sanchi, located in central India; the sandō is the road approaching either a Buddhist temple. Its point of origin is straddled in the first case by a Shinto torii, in the second by a Buddhist sanmon, gates which mark the beginning of the shrine's or temple territory. There can be stone lanterns and other decorations at any point along its course. There can be more than one sandō, in which case the main one is called omote-sandō, or front sandō, ura-sandō, or rear sandō, etc. B
In religion, a blessing is the infusion of something with holiness, spiritual redemption, or divine will. The modern English language term bless derives from the 1225 term blessen, which developed from the Old English blǣdsian; the term appears in other forms, such as blēdsian, blētsian from around 725 and blesian from around 1000, all meaning to make sacred or holy by a sacrificial custom in the Anglo-Saxon pagan period, originating in Germanic paganism. Due to this, the term is related to the term blōd. References to this indigenous practice, Blót, exist in related Icelandic sources; the modern meaning of the term may have been influenced in translations of the Bible into Old English during the process of Christianization to translate the Latin term benedīcere meaning to "speak well of", resulting in meanings such as to "praise" or "extol" or to speak of or to wish well.'To be blessed' means to be favored by God, the source of all blessing. Blessings, are directly associated with, are believed to come from, God.
Thus, to express a blessing is like bestowing a wish on someone that they experience the favor of God, to acknowledge God as the source of all blessing. A biblical damnation, in its most formal sense, is a negative blessing. In the Bible and negative blessings are related. One of the first incidences of blessing in the Bible is in Genesis, 12:1-2 where Abram is ordered by the God to leave his country and is told: "I will bless you, I will make your name great." The Priestly Blessing is set forth at Numbers 6:24-26: May Adonai bless you, guard you. In Rabbinic Judaism, a blessing is recited at a specified moment during a prayer, ceremony or other activity before and after partaking of food; the function of blessings is to acknowledge God as the source of all blessing. A berakhah of rabbinic origin starts with the words, "Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe..." Rabbinic Judaism teaches that food is a gift of the one great Provider and that to partake of food legitimately one should express gratitude to God by reciting the appropriate blessing of rabbinic origin prior, while torah mandates an informal blessing afterwards.
Jewish law does not reserve recitation of blessings to only a specific class of Jews. Blessings and curses of Christ appear in the New Testament, as recounted in the Beatitudes of Luke 6:20-22. Within Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Anglicanism and similar traditions, formal blessings of the church are performed by bishops and deacons. Particular formulas may be associated with papal blessings. In Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Lutheran churches blessings are bestowed by bishops and priests in a liturgical context, raising their right hand and making the sign of the cross with it over persons or objects to be blessed, they give blessings to begin divine services and at the dismissal at the end. In the Eastern Orthodox Church liturgical blessings are performed over people, objects, or are given at specific points during divine services. A priest or bishop blesses with his hand, but may use a blessing cross, candles, an icon, the Chalice or Gospel Book to bestow blessings, always making the Sign of the Cross therewith.
When blessing with the hand, a priest uses his right hand, holding his fingers so that they form the Greek letters IC XC, the monogram of Jesus Christ. A bishop does the same, except he uses both hands, or may hold the crozier in his left hand, using both to make the Sign of the Cross. A bishop may bless with special candlesticks known as the dikirion and trikirion; when blessing an object, the rubrics instruct Orthodox bishops and priests to make use of such substances as incense and holy water. Formal ecclesiastical permission to undertake an action is referred to as a "blessing"; the blessing may be bestowed by one's own spiritual father. When an Orthodox layperson bestows a blessing, he or she will hold the thumb and first two fingers of the right hand together, make the sign of the cross over the person or object they are blessing. In the Methodist tradition, the minister blesses the congregation during the concluding part of the service of worship, known as the benediction. With regard to house blessings, the Methodist The Book of Worship for Church and Home contains "An Office for the Blessing of a Dwelling".
In the Roman Catholic Church a priest or bishop blesses the faithful with the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance during Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. According to the guidelines given by the Vatican's Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments that govern the procedures for liturgical ceremonies, if a Roman Catholic layperson or any non-ordained religious leads a Sunday service, such as Eucharistic adoration, the Rosary, or celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours, he or she does not perform rites or sacraments reserved to the clergy and does not solemnly bless the people as a bishop, priest, or de
Cleyera japonica is a flowering evergreen tree native to warm areas of Japan, China, Myanmar and northern India. It can reach a height of 10 m; the leaves are 6–10 cm long, oval, leathery and dark green above, yellowish-green below, with deep furrows for the leaf stem. The bark is dark reddish smooth; the small, cream-white flowers open in early summer, are followed by berries which start red and turn black when ripe. Sakaki is one of the common trees in the second layer of the evergreen oak forests, it is considered sacred to Japanese Shintō faith, is one of the classical offerings at Shintō shrines. Sakaki wood is used for making utensils, building materials, fuel, it is planted in gardens and shrines. Sakaki is considered a sacred tree in the Shinto religion, along with other evergreens such as hinoki and kansugi. Shinto shrines are traditionally encircled with shinboku. In Shinto ritual offerings to the "gods; the Japanese word sakaki is written with the kanji character 榊, which combines 木 and 神 to form the meaning "sacred tree.
The lexicographer Michael Carr notes: In modern Japanese, sakaki is written 榊 with a doubly exceptional logograph. It is an ideograph and is a kokuji 国字'Japanese logograph.' Ideograms and kokuji are two of the rarest logographic types, each constituting a small percentage of a typical written Japanese sample. First, the idea of sakaki is expressed with a melding of ki 木 ` tree' and shin or kami 神 ` god. Second, the sakaki 榊 ideograph is a kokuji'national logograph' rather than a usual kanji 漢字'Chinese logograph' borrowing. Kokuji denote Japanese plants and animals not native to China, thus not written with Chinese logographs; the kanji 榊 first appears in the Konjaku Monogatarishū, but two 8th-century transcriptions of the word sakaki are 賢木, meaning "sage tree", 坂木, meaning "slope tree". Sakaki is the title of Chapter 10 in The Tale of Genji, it comes from this context. "May I at least come up to the veranda?" he asked, starting up the stairs. The evening moon burst forth and the figure she saw in its light was handsome beyond describing.
Not wishing to apologize for all the weeks of neglect, he pushed a branch of the sacred tree in under the blinds. "With heart unchanging as this evergreen, This sacred tree, I enter the sacred gate." She replied: "You err with sacred gate. No beckoning cedars stand before my house." And he: "Thinking to find you here with the holy maidens, I followed the scent of the leaf of the sacred tree." Though the scene did not encourage familiarity, he made bold to lean inside the blinds. The etymology of the pronunciation sakaki is uncertain. With linguistic consensus that the -ki suffix denotes 木, the two most probable etymologies are either sakae-ki, from sakae. Carr cites historical phonology to support the latter etymon; the Shogakukan Kokugo Dai Jiten Dictionary entry for this term notes that the pitch accent for sakayu – the origin of modern sakae – is different than what would be expected, suggesting that saka-ki may be the more derivation. Aston, William George, tr. 1896. Nihongi: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to A.
D. 697. Kegan Paul. 1972 Tuttle reprint. Carr, Michael. 1995. "Sacred Twig and Tree: Tamagushi and Sakaki in Japanese-English Dictionaries", The Review of Liberal Arts 小樽商科大学人文研究 89:1–36. Chamberlain, Basil H. tr. 1919. The Kojiki, Records of Ancient Matters. 1981 Tuttle reprint. Min and Bruce Bartholomew, 2015, Cleyera japonica, Missouri Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria. Seidensticker, Edward G. tr. 1976. The Tale of Genji. Knopf. Shogakukan, 1988, Kokugo Dai Jiten 国語大辞典, rev. ed. Shogakukan. Sakaki, Sacred Tree of Shinto, Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden newsletter 1999 Sakaki, Encyclopedia of Shinto Shrubs: Cleyera japonica, NC State University Urban Horticulture NOS CLEYERA PAGE, Plantnames.org
The kairō, bu, sōrō or horō is the Japanese version of a cloister, a covered corridor built around the most sacred area of a Buddhist temple, a zone which contained the Kondō and the pagoda. Nowadays it can be found at Shinto shrines and at shinden-zukuri aristocratic residences; the kairō and the rōmon were among the most important among the garan elements which appeared during the Heian period. The first surrounded the holiest part of the garan. Neither was characteristic of Shinto shrines, but in time they came to replace the traditional shrine surrounding fence called tamagaki; the earliest example of a kairō/rōmon complex can be found at Iwashimizu Hachiman-gū, a shrine now but a former shrine-temple. The rōmon is believed to have been built in 886, the kairō at the same time. Itsukushima Jinja is an example of the mature form of the complex. Two types of kairō exist, one 1-bay wide and another 2-bay wide, the bay being the space between two pillars; the first is by far the most common. The 1-bay wide type is supported by just two rows of pillars and is therefore called tanrō.
Typical windows called renjimado let light in. The 2-bay wide type is supported by three rows of pillars, is called fukurō and is divided in two identical corridors by a wall. Although it is known that several existed at major Buddhist temples, for example at Tōdai-ji, none is extant; some fukurō survive however at Shinto shrines
Tsurugaoka Hachimangū is the most important Shinto shrine in the city of Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. The shrine is at the geographical and cultural center of the city of Kamakura, which has grown around it and its 1.8 km approach. It is the venue of many of its most important festivals, hosts two museums. Tsurugaoka Hachimangū was for most of its history not only a Hachiman shrine, but a Tendai Buddhist temple, a fact which explains its general layout, typical of Japanese Buddhist architecture. At the left of its great stone stairway stood a 1000-year-old ginkgo tree, uprooted by a storm in the early hours of March 10, 2010; the shrine is an Important Cultural Property. This shrine was built in 1063 as a branch of Iwashimizu Shrine in Zaimokuza where tiny Moto Hachiman now stands and dedicated to the Emperor Ōjin, his mother Empress Jingu and his wife Hime-gami. Minamoto no Yoritomo, the founder of the Kamakura shogunate, moved it to its present location in 1191 and invited Hachiman to reside in the new location to protect his government.
One of the historical events the shrine is tied to is the assassination of Sanetomo, last of Minamoto no Yoritomo's sons. Under heavy snow on the evening of February 12, 1219, shōgun Minamoto no Sanetomo was coming down from Tsurugaoka Hachimangū's Senior Shrine after assisting to a ceremony celebrating his nomination to Udaijin, his nephew Kugyō, son of second shōgun Minamoto no Yoriie, came out from next to the stone stairway of the shrine suddenly attacked and assassinated him in the hope to become shōgun himself. The killer is described as hiding behind the giant ginkgo, but no contemporary text mentions the tree, this detail is an Edo-period invention first appeared in Tokugawa Mitsukuni's Shinpen Kamakurashi. For his act Kugyō was himself beheaded a few hours thus bringing the Seiwa Genji line of the Minamoto clan and their rule in Kamakura to a sudden end. Tsurugaoka Hachimangū is now just a Shinto shrine but, for the 700 years from its foundation until the Shinto and Buddhism Separation Order of 1868, its name was Tsurugaoka Hachimangū-ji and it was a Buddhist temple, one of the oldest in Kamakura.
The mixing of Buddhism and kami worship in shrine-temple complexes like Tsurugaoka called jingū-ji had been normal for centuries until the Meiji government decided, for political reasons, that this was to change. The separation policy was the direct cause of serious damage to important cultural assets; because mixing the two religions was now forbidden and temples had to give away some of their treasures, thus damaging the integrity of their cultural heritage and decreasing the historical and economic value of their properties. Tsurugaoka Hachiman's giant Niō ], being objects of Buddhist worship and therefore illegal where they were, had to be sold to Jufuku-ji, where they still are; the shrine had to destroy Buddhism-related buildings, for example its shichidō garan, its tahōtō tower, its midō. In important ways, Tsurugaoka Hachimangū was impoverished in 1868 as a consequence of this Meiji era policy; the imposed, inflexible reform orthodoxy of this early Meiji period was unquestionably intended to affect Buddhism and Shinto.
However, the structures and artwork of this ancient shrine-temple were not yet construed as important elements of Japan's cultural patrimony. What remains to be visited today is only a partial version of the original shrine-temple. From 1871 through 1946, Tsurugaoka was designated one of the Kokuhei Chūsha, meaning that it stood in the mid-range of ranked, nationally significant shrines. Both the shrine and the city were built with Feng Shui in mind; the present location was chosen as the most propitious after consulting a diviner because it had a mountain to the north, a river to the east, a great road to the west and was open to the south. Each direction was protected by a god: Genbu guarded the north, Seiryū the east, Byakko the west and Suzaku the south; the willows near the Genpei Ponds and the catalpas next to the Museum of Modern Art represent Seiryū and Byakko. In spite of all the changes the shrine has gone through over the years, in this respect Yoritomo's design is still intact; as one enters, after the first torii there are three small bridges, two flat ones on the sides and an arched one at the center.
In the days of the shogunate there used to be only two, a normal one and another arched, made in wood and painted red. The shōgun would proceed alone on foot to the shrine; the arched bridge was called Akabashi, was reserved to him: common people had to use the flat one. The bridges span over a canal that joins together two ponds popularly called Genpei-ike, or "Genpei ponds"; the term comes from the names of the two families, the Minamoto and the Taira, that fought each other in Yoritomo's day. The stele just after and to the left of the first torii explains the origin of the name: The Genpei Ponds The Azuma Kagami says that "In April 1182 Minamoto no Yoritomo told monk Senkō