Hare of Inaba
The Hare of Inaba can refer to two distinct Japanese myths, both from the ancient province of Inaba, now the eastern part of Tottori Prefecture. The Hare of Inaba legend belongs to the Izumo denrai, or tradition of myths originating from the Izumo region; the Hare of Inaba forms an essential part of the legend of the Shinto god Ōnamuchi-no-kami, the name for Ōkuninushi within this legend. The hare referred to in the legend is the Lepus brachyurus, or Japanese hare the subspecies found on the Oki Islands known as the Lepus brachyurus okiensis; the Japanese hare ranges between 43 centimetres and 54 centimetres in length, is much smaller than the common European hare. Japanese hares are brown, but may turn white during winter in areas with a varying climate, such as that of the Inaba region. One version of the tale of the Hare of Inaba is found in the Kojiki, the oldest extant chronicle in Japan, which dates from early in the 8th century; the legend appears in the first of the three sections of the Kojiki, the Kamitsumaki known as the Jindai no Maki, or "Volume of the Age of the Gods".
This section of the Kojiki outlines the myths concerning the foundation of Japan prior to the birth of the Emperor Jimmu, the first Emperor of Japan. In the Kojiki version of the myth, a hare tricks some wanizame into being used as a land bridge in order to travel from the Island of Oki to Cape Keta. Cape Keta is now identified with the Hakuto Coast in the present-day city of Tottori; the hare challenges the sharks to see whose clan is larger -- that of the hares. The hare had the sharks lie in a row across the sea; the hare hopped across them, counting them as he went. Nearing the end, the hare exclaims; the last shark attacks the hare, ripping his fur from him.Ōnamuchi-no-kami and his eighty brothers were traveling through the Inaba region to woo Princess Yakami of Inaba. While the brothers were on their way to visit the princess, the flayed hare stopped them and asked them for help. Rather than helping the hare, they advised it to wash in the sea and dry itself in the wind, which caused it great pain.
In contrast Ōnamuchi, unlike his quarreling elder brothers, told the hare to bathe in fresh water from the mouth of a river, roll in the pollen of cattails. The body of the hare was restored to its original state, after its recovery, revealed its true form as a god. In gratitude, the hare told Ōnamuchi, the lowest born in the family, that he would marry Princess Yakami; the Hare of Inaba legend emphasizes the benevolence of Ōnamuchi, enshrined at the Izumo-taisha. Japanese scholars have traditionally interpreted the struggle between the kind Ōnamuchi and his wrathful eighty brothers as a symbolic representation of civilization and barbarism in the emergent Japanese state; the version of the Hare of Inaba legend told in the Kojiki has been compared to similar myths from Java in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India. Long ago, when Japanese goddess Amaterasu and her entourage traveled around at the boundary of Yakami in Inaba, they were looking for a place for their temporary palace a white hare appeared.
The white hare bit Amaterasu's clothes and took her to an appropriate place for a temporary palace along Nakayama mountain and Reiseki mountain. About two hours' walk, accompanied by the white hare, Amaterasu reached a mountain top plain, now called Ise ga naru; the white hare disappeared at Ise ga naru. The place of this legend is in Yazu town and Tottori city, in Tottori Prefecture, where the shrine Hakuto Jinja reveres the white hare. English Wikisource has original text related to this article: The White Hare And The Crocodiles Full text of Basil Hall Chamberlain's translation of "The White Hare of Inaba"
Emperor Jimmu was the first Emperor of Japan, according to legend. His accession is traditionally dated as 660 BC. According to Japanese mythology, he is a descendant of the sun goddess Amaterasu, through her grandson Ninigi, as well as a descendant of the storm god Susanoo, he launched a military expedition from Hyuga near the Seto Inland Sea, captured Yamato, established this as his center of power. In modern Japan, Jimmu's accession is marked as National Foundation Day on February 11. Jimmu is recorded as Japan's first ruler in Nihon Shoki and Kojiki. Nihon Shoki gives the dates of his reign as 660–585 BC. In the reign of Emperor Kanmu, the eighth-century scholar Ōmi no Mifune designated rulers before Ōjin as tennō, a Japanese pendant to the Chinese imperial title Tiān-dì, gave several of them including Jimmu their canonical names. Prior to this time, these rulers had been known as Sumera no mikoto/Ōkimi; this practice had begun under Empress Suiko, took root after the Taika Reforms with the ascendancy of the Nakatomi clan.
According to the legendary account in the Kojiki, Emperor Jimmu was born on February 13, 711 BC, died, again according to legend, on April 9, 585 BC. Both the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki give Jimmu's name as Kamu-yamato Iware-biko no Mikoto. Iware indicates a toponym; the Imperial House of Japan traditionally based its claim to the throne on its putative descent from the sun-goddess Amaterasu via Jimmu's great-grandfather Ninigi. Consort: Ahiratsu-hime, Honosusori's daughter First son: Prince Tagishimimi Prince Kisumimi Empress: Himetataraisuzu-hime, Kotoshironushi's daughter Prince Hikoyai Second son: Prince Kamuyaimimi Third son: Prince Kamununakawamimi Emperor Suizei In Japanese mythology, the Age of the Gods is the period before Jimmu's accession; the story of Jimmu seems to rework legends associated with the Ōtomo clan, its function was to establish that clan's links to the ruling family, just as those of Suijin arguably reflect Mononobe tales and the legends in Ōjin's chronicles seem to derive from Soga clan traditions.
Jimmu figures as a direct descendant of the sun goddess, Amaterasu via the side of his father, Ugayafukiaezu. Amaterasu had a son called Ame no Oshihomimi no Mikoto and through him a grandson named Ninigi-no-Mikoto, she sent her grandson to the Japanese islands where he married Konohana-Sakuya-hime. Among their three sons was Hikohohodemi no Mikoto called Yamasachi-hiko, who married Toyotama-hime, she was the daughter of the Japanese sea god. They had a single son called Hikonagisa Takeugaya Fukiaezu no Mikoto; the boy was abandoned by his parents at birth and raised by Tamayori-hime, his mother's younger sister. They married and had four sons; the last of these, Kamu-yamato Iware-biko no mikoto, became Emperor Jimmu. According to the chronicles Kojiki and Nihon Shoki, Jimmu's brothers were born in Takachiho, the southern part of Kyūshū in modern-day Miyazaki Prefecture, they moved eastward to find a location more appropriate for administering the entire country. Jimmu's older brother, Itsuse no Mikoto led the migration, led the clan eastward through the Seto Inland Sea with the assistance of local chieftain Sao Netsuhiko.
As they reached Naniwa, they encountered another local chieftain and Itsuse was killed in the ensuing battle. Jimmu realized that they had been defeated because they battled eastward against the sun, so he decided to land on the east side of Kii Peninsula and to battle westward, they reached Kumano, with the guidance of a three-legged crow, they moved to Yamato. There, they were victorious. In Yamato, Nigihayahi no Mikoto, who claim descent from the Takamagahara gods, was protected by Nagasunehiko. However, when Nigihayahi met Jimmu, he accepted Jimmu's legitimacy. At this point, Jimmu is said to have ascended to the throne of Japan. Upon scaling a Nara mountain to survey the Seto Inland Sea he now controlled, Jimmu remarked that it was shaped like the "heart" rings made by mating dragonflies, archaically akitsu 秋津. A mosquito tried to steal Jimmu's royal blood but since Jimmu was a god incarnate Emperor, akitsumikami, a dragonfly killed the mosquito. Japan thus received its classical name akitsushima.
According to the Kojiki, Jimmu died. The Emperor's posthumous name means "divine might" or "god-warrior", it is thought that Jimmu's name and character evolved into their present shape just before the time in which legends about the origins of the Yamato dynasty were chronicled in the Kojiki. There are accounts written earlier than either Kojiki and Nihon Shoki that present an alternative version of the story. According to these accounts, Jimmu's dynasty was supplanted by that of Ōjin, whose dynasty was supplanted by that of Keitai; the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki combined these three mythical dynasties into one long and continuous genealogy. The traditional site of Jimmu's grave is near Unebiyama in Kashihara; the Japanese historian Ino Okifu identifies Jimmu with the Han Chinese explorer and sage Xu Fu, who searched for the Philosopher's stone for emperor Qin Shihuangdi. Xu Fu reached Japan with over women and never returned. After his arrival the Yayoi period started. Veneration of Jimmu was a central component of the imperial cult that formed following the Meiji Restor
Ama-no-Iwato is a cave in Japanese mythology. According to the Kojiki, the bad behavior of Susano'o, the Japanese god of storms, drove his sister Amaterasu into the Ame-no-Iwato cave; the land was thus deprived of light. In order to get Amaterasu out of the cave the other gods called Yao-yorozu-no-kami threw a party outside with wisdom of Omoikane; the goddess Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto performed a lewd dance. Amaterasu peeked out of the cave entrance, she became fascinated by her own reflection in the Yata no Kagami mirror which the other gods had crafted and hung before the cave for that purpose, stood transfixed. Ame-no-tajikarao forced the cave open and the world was bathed in light once again; as Amaterasu stepped out of the cave a holy seal was applied to it so that she could never go back into hiding. The main shrine called Higashihongu and a hall of worship called Nishihongu face each other across the Iwato River gorge; the Amano Iwato cave is an object of worship in festivals and is a rock cave on the other side of the Iwato River from Nishihongu.
You can see the cave from Nishihongu after participating in a Shinto ritual for purification. Photography of any kind is prohibited; the grounds contain old trees. There are rare ancient ginkgo and michelia compressa trees, which have been considered sacred in Japan since ancient times
Amaterasu, Amaterasu-ōmikami, or Ōhirume-no-muchi-no-kami is a deity of the Japanese myth cycle and a major deity of the Shinto religion. She is seen as the goddess of the universe; the name Amaterasu is derived from Amateru and means "shining in heaven". The meaning of her whole name, Amaterasu-ōmikami, is "the great august kami who shines in the heaven". According to the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki in Japanese mythology, the Emperors of Japan are considered to be direct descendants of Amaterasu. Records of the worship of Amaterasu are found from the c. 712 CE Kojiki and c. 720 CE Nihon Shoki, the oldest records of Japanese history. In Japanese mythology, the goddess of the sun, is the sister of Susanoo, the god of storms and the sea, of Tsukuyomi, the god of the moon, it was written that Amaterasu had painted the landscape with her siblings while she created ancient Japan. Amaterasu was said to have been created by the divine couple Izanagi and Izanami, who were themselves created by, or grew from, the originator of the Universe, Amenominakanushi.
All three deities were born from Izanagi when he was purifying himself upon entering Yomi, the underworld, after breaking the promise not to see dead Izanami and he was chased by her and Yakusan-no-ikaduchigami, surrounding rotten Izanami. Amaterasu was born when Izanagi washed out his left eye, Tsukuyomi was born from the washing of the right eye, Susanoo from the washing of the nose. Amaterasu became the ruler of the sun and the heavens along with her brother, Tsukuyomi as the ruler of the night, Susanoo as the ruler of the seas. Amaterasu shared the sky with Tsukuyomi, her husband and brother until, out of disgust, he killed the goddess of food, Uke Mochi, when she pulled "food from her rectum and mouth"; this killing upset Amaterasu causing her to split away from him. The texts tell of a long-standing rivalry between Amaterasu and her other brother, Susanoo. Susanoo is said to have insulted claiming she had no power over the higher realm; when Izanagi ordered him to leave Heaven, he went to bid his sister goodbye.
Amaterasu was suspicious, but when Susanoo proposed a challenge to prove his sincerity, she accepted. Each of them took an object belonging from it, birthed deities. Amaterasu birthed three women from Susanoo's sword. Claiming the gods were hers because they were born of her necklace, the goddesses were his, she decided that she had won the challenge, as his item produced women. After Susanoo's defeat he went on a rampage destroying much of the heavenly and earthly realm, Amaterasu's rice fields, hurled a flayed pony at her loom, killing one of her attendants in a fit of rage. Amaterasu, in fury and grief, hid inside the Ama-no-Iwato, plunging the earth into darkness and chaos, she was persuaded to leave the cave. Omoikane threw a party outside of the Ama-no-Iwato to lure Amaterasu out but it was not until the Goddess Ame-no-Uzume danced promiscuously outside of the cave that Amaterasu came out. Susanoo was punished by being banished from heaven. Both amended their conflict when Susanoo gave her the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi sword as a reconciliation gift.
According to legend, responsible from keeping balance and harmony within the earthly realm, bequeathed to her descendant Ninigi: the mirror, Yata no Kagami. Collectively, the sacred mirror and sword became the three Imperial Regalia of Japan; the Ise Shrine located in Ise, Mie Prefecture, houses the inner shrine, dedicated to Amaterasu. Her sacred mirror, Yata no Kagami, is said to be kept at this shrine as one of the imperial regalia objects. A ceremony known as Shikinen Sengu is held every twenty years at this shrine to honor the many deities enshrined, formed by 125 shrines altogether. At that time, new shrine buildings are built at a location adjacent to the site first. After the transfer of the object of worship, new clothing and treasure and offering food to the goddess the old buildings are taken apart; the building materials taken apart are given to buildings to renovate. This practice is a part of the Shinto faith and has been practiced since the year 690, but is not only for Amaterasu but for many other deities enshrined in Ise Shrine.
The Amanoiwato Shrine in Takachiho, Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan is dedicated to Amaterasu and sits above the gorge containing Ama-no-Iwato. The worship of Amaterasu to the exclusion of other kami has been described as "the cult of the sun"; this phrase may refer to the early pre-archipelagoan worship of the sun. Himiko Shinto in popular culture Sól Surya Vairocana Zalmoxis Ōkami Amaterasu, fictional character from video game Ōkami
Amitābha known as Amida or Amitāyus, is a celestial buddha according to the scriptures of Mahayana Buddhism. Amitābha is the principal buddha in a branch of East Asian Buddhism. In Vajrayana Buddhism, Amitābha is known for his longevity attribute, magnetising red fire element, the aggregate of discernment, pure perception and the deep awareness of emptiness of phenomena. According to these scriptures, Amitābha possesses infinite merit resulting from good deeds over countless past lives as a bodhisattva named Dharmakāra. Amitābha means "Infinite Light", Amitāyus means "Infinite Life" so Amitābha is called "The Buddha of Immeasurable Light and Life". According to the Larger Sūtra of Immeasurable Life, Amitābha was, in ancient times and in another system of worlds, a monk named Dharmakāra. In some versions of the sūtra, Dharmakāra is described as a former king who, having come into contact with Buddhist teachings through the buddha Lokeśvararāja, renounced his throne, he resolved to become a buddha and so to come into possession of a buddhakṣetra possessed of many perfections.
These resolutions were expressed in his forty-eight vows, which set out the type of buddha-field Dharmakāra aspired to create, the conditions under which beings might be born into that world, what kind of beings they would be when reborn there. In the versions of the sutra known in China, Vietnam and Japan, Dharmakāra's eighteenth vow was that any being in any universe desiring to be reborn into Amitābha's pure land and calling upon his name as few as ten times will be guaranteed rebirth there, his nineteenth vow promises that he, together with his bodhisattvas and other blessed Buddhists, will appear before those who, at the moment of death, call upon him. This openness and acceptance of all kinds of people has made belief in pure lands one of the major influences in Mahāyāna Buddhism. Pure Land Buddhism seems to have first become popular in Gandhara, from where it spread to Central Asia and China; the sutra goes on to explain that Amitābha, after accumulating great merit over countless lives achieved buddhahood and is still residing in his land of Sukhāvatī, whose many virtues and joys are described.
The basic doctrines concerning Amitābha and his vows are found in three canonical Mahāyāna texts: Infinite Life Sutra Amitayurdhyana Sutra Amitābha SutraThrough his efforts, Amitābha created a pure land called Sukhāvatī. Sukhāvatī is situated beyond the bounds of our own world. By the power of his vows, Amitābha has made it possible for all who call upon him to be reborn into this land, there to undergo instruction by him in the dharma and become bodhisattvas and buddhas in their turn. From there, these same bodhisattvas and buddhas return to our world to help yet more people. Amitābha is the buddha of comprehensive love, he works for the enlightenment of all beings. His most important enlightenment technique is the visualization of the surrounding world as a paradise; those who see his world as a paradise awaken his enlightenment energy. The world can be seen as a paradise by a corresponding positive thought or by sending light to all beings. After the Amitābha doctrine, one can come to paradise, if they visualize at their death Amitābha in the heaven over their head, think his name as a mantra and leave the body as a soul through the crown chakra.
Amitābha is known in Tibet and other regions where Tibetan Buddhism is practiced. In the Highest Yogatantra of Tibetan Buddhism, Amitābha is considered one of the Five Dhyāni Buddhas, associated with the western direction and the skandha of saṃjñā, the aggregate of distinguishing and the deep awareness of individualities, his consort is Pāṇḍaravāsinī. His two main disciples are the bodhisattvas Vajrapani and Avalokiteśvara, the former to his left and the latter to his right. In Tibetan Buddhism, there exist a number of famous prayers for taking rebirth in Sukhāvatī. One of these was written by Je Tsongkhapa on the request of Manjushri; the Panchen Lamas and Shamarpas are considered to be emanations of Amitābha. He is invoked in Tibet either as Amitābha – in the phowa practices or as Amitāyus – in practices relating to longevity and preventing an untimely death. In Shingon Buddhism, Amitābha is seen as one of the thirteen Buddhas to whom practitioners can pay homage. Shingon, like Tibetan Buddhism uses special devotional mantras for Amitābha, though the mantras used differ.
Amitābha is one of the Buddhas featured in the Womb Realm Mandala used in Shingon practices, sits to the west, where the Pure Land of Amitābha is said to dwell. Amitābha is the center of a number of mantras in Vajrayana practices; the Sanskrit form of the mantra of Amitābha is ॐ अमिताभ ह्रीः, pronounced in its Tibetan version as Om ami dewa hri. His mantra in Shingon Buddhism is On amirita teizei kara un （Japanese: オン・アミリタ・テイゼイ・カラ・ウン）, which represents the underlying Indic for
In Japanese folklore, Ryūgū-jō is the undersea palace of Ryūjin, the dragon kami of the sea. Depending on the version of the legend, it is built from solid crystal; the inhabitants of the palace were Ryūjin's servants, who were denizens of the sea. In some legends, on each of the four sides of the palace it is a different season, one day in the palace is equal to a century outside its boundaries; the most famous legend about the palace concerns Urashima Tarō's visit to Ryūgū-jō for three days. Katase-Enoshima Station in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture, is designed to evoke the feeling of Ryūgū-jō. In the Ryukyuan religion, Ryūgū-jō is the source of fire for all village hearths; the Sea King and Vasilisa the Wise Eglė the Queen of Serpents
A creation myth is a symbolic narrative of how the world began and how people first came to inhabit it. While in popular usage the term myth refers to false or fanciful stories, members of cultures ascribe varying degrees of truth to their creation myths. In the society in which it is told, a creation myth is regarded as conveying profound truths, metaphorically and sometimes in a historical or literal sense, they are although not always, considered cosmogonical myths—that is, they describe the ordering of the cosmos from a state of chaos or amorphousness. Creation myths share a number of features, they are considered sacred accounts and can be found in nearly all known religious traditions. They are all stories with a plot and characters who are either deities, human-like figures, or animals, who speak and transform easily, they are set in a dim and nonspecific past that historian of religion Mircea Eliade termed in illo tempore. Creation myths address questions meaningful to the society that shares them, revealing their central worldview and the framework for the self-identity of the culture and individual in a universal context.
Creation myths develop in oral traditions and therefore have multiple versions. Creation myth definitions from modern references: A "symbolic narrative of the beginning of the world as understood in a particular tradition and community. Creation myths are of central importance for the valuation of the world, for the orientation of humans in the universe, for the basic patterns of life and culture." "Creation myths tell us. All cultures have creation myths; as cultures, we identify ourselves through the collective dreams we call creation myths, or cosmogonies. … Creation myths explain in metaphorical terms our sense of who we are in the context of the world, in so doing they reveal our real priorities, as well as our real prejudices. Our images of creation say a great deal about who we are." A "philosophical and theological elaboration of the primal myth of creation within a religious community. The term myth here refers to the imaginative expression in narrative form of what is experienced or apprehended as basic reality … The term creation refers to the beginning of things, whether by the will and act of a transcendent being, by emanation from some ultimate source, or in any other way."Religion professor Mircea Eliade defined the word myth in terms of creation: Myth narrates a sacred history.
In other words, myth tells how, through the deeds of Supernatural Beings, a reality came into existence, be it the whole of reality, the Cosmos, or only a fragment of reality – an island, a species of plant, a particular kind of human behavior, an institution. All creation myths are in one sense etiological because they attempt to explain how the world was formed and where humanity came from. Myths attempt to sometimes teach a lesson. Ethnologists and anthropologists who study these myths say that in the modern context theologians try to discern humanity's meaning from revealed truths and scientists investigate cosmology with the tools of empiricism and rationality, but creation myths define human reality in different terms. In the past historians of religion and other students of myth thought of them as forms of primitive or early-stage science or religion and analyzed them in a literal or logical sense. Today, they are seen as symbolic narratives which must be understood in terms of their own cultural context.
Charles Long writes, "The beings referred to in the myth – gods, plants – are forms of power grasped existentially. The myths should not be understood as attempts to work out a rational explanation of deity."While creation myths are not literal explications they do serve to define an orientation of humanity in the world in terms of a birth story. They are the basis of a worldview that reaffirms and guides how people relate to the natural world, to any assumed spiritual world, to each other; the creation myth acts as a cornerstone for distinguishing primary reality from relative reality, the origin and nature of being from non-being. In this sense they serve as a philosophy of life but one expressed and conveyed through symbol rather than systematic reason, and in this sense they go beyond etiological myths which mean to explain specific features in religious rites, natural phenomena or cultural life. Creation myths help to orient human beings in the world, giving them a sense of their place in the world and the regard that they must have for humans and nature.
Historian David Christian has summarised issues common to multiple creation myths: Each beginning seems to presuppose an earlier beginning.... Instead of meeting a single starting point, we encounter an infinity of them, each of which poses the same problem.... There are no satisfactory solutions to this dilemma. What we have to find is not a solution but some way of dealing with the mystery.... And we have to do so using words; the words we reach from God to gravity, are inadequate to the task. So we have to use language symbolically. Mythologists have applied various schemes to classify creation myths found throughout human cultures. Eliade and his colleague Charles Long developed a classification based on some common motifs that reappear in stories the world over; the classification identifies five basic types: Creati