Vol. 46

Vol. 46

Although I have been experiencing extraordinarily various experiences in my life so far, I was truly amazed by the following experience.

There is a conference called “Parliament of the World’s Religions” founded in 1970. Representatives from various religions from all over the world join the international non-governmental organization (NGO), and to aim at cooperation for peace by doing dialogue and symposium. This “Parliament of the World Religious Conference” are held once in four years and this year was in Toronto. A sudden call came from my best friend who was preparing for this conference, who said “there will be various religions, over 200 of world religions but no one will come from Shinto of Japan. I have not heard back from the International Shinto Foundation for the UN. Even I have been calling them all the time. I replied “because you still have time, I will look for a shrine and priest foe you who can speak English and manage to come from Japan”, but she said she was extremely in a hurry because the deadline was next week.

I wonder if you are Japanese, you have memories of going out to the festivals held at the shrine of your area. At that time, have you noticed often that the shrine and the temple are standing next to each other? Because the shrine is a Shinto and the temple is a base of Buddhism, it is originally completely two separate religions. It is strange to see that these exist next to each other and coexist. Buddhism and Shinto culture that were supposed to be totally different were mixed and the state of being fused.

This is actually very strange in the world, but it is very common in Japan.

I always thought, “There are no other countries where two distinctly different religions coexist peacefully for centuries”. “This might be the way to lead to the world peace” I said. I was really surprised, but my father and mother raised me with the teachings of Shinto, and for the elementary school I was put into a school of the Shinto system of the dormitory style. This school was closed crushed at the end of the war by USA.

I always accept everything from the universe as a message from the universe, and my way of living is always to answer “YES” at any opportunity, so I decided to accept this mission anyway.

Usually they talk to the leaders of each religion, because of this, I was so surprised but at that time it was just before I plan to visit Japan for a week, so I immediately called Mr. Guuji the head abbot of Tenkawa Shrine in Nara. I also thought it was better to do in a discussion form with Shigeru Nakagaki of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism.

Tennkawa Shrine is in Yoshino mountain in Nara Prefecture, deep in the mountain, the official name is “Tenkawa Dai-Benzaiten-sha”. It is known as the shrine of Art, the place where Sarasvati of India is enshrined, and also known as the god of water. I was ordained in 2016 as Shinto Priestess there.

It has been said that Tenkawa shrine is known as “a place where, unless you are called by the God you cannot visit easily,” and in the past, it took about 3-4 days from Kyoto. Now we have four tunnels, so we can get there from Kintetsu Yoshino line Shimoichi station (after about two hours from Kyoto), for about 40 minutes by car. I was originally brought there by a person for the first time in Heisei 2 (1990). When arriving I felt that “here is the place where real Shinto is so alive centuries and centuries”, I was overwhelmed. At the time of arrival, Kakisaka, head Guuji (abbot) was absent, and his son Masataka who will be the next shrine’s head Guuji was there at that time and did the rutual of Shinto for mw. He said, “I am indebted to your brother.” When I asked why,he explained that It was my brother and film artist Hitoshi Tatsumura visited Tenkawa Shrine many times for “the Gaia Symphony” to create a series of movies and photographed all the festivals. What does it mean to me who did not know anything about this connection? If you are interested please see the Gaia Symphony, series of remarkable 8 films of Soul Searching in Nature.

Shinto culture and way of thinking is soaked deeply into the spirit of the Japanese people, and even Japanese who believe in any other religion, Shintoism can be said in ourselves a hometown in a sense. Since then, I feel that Tenkawa Shrine is my home and I will drop in always every time I go to Japan.


The Editors
The Stewardship Report on Connecting Goodness is the communications platform of The James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation (www.lucefoundation.org). There are now more than 100 contributors around the world to this publication.

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