Friday, February 15, 2013

Amaterasu Omikami: Japanese Sun Goddess (660 BC)


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"Amaterasu Ohmikami.... the Sun Goddess who is still the most important deity in Japan..... major deity of the Shinto religion......According to legend, Amaterasu bequeathed to her descendant Ninigi the Yata no Kagami mirror, Yasakani no Magatama jewel or orb, and the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi sword. This sacred mirror, jewel, and sword collectively became the three Imperial Regalia of Japan......The worship of Amaterasu to the exclusion of other kami has been described as "the cult of the sun". This phrase can also refer to the early pre-archipelagoan worship of the sun itself...... It is believed that Amaterasu sent her grandson Jimmu to Earth 3,000 years ago to be the first ruler of Japan, beginning the divine family of Japanese emperors"......

"Emperor Jimmu was the first emperor of Japan, according to legend. His accession is traditionally dated as 660 BC. He is a descendant of the sun goddess Amaterasu through her grandson Ninigi, as well as a descendant of the storm god Susanoo....In Japanese mythology, the Age of the Gods is the period before Jimmu's accession."

"The name Amaterasu derived from Amateru meaning "shining in heaven." The meaning of her whole name, Amaterasu-ōmikami, is "the great august kami (God) who shines in the heaven"....Worshipping the Sun Goddess: The Ise Shrine located in Ise City, Honshū, Japan houses the inner shrine, Naiku dedicated to Amaterasu. Her sacred mirror, Yata no Kagami is said to be kept at this shrine as one of the Imperial Regalia of Japan. At this shrine, a ceremony known as Shikinen Sengu is held every 20 years to honor Amaterasu..... The worship of Amaterasu to the exclusion of other kami has been described as "the cult of the sun". This phrase can also refer to the early pre-archipelagoan worship of the sun itself..... Amaterasu, hides in the cave called Iwayado. As the sun goddess disappears into the cave, darkness covers the world.....All of the gods and goddesses strive to coax Amaterasu out of the cave, but she ignores them all. Finally, the kami of merriment, Ame-no-Uzume, hatches a plan. She places a large bronze mirror on a tree, facing Amaterasu's cave. Then, Uzume clothes herself in flowers and leaves, overturns a washtub and begins to dance upon it, drumming the tub with her feet. Finally, Uzume sheds the leaves and flowers and dances naked. All of the male gods roar with laughter, and Amaterasu becomes curious. When she peeks outside, a ray of light called "dawn" escapes and Amaterasu is dazzled by the beautiful goddess that she sees, this being her own reflection in the mirror."

"Ise Grand Shrine is a Shinto shrine dedicated to the goddess Amaterasu-ōmikami....the home of the Sacred Mirror, Yata no Kagami, the shrine is one of Shinto's holiest and most important sites. ....In the Japanese mythology this mirror was hung from a tree to lure out Amaterasu from a cave...Since 690, the presentation of these items to the Emperor by the priests at the shrine has been a central element of the imperial enthronement ceremony. This ceremony is not public, and these items are by tradition only seen by the emperor and certain priests. Because of this, no known photographs or drawings exist. Two of the three treasures (the jewel and sword, as well as the emperor's seal and the state seal) were last seen during the accession and enthronement of Emperor Akihito in 1989 and 1993, but were shrouded in packages.....Emperor the visit he took to the Grand Shrines of Ise on Dec. 12, 1941, just after he had sanctioned the bombing of Pearl Harbor that ignited Japan’s suicidal war with America. At that time the Emperor prayed for peace (or victory).

"Tsubaki priests conducted a ceremony enshrining Amaterasu Ohmikami at the Rocky Mountain Dharma Center in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado. At the least, 550 attended the ritual, conducted July 18 by three priests of Tsubaki Grand Shrine of Japan -- Yukiyasu Jun Yamamoto, who will be the 97th chief priest of the shrine, Hitoshi Iwasaki, iormer head of Tsubaki U.S. shrine, and Tetsuji Ochiai, currently the priest of the U.S. shrine in Stockton, California.

"In the actual enshrinement, Rev. Yukiyasu Jun Yamamoto carried into the shrine four white-wrapped boxes symbolizing the spirit of four Kami -- Amaterasu Omikami, the sun goddess, Toyoukeno Ohkami, the god of food, Sarutahiko Ohkami, the god of guidance, Amenouzume no Mikoto, the god of harmony. After the ceremony guests saw the traditional Japanese arts of tea ceremony, Ikebana (flower arrangement), calligraphy, and bugaku (traditional Japanese court dance.).
The ceremony was requested by Rocky Mountain Dharma Center. This center, founded in 1971 by the late Chogyam Trangpa Rinpoche, is a contemplative center located in the Northern Colorado Rockies. Situated on 450 secluded acres of highland meadows and pine and aspen forest, it provides an ideal setting for yearround programs devoted to the study and practice of meditation......Chogyam Trangpa is best known to Western readers as the author of several popular books on Buddhism teachings, including Cutting through Spiritual Materialism, The Myth of Freedom of Meditation in Action. His volume, Shambhala, is a major departure from these earlier works. Shambhala is the path of warriorship, or the path of bravery, that is open to any human being who seeks a genuine and....fearless existence. Chogyam Trangpa visited Ise Grand Shrine in Japan, and told his followers about Shinto, the indigenous religion of Japan. He said Shinto thought is similar to Shambhala and he decided to incorporate a Shinto shrine in the center."

The shrine stands on a gentle pine-forested slope. A path of light-colored crushed limestone winds up the hillside from the meadow under two Torii gates before dividing into a loop that circles in front of the shrine compound. The shrine itself is inside a fenced area terraced with coarse white crushed rock.

The Tsubaki priests trained some center staff members -four men and one women, to make the daily offerings. Each of them makes the offerings a week at a time. They offer the water and the salt in the morning, after the sun has risen and they remove the water and salt before the sun goes down. Once a month, they add two bowls of sake and a bowl of rice to the daily offerings.Tsubaki appreciates their dedication to proper observance."....

Marichi Painting by the 10th Karmapa, Choying Dorje

Amaterasu & Marishiten.......... "The Amatsukami are the heavenly divinities of ancient Japan......Amaterasu is the Queen of the Heavenly Plain, Goddess of the sun and mother of the imperial family of Japan. She was the most powerful of the Japanese deities.... was the Japanese sun goddess who was born from the left eye of the primeval being Izanagi. The ruler of the Plain of Heaven, she was the oldest daughter of Izanagi. She hid in a cave until Uzume lured her out, at which time a beam of light, the dawn, escaped.....Marishiten is not native to Japan and, to make matters worse, she personally converted to Buddhism shortly after being allowed to join the Amatsukami. For this reason, the other Gods of the pantheon feel that it is unbecoming to associate with Marishiten too extensively, and she is not allowed into Amaterasu’s court. Still, they find themselves calling upon Marishiten’s talents again and again. She is a mighty warrior, yet does not rely on direct assault when deception and misdirection might serve. She is an adept instructor of military strategy and combat arts, and above all teaches her pupils that life itself is yet another illusion, thus allowing them to release their fear of death.....her Scions are detached from worldly rewards, seeking only to prefect themselves and their military art. As do the majority of Japanese citizens, they practice both Buddhism and Shintoism, although the Scions of Marishiten frequently remove themselves on religious retreats and a high proportion retire into the Buddhist priesthood.".....

Japanese theatre.....The oldest written document in Japan (c. 712) records a performance dedicated to the Sun Goddess "Amaterasu the Great....Japan's oldest written document, the Kojiki, (Records of Ancient Matters, compiled around 712 AD)."


John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….February 2013


1 comment:

  1. I have a medallion of Amaterasu Depicting her surrounded by people holding roosters and on the other side of the medallion is the imperial chrysanthemum seal anyone with information on this medallion it would sure be appreciated thanks Steve