This week we had a cool experience of being taught by an actual Shinto priest. It was great to learn the ways of the Japanese people. Why they say itadakimasu and how everyday life is influenced by Shintoism. I feel it's been an answer to a prayer. I've been wanting to know more about the culture and expand my knowledge of the people that we are serving. This was a way cool experience. We were sitting in the mountains around a fire and this priest taught us the basics of what Shinto beliefs are and a lot about the basic Japanese manners! It was the perfect setting too, the shrine was up in the mountains and it was about 7:30pm. It was amazing really.
So things learned / Shinto stuff
Itadakimasu means that we are thanking because God gave us life (we would basically call it memorized praying)
In Christianity, there are sacrifices of blood and in Shintoism, they have sacrifices of life.
For instance, God gives us everything that gives us life; alcohol, rice, salt, water, fruit and vegetables. These are the only things we need to live. As such, whenever we eat we say we partake, we are taking in the life of these other plants so that we may live. They have many different gods that are in everything.
When saying itadakimasu, it's not giving, its taking of the life that God has granted unto us.
Now every day we have an opportunity in the morning to become anew, we start over and we start clean. I face the sun as it comes and say whatever happened yesterday is behind me and from now on today is a new day. We ask God to help and he does.
At the shrines we give an offering to give back to God what he gave to us as well. This gives Him life, that's why various things are put in front of shrines, These are things that give life and God can partake of them. As the foods goes bad, it is being eaten by the gods. In return the gods also leave it for us to eat. Essentially God is eating the food and his salvia turns into Sake and we drink it and gain Gods power and renewal.
There are many Shinto God’s. We were told that there were originally two, they had babies and one baby was light, however light was attacked and died and went to the world of the dead. While there, light upset others and was freed and then started running around again and ended up creating the earth and all the gods around it. That means everything was created by this first God. As such we owe our respects to him.
Funny thing is after we worshipped at the shrine, it's a part of the ritual to drink some alcohol and basically by drinking it gives you salvation. We were offered the Sake, but turned it down and also salvation! I feel ok about that. So for that reason temples are necessary! :)
That's basically it for this week! It's an average Miyako week! By the way, an average Miyako week is nothing compared to any of my last areas. It's been great with lots of little tiny miracles and crazy things happening!
Love you all and have a good one!