restricted access Tsuki no Sakaki
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545 TSUKI NO SAKAKI Suzuki Masayuki | ca. 1867 [It is unclear when this work was written, but it must have been finished by the end of 1867. The title is taken from the name the sun goddess used when she revealed herself to Jingū: “The emperor … prayed, ‘Which kami gave the great ruler instructions the other day?’ … After seven days and seven night a kami replied, ‘… My name is the lone-­ standing sakaki tree (tuki sakaki) with the solemn spirit who left heaven, Mukatsuhime’  ” (Kojima et al. 2002, 1:418). Here the sakaki tree signifies a sacred place where the spirit of the kami may come down to communicate with humanity. The belief was that when the spirit of the kami had come down, however, the tree then became the actual being. Masayuki was also influenced by Sandaikō, and used this essay to develop his own ideas about the afterlife. His purpose is to elucidate the Way leading to human truth and fulfillment. The work is written in five maki: (a) general outline, (b) heavenly kami, (c) Susanoo, Magatsubi, Naobi, and Ōnamuchi, (d) spirit, mind, life, death, and the afterlife, and (e) lord, parent, heaven, earth, Yomi, the imperial land, foreign countries, Confucianism, and Buddhism . The following translation comes from the first maki. Masayuki constructs his text with three different, layered types of argument. The first is an overall statement of the ancient Japanese tradition, set one character higher than the rest of the text. This appears in my translation in 11-­ point font. Following this is Masayuki’s explanation, which I have put in 9-­ point font. He then adds further clarification in characters half the size of the rest. I have placed these in parentheses. Clarifications from the translator appear in square backets.] INTRODUCTION The key to the Way of scholarship is to understand the truth of humanity, do your best as a human, and perfect your innate virtues. To achieve this people must understand the primary aspects. I mean that our business in this world is hectic, with various demands, public and private, and if the individual does not understand some basic principles, then we tend to fall into arrogance because of our frenetic lives. Then we are apt to commit transgressions, some of us may even commit serious crimes, and there are many who then lose those innate virtues. Therefore, people should first understand well the basics, and then do their best to do their duty. This then is the true Way to scholarship, where people do not commit serious crimes, but do their best as humans and perfect their innate virtues. 546 Views On Japan/Religion Concerning the basics, while our lives are busy and stressed, if you investigate the foundation of our lives, you will find that it is the body. If you investigate the foundation of the body, you will find it is your parents. If you investigate the foundation of your parents, you will find it is the kami. Thus, the kami existed first, then came our parents, and that is why we have bodies. The earth supports and nourishes our bodies. Our lord governs and nourishes our bodies. But it is the kami that have created the earth and our lord. Thus, the kami are the foundation of things above and below heaven. These are the four basic principles of our existence: the kami, our lord, our parents, and the earth. Because these are the foundation from which spring the many and varied humans, people cannot go about their lives ignorantly. In spite of scholars in the present having superior talents, their scholarship reaching the highest levels of achievement, as their fame thunders in every ear, none of these scholars can give an answer about the basics of life. How lamentable that people in the present only search after unfounded theories and unsubstantiated works, and there are very few people who seek the true Way and fruitful scholarship. Thus, it is not natural that there are so many examples of people who meet fortunate people or circumstances without realizing they have things backward, and lose their innate virtues through confusion in the chaos of life, and go on to commit grave crimes; these then lead to the weakening or destruction of the state. This is due to everyone fumbling in the dark, feeling after foreign and evil beliefs. I have little talent or learning, but because I understand the basics, and though I may not know myself well I desire to...


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