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Old 07-24-2010, 11:25 PM   #10
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Takemusu Aikido Translation Question

Eric,

You need to be aware that there is some ambiguity about 幽界 and this is reflected in the ancient myths.

I sometimes use a Japanese text in my classes. It is an illustrated text, intended for high school students, about the ancient myths. On pp. 172-173, there are two coloured diagrams and maps, entitled 『記紀」神話の世界構造. The Japanese is reasonably easy to understand. The first chart deals with 縦軸: tatejiku: the vertical axis or dimension and this is the issue in this thread.

記紀の縦軸
『記紀』において、世界は主に縦軸と横軸で描かれる。まず、縦軸は、空の上に高天原があり、遙か下には黄泉国よいう死者の世界があり、その間にあるのが葦原中国(豊葦原中 国)ーーつまり、人々が住む地上である。
まず、高天原はすでに述べたように神々の世界である。神世七代から始まる天津神たちはここに住み、時に地上に干渉あるのだ。一方、黄泉国にも神々は住んでいるが、それらは 不浄の神だ。また、黄泉国としばしば同一視される場所に根の国がある。ここは高天原を追放されたスサノオが住む場所で、黄泉比根坂が入り口という意味では黄泉国と同じあの だが、死者の世界ではない、とされる。

There are diagrams depicting the four levels: one, above the clouds, where the heavenly deities dwell (with Izanagi, holding the nuboko, and and his wife Izanami); the next, below the clouds, where humans and the earthly deities dwell (the picture is of a man and a horse grazing in a field); and two more below the ground, one, (the picture is of roots of trees), which is nenotakasukuni (根堅州国), and the other (the picture is of two dead people in a chamber enclosed with rocks), which is yomi(no)kuni or yomotsukuni.

This, literal, depiction is where any discussion of O Sensei's meaning has to begin.

Best wishes,

PAG

P A Goldsbury
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