Thread: Ki is Kindness.
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Old 12-17-2010, 12:48 AM   #151
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Ki is Kindness.

Hello Matthew,

The central focus of the Kojiki story is death. After the encounter with Izanami, Izanagi states:


Philppi translates this as:

"I have been to a most unpleasant land, a horrible, unclean land. Therefore I shall purify my body."

The Japanese editor of the Kojiki gives the following rendering in more modern Japanese:


With good reason Philippi cites the Chinese chronicle Wei zhi, which was composed in 280 AD and so predates the Kojiki by 500 years. A closer translation than Philippi had access to:

"After the burial, the deceased's family members plunge into water to purify themselves from contamination, which is similar to the purifying ablution [practised in the middle Kingdom]."

Philippi also quotes Motoori Norinaga, who rejects a spiritualizing interpretation, insisting that pollution of the body, not of the soul, was meant:

"Exorcism and purification are for the purpose of cleansing the pollutions of the body. To say that they are for exorcising and cleansing the spirit is a concept completely alien to Japanese antiquity." (Philippi, Kojiki, p. 68.)

Of course, it is not alien to much more modern Japanese notions, especially Jinja Shinto, which is the postwar successor to State Shinto (国家神道). However, (1) this implies over 1,000 years on interpretation of the Kojiki text and (2) I am not sure that Jinja Shinto can be equated with Omoto-kyo.

Best wishes,


P A Goldsbury
Hiroshima, Japan
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