Hi Prof. Goldsbury,
Thank you once again! I thought I should start a new thread. This is such a deep and difficult topic for me, but one which I am enjoying so much I thought I should continue it elsewhere. I appreciate your continued efforts to help me learn a bit more about this bit of history.
A few more questions:
Peter A Goldsbury
"I have been to a most unpleasant land, a horrible, unclean land. Therefore I shall purify my body."
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.)
I'm confused by the use of the term "exorcism," which I have only seen as having a spiritual connotation. I can appreciate the idea that "spirit" may not have been in the thinking of ancient Japanese people, particularly given my (admittedly weak) understanding of Natural Religion (my understanding of which being that physical reality is what we have to go by in our understanding of how to live well, regardless of whether or not it can be said there is something more). This seems to raise at least one issue to my mind though: what does a non-spiritual being have to do with an underworld?
It makes sense that people would clean themselves after dealing with death, and perhaps the Kojiki borrows from older, Chinese or Indian tales, but would O Sensei have access to this kind of thinking to shape whatever his views were?
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.
Was O Sensei purely Omoto-kyo though...particularly later on? His having spent at least some time at Tsubaki Okami Yashiro seems to imply a more open view on spirituality...or at least seems to imply some relevency with regards to at least some aspects of Jinja Shinto.
Thank you for your time thus far. I hope you won't mind helpoing me out a bit further.