Welcome again to JJNN for Saturday October 4th, 2008. Today we will be talking about a form of prayer.
Have you all seen kung fu movies? In 9 out of 10 classic kung fu movies there is a scene in which the main character looses his master or his lover or his kid or something like that and goes into training so that he can defeat the person that did the killing. Training of the body is easy, but than the main character finds out that he has to "train" his soul in order to defeat the bad guy. How does he do this? Most of them do something like seen below.
They purify themselves by sitting or standing under a waterfall. Usually these scenes take place in the middle of the winter as well when the temperature is at or below freezing. Somehow cold water hitting main character's skin causes the main character soul to be pure and allows him to kick major ass.
Unfortunately real life is not quite like the movies. How do I know this? Well 4 or 5 years ago in the middle of the winter I went out to the middle of nowhere with a bunch of people and actually tried out the whole sitting under a waterfall thing. I am pretty sure that my soul (if there is such a thing) was as dirty after the waterfall as it was before the waterfall.
Of course there is a lot more to the process than running out and jumping under a waterfall. There is a whole Shinto and/or Buddhist (see my post for August 23rd) process involved. Some of the processes include a lot of bowing, dressing in special clothes, chanting a sutra (Buddhist script), praying to a Shinto god, and lots of yelling. You can see what happens in the video below (though the end of the video is actually the start of a Shinto fire walking ceremony. That is a topic for another time...though as a side note I did the fire walking thing as well with the same group).
So why do people really do this? What do people get from going under a waterfall in the middle of the winter? Well it is suppose to help you change yourself. If you don't like yourself or what you do going under a waterfall is suppose to help you deal with your past self and change who you are. It is also suppose to be a form of prayer. There are some people that even say that going under a waterfall helps make you more beautiful.
What does this actually do for a person though? Well I can see how the shock of being hit by a lot of cold water can help you deal with some emotional problems. I can tell you from personal experience that after you are done and warming up by a fire it does sort of feel like a rebirth of sorts. As for helping with beauty, it is easier to just wash your face in cold water every morning. I don't think it really does anything but help close up those pores. As for prayer, that will open a whole bag of things that I just don't want to deal with.
Any way, it is now time for the word of the day. Today's word is 滝(たき). It is pronounced taki and means waterfall. I think I might want to try the waterfall training again because I didn't get pictures the first time. I would like to do it in the summer next time though.
That's it for today. See you next time at JJNN.