國學院大學
國學院大學デジタルミュージアム

Encyclopedia of Shinto

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カテゴリー1 7. Concepts and Doctrines
カテゴリー2 Doctrines and Theories
Title
Text Oracles (takusen) of the three deities Tenshō-kōtaijingū (Amaterasu), Hachiman Daibosatsu, and Kasuga Daimyōjin that circulated widely from the middle ages until the early modern period. This term also refers to an object of worship that takes the form of a hanging scroll inscribed with the divine titles (shingō) and the oracles of these three deities. Their divine titles — Tenshō-kōtaijingū being in the center, Hachiman Daibosatsu on the right and Kasuga Daimyōjin on the left — and respective oracle texts form a trinity that is often accompanied by depictions of the deities as well. Some differences also exist in the wording of the oracles, but the following inscription in classical Chinese is the norm: "<tenshō-kōtaijingū> If you plot and connive to deceive men, you may fool them for a while, and profit thereby, but you will without fail be visited by divine punishment. To be utterly honest may have the appearance of inflexibility and self-righteousness, but in the end, such a person will receive the blessings of sun and moon. Follow honesty without fail. Though one might attempt to eat a red-hot ball of iron, one must never eat the food of a person with an impure mind. Though one might sit above a blazing fire hot enough to melt copper, one must never go into the place of a person of polluted mind. This is for the sake of purity. Even though it be the home of someone who has managed for long to avoid misfortune, the gods will not enter into the place of a person with perverse disposition. On the other hand, even though a man be in mourning for his father and mother, if he be a man of compassion, the gods will enter in there. Compassion is all important." These oracles are based on the amalgamation of Shintō and Buddhism (shinbutsu shūgō) and express the medieval virtues of honesty (shōjiki), pureness of mind (shōjō), and compassion (jihi). Furthermore, in Shasekishū (a work begun in 1279 and completed in 1283) the above oracle of Amaterasu at the Grand Shrines of Ise is attributed to Prince Shōtoku. Originally, the "three shrines" referred to the Grand Shrines of Ise, Iwashimizu Hachimangū and the Kamo shrines (see Kamo Mioya Jinja and Kamo Wakeikazuchi Jinja). Meanwhile, since the period of rule by cloistered ex-emperors (insei) at the end of the eleventh and beginning of the twelfth century, a belief arose that attributed the heredity of guardianship and assistance to the imperial household by the line of regents and advisors recruited from the Fujiwara clan to an agreement between the deities Amaterasu ōmikami and Ame no koyane, the tutelar deity (ujigami) of the Fujiwara clan. Hachiman came to be regarded as the ancestral deity of the Minamoto clan and the Iwashimizu Hachimangū to be seen as their ancestral mausoleum. With this, it is believed, that the three shrines gained special consideration throughout the Kamakura period as they were each closely linked to either the imperial house (Amaterasu/Ise), the court nobility (Kasuga Daimyōjin/Kamo shrines) and the warrior class (Hachiman/Iwashimizu Hachimangū).
     None of the oracle texts is mentioned in the history books and various ancient records prior to the Heian period. Judging from the fact that according to one legend the oracles of the three shrines manifested on the surface of a pond at Tōdaiji's Tōnan-in at the time of Prince Shōchin during the Shōō era (1288-1293) and that the earliest example of an account in which they are arranged as sansha takusen is Daigo shiyō shō, completed in the Ōei era (1394-1428), Buddhist monks from Nara and Daigo-ji as well as a connection to ryōbu shintō can be assumed to have played a role in the creation of the sansha takusen. However, Yoshida Shintō had great influence on the dissemination of the oracles. Yoshida Kanetomo gave an annotated version of the sansha takusen in his Kaguraoka engi (also called Sansha takusen hon'en) alongside a description of the origins of the ceremonial hall (saijō) he built in his residence. In this way, he introduced the sansha takusen into Yoshida Shintō and also conducted on request of the imperial household a memorial service for a sansha takusen scroll personally written by the emperor at the ceremonial hall. Centering on Yoshida Shintō, faith in the sansha takusen spread from the court nobles to the warrior class and — mediated by simpler and easy to circulate commentaries such as waka poems expounding on the oracles which were written in classical Chinese — also extended into the general populace. Over time the theory emerged that the oracles of the three deities go back to the Yoshida (Urabe) family. Researchers of "evidential learning" (kōshōgaku) in the meantime called the authenticity of the oracles into question and Ise Sadatake declared that Yoshida Kanetomo had forged them for his own interest. However, even if assuming they were a forgery, the content of the oracles still had moral efficacy. The oracles were thus not rejected as an effective means of cultivating the morals of the common people such as bringing about a sense of devotion for the kami, and won support from adherents of popular Shinto (tsūzoku shintō), teachers of practical ethics (sekimon shingaku) and persons connected with Buddhism espousing the unity of the three teachings, i.e. Shintō, Buddhism, and Confucianism. A vast amount of handbooks, picture scrolls and prints were produced for the common people. Moreover, pious associations () offering dedicatory lanterns (tōrō) to the three shrines were formed in various places. Faith in the sansha takusen deeply permeated the whole country and did not abate throughout the early modern period.
— Mori Mizue
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Sansha takusen (var. Sanja takusen)