When we visit Shinto shrines or Buddhist temples, we expect Goriyaku there. In this post, I’ll show you what Goriyaku and the way they are generated. 合掌
What is Goriyaku?
Goriyaku (ご利益) is a help something sacred, especially deities, could give to us. There are Goiryaku for anything we want: Love, health, prosperity, and so on.
Goriyaku is a help, not what we want itself. I’m sure most of all Japanese people sometimes believe they could get what they want with their deeds, attitudes and a help of deity.
There are general Goriyaku and specific ones depending on deities or places enshrine them. The following ones are popular Goriyaku and the place we could have them.
Health is the priority. We seek Goriyaku for it. Many deities could help us. Especially Kannnon and Yakushi Nyorai, the buddhist deities and Okuni Nushi no Mikoto in Japanese mythology.
We suffered from epidemics for centuries. Deity who could save us from Gozutenno, the Buddhist deity.
Yasaka shrine used to be a Buddhist temple and enshrined Gozutennno. He was fused with Susano no Mikoto, the deity enshrined Yaska shrine today. Gion Matsuri is held to get rid of epidemics every summer for over 1100 years because and their bond is still alive.
No one is an island. Enmusubi means “Putting ご縁 together.” ご縁(pronounced “Goen”) literary means a bond. Goen is based on an idea of Buddhism: Innen Shoki. In this idea, something causes an effect. In a nutshell, there are cause and effect lying behind anything we encounter. For example, you read the post I wrote due to some Goen between you and me.
Goen is an general idea but it usually means a bond for love in casual conversation. In this sense, popular deities are Susanoh no Mikoto and Okuninushi no Mikoto in Japanese mythology.
The most popular place for Enmusubi is Yasaka shrine basing on a story of Susano no Mikoto and Kushinada hime, his wife. Jishu shrine in Kiyomizudera is also famous because it enshrines the same deities.
Hope an honest person sees an honest wage. The popular deities would be help us are Ukanomitamano Mikoto, the Shinto deity and Ebisuten, the Buddhist deity.
The most famous place is Fushimi Inari. People believe that it could give success in business. Fusihimi Inari enshrines deities of agriculture and rice cultivating. People believe the the Goriyaku of them also promises the prosperity of their business.
Ebessan (Ebisuten) is also a deity for prosperity enshrined in many places. In January, Ebessan festival took place and many merchants visit them to have his Goriyaku.
Success in Learning
We are thinking reeds. The most famous place we could have it is Kitano Tenmangu shrine which enshrines Sugawara no Michizane, the most learned person in Japanese history. The Goriyaku is based on the faith of Goryo. In this faith, we enshrine vengeful sprits to save us. Ancient people believed they protect us with their enormous power.
Sugawara no Michizane was a prosperous bureaucrat in the Imperial court and his political rival ousted him with a conspiracy. He was relegated to Dazaifu and passeed away in despair. After his death, his phantom came back to Kyoto to scare people. They thought he protect them taking side with him.
Goriyaku depends on Deities
In this chapter, I’ll show you how Goriyaku is generated.
Goriyaku depends on Deities. Shinto shrine or Buddhis temple enshrines at least one deity. Their Goriyaku are derived from them or stories about them.
People usually find Goriyaku of deities. They usually are based on something we cannot change. Like stories in Japanese mythology, or Sutras…something like that.
On the other hand, Goriyaku derived from the stories of deity or the place enshrines her. It depends on a… kind of rendition.
Usually, a deity has at least one Goriyaku, a general one or a specific one. Let us talk about Kiyomizudera as example.
ATTENTION: Under Shinbutsu Shugo( The fusion of Shinto and Buddhism), we don’t always tell Shinto deities and Buddhist ones exactly. And the Goriyaku of them are sometimes fused even today.
Deity herself/ himself
Kiyomizudera enshrines many deities and the most important one is Kannon. It is believed she is a deity save people in suffer. In a nutshell, she gives any kinds of Goriyaku.
Goriyaku of Kannon herself is a general one. I guess the visitors of Kiymizudera ask for a help lots of things on their hopes. For example, some ask, “Good health for my grandma.” and some ask, “Give me a good partner.” and so on.
Of course there a deity who has specific Goriyaku. For example, Toji enshrines Yakushi Nyorai who is a deity of Medicine. And he gives us Goriyaku for good health.
The story of deity/ shrine/ temple
Kiyomizudera used to be famous for Goriyaku of safe delivery and it is base on a story of the foundation of it.
Kiyomizudera was founded in 778. A monk make a small hut to enshrine Kannnon. And sometime later, the Shogun of the Imperial court visited Mt. Otowato where Kiyomizudera was located because he wanted embryos of Shika deer. It is believed that they were a good help for safe delivery.
Enchin, the founder of Kiyomizudera asked the reason why he was in the mountain and he told the reason. Enchin said to him that he has no right to kill animals for his wife and child’s sake.
The Shogun regretted himself and donated a part of his edifice as the main hall of Kiyomizudera temple to enshrine the statue of Kannon. And He and his wife had a baby.
On this story, people believed Kiyomizudera provides us with the Goriyaku of easy delivery.
People usually find Goriyaku from a story of deity or a place enshrines her. It depends on a… kind of rendition. In Japanese, we often say, “We 授かる a baby.” 授かる(Pronounced Sazukaru) literary manes ” Something is given to us.” Behind the sentence, we have an idea: Something sacred gives us a baby. And in case of the Shogun, it is easy for people to think Kannon gives him and his wife a baby.
The Goriyaku of safe delivery is a long lost one today. But we still can find Haraobi amulet at Jimusho (the booth we can have amulets). Haraobi is a cotton towel. When we are pregnant, we wrap it around the abdomen to keep the embryo warm.
As previously stated, Goriyaku is usually generated two ways: The deity her/himself or the story about them. We can have brochures in English at many Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. Check out who is enshrined and the story about her or the shrine/ temple. It will be a great help to understand the Goriyaku you could have.