Shinto is the indigenous religion of Japan, and it is characterized by its numerous shrines that are dedicated to various deities or kami. Each shrine is unique and has its own sacred objects, rituals, and architectural features. One of the most distinctive elements of a Shinto shrine is its water fountain, which serves as a purifying tool for visitors. In this article, we will explore in detail what the water fountain at a Shinto shrine is called and why it is essential for the practice of Shinto.
In Shinto, the water fountain is known as the temizuya, the chōzubachi, or the tsukubai, depending on its size, shape, and location. The temizuya is a large basin of water that is usually located outside the shrine’s main hall or honden. The word temizuya literally means “hand-washing place,” and visitors are required to purify themselves by cleansing their hands and mouth with the water before approaching the shrine. The chōzubachi is a smaller basin of water that is placed near the entrance of the shrine and is used for symbolic washing of the hands. The word chōzubachi literally means “ritual ablution basin.” The tsukubai is a stone water basin that is used in formal tea ceremonies at shrines and temples.
The rituals associated with the water fountain are rooted in the Shinto belief that impurities and evils are present in everything, including humans. By purifying oneself with water, one can cleanse oneself of these impurities and offer oneself to the kami with a pure heart. In addition to cleansing one’s body and spirit, the water fountain also serves as a beautiful and peaceful feature of the shrine’s landscape, adding to the spiritual atmosphere of the place.
In conclusion, the water fountain at a Shinto shrine is an essential aspect of Shinto practice that symbolizes purification and spiritual cleansing. It is called the temizuya, chōzubachi, or tsukubai, depending on its size and use, and is used to purify oneself before visiting the shrine. The water fountain is not only a functional tool but also a beautiful and peaceful feature of the shrine’s landscape, adding to the overall spiritual atmosphere of the place. If you ever visit a Shinto shrine, be sure to take the time to purify yourself at the water fountain, and appreciate its significance in Shinto practice.
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Last update 2023-12-03