​初穂料・玉串料とは Tradition of Hatsuho-ryō/Tamagushi-ryō money offering

初穂料 Hatsuho-ryō
IMG_8698S.JPG
IMG_9395S.JPG
IMG_5986SS.JPG

初穂料とは
神社や神職から御祈祷をお受けになる時、祭式(神葬祭を除く)に御参列なさる時、御神札や御守りなどの授与品をお受けになる時に、《願い主様が御納めになる、神々への尊い捧げもの》のことを指します。
神社や神職への謝礼金と勘違いされる方がおられるようですが、本質は神への捧げ物であり、御自身の畏敬の念を顕現・計る神聖なものであります。
神職がお預かりしたその捧げものを、全てが執り行われたのち、お下がりとして神々が神職に御授けになられるという原理が背景にございます。
当杜では、禊祓の修法、講座・講話などの授業料も、初穂料・玉串料として御納め頂いております。

初穂料の歴史・起源
弥生時代以降、日本の国づくりは水田稲作を中心に行われてきたことから、実りの秋には神々への感謝として、その年に初めて収穫された稲穂(初穂)や穀物を神々へお供えしてきました。
中世になり貨幣経済が庶民に普及し、人々の生業も初穂を収穫できる農民に限られなくなったため、捧げものは貨幣へと転換していきました。
現代でも新嘗祭など収穫したお米や野菜、果物を神様にお供えする風習は残っていますが、初穂奉納の慣習は、こうしてお金を奉納する現在の慣習へと行きついたのです。
捧げものの中身が変わっただけであり、貨幣奉納の背景も各々が汗水流して収穫した努力の結果であるという点で、 同じく神聖な捧げものであるということに変わりはありません。

玉串料とは
玉串料は初穂料に同じく、神社や神職から御祈祷をお受けになる時、神葬祭を含めた全ての祭式に御参列なさる時に、《願い主様が御納めになる、神々への尊い捧げもの》のことを指します。
御神札や御守りなどの授与品をお受けになる時には、使用されません。
玉串は常緑樹の枝に紙垂を取り付けた幣帛で、神への捧げものです。御祈祷や祭式の際に、斎主、願い主、参列者が、祈りを込めて神前に捧げます。
幣帛とは、神道祭祀において神に奉献するもののうち、神饌以外の全ての捧げもののことを言います。
天の岩戸開き神話において、 八尺瓊勾玉や八咫鏡などを下げた天の香山の五百箇真賢木(いおつまさかき)を布刀玉命が岩戸の前に捧げたことが、玉串の由来であると考えられています。
こうして古代から、玉串は神霊の依代と考えられてきました。玉串に祈りを込め捧げることで、祀られている神様と、願い主を仲執り持ちする役割を担っています。

賽銭とは

御祈祷を受ける昇殿参拝時の初穂料・玉串料とは違い、一般参拝にて拝殿から祈念する際に賽銭箱に御納めする、供え物の一種です。貨幣が流通する以前は散米といって米を神前に撒いたり、洗米を紙に包み捧げていたので、背景は初穂料に同じく。今も米の代わりに金銭を紙に包んで賽銭箱に入れる人もおられますが、金銭が不浄だからという概念で包んでいる訳ではありません。 お米の収穫と同じく、汗水流して働いた結果の捧げものですから、神聖な捧げものであるということに変わりはありません。

本来は価値が計れないほど貴い

初穂料、玉串料、お賽銭について上記で御紹介させて頂きましたが、神官や教師など精神的価値に関わる勤しみは、歴史的にそもそも「金銭では価値が計れないほど貴いもの」と捉えられて来ましたこと、御理解頂ければ幸いです。

 


Hatsuho-ryō
Hatsuho-ryō is a historical and traditional custom throughout Japan at all Shinto shrines, which is to offer Kami the sacred money offerings to present our reverence, respect, awe, and gratitude, when receiving blessings or attending ceremonies (except funerals), or obtaining amulets. The significant concept is that we are offering Hatsuho-ryō to Kami. It is not a direct service fee to clergy. The principle is that Kami later hands down all offerings to clergy for conducting the sacred refined professional deed as "Osagari". Hatsuho-ryō at Kamunabi Ban'yū Ko-Shintō Shrine follows the Japanese standard, and classes/workshop fees are also categorized as Hatsuho-ryō, not as just a class tuition.
The origin of Hatsuho-ryō derived from the Hatsuho offering, the very first ears of rice of the year as an appreciation to Kami, since the Yayoi period by the expansion of Paddy rice cultivation in Japan as the nation being founded. As the time passed to the medieval period, the money-based economy became popular among people with more varieties of professions besides farmers who could harvest the rice ears. Then, the realistic offerings shifted to money from the harvest of the autumn.
Hatsuho-ryō is simply a different form of reverent offering to Kami in this modern society which should be perceived and treated as sacred as the ancient style offerings. This reverent Hatsuho-ryō offering is the sacred outcome of us making effort in working hard in our daily profession, just like the past farmers worked hard to grow rice to harvest Hatsuho.

 

Tamagushi-ryō

Same as Hatsuho-ryō, Tamagushi-ryō is a historical and traditional custom throughout Japan at all Shinto shrines, which is to offer Kami the sacred money offerings to present your reverence, respect, awe, and gratitude, when receiving blessings or attending ceremonies including funerals or any unhappy occasion ceremonies, but not used for obtaining amulets. 

Tamagushi is an evergreen wishing branch with zigzag lightening Shide paper, to be offered to Kami as a type of Heihaku offering. It is to be offered by the lead clergy, wisher, and other attendees during the ceremony. 

The origin of Tamagushi can be found in Japanese mythology when Futodama-no-mikoto offered Ma-Sakaki evergreen branch with Magatama beads and Yata-no-Kagami mirror, in front of the rock cave where Amaterasu-oomikami Sun goddess hid. Tamagushi's role is the object representative of a divine spirit when delivering your prayer. 

 

O-Saisen

O-Saisen is a kind of money offering that the general shrine visitors offer into O-Saisen box in front of Haiden praying place, unlike Hatsuho-ryō/Tamagushi-ryō is offered for the official ceremony/blessing when we visit up into Honden main shrine building where divine body is enshrined.

Its history is pretty much the same as Hatsuho-ryō. For the case of O-Saisen, people used to offer the washed rice wrapped in a clean paper or scattered rice in front of Kami called "Sanmai", before the money-based economy became popular. 

Today, some people still wrap the money with paper when offering it into an O-Saisen box, because of the background above, not because of treating money as impure. Money offering is nothing different from offering rice as a sacred offering, as it is simply our outcome of working hard in our daily life through our given role to serve the world, just like farmers work hard to harvest the rice.

   

Japanese mindset towards quality ceremony based on our history and tradition

In Japan, where everything is high quality and polished to the level of refinement, our mindset towards religious/spiritual service is different from the communities which are ostensibly against for any ceremonies, rituals, or heritage education to be "charged" (according to their word) while they are not necessarily maintaining so. 

Being a licensed Shinto clergy is a sacred profession which is to serve Kami as a medium between Kami and all living things in this physical world. Only those who undergo technical professional training can be certified and preserve the set standard for the future generations.
Japanese traditionally value and strive for high quality service for anything based on our Dō (way of life) culture, polishing everything to a refined level. Based on Japanese proverb 安かろう悪かろう, "What costs little is little esteemed", Japanese seek for the authentic quality service for everything. It is our cultural/traditional common sense to offer the sacred money offering to be taken care of thoroughly/professionally. Therefore, Japanese do not perceive our money offering tradition as a charge (except the unreasonably expensive Buddhism funerals), but we understand the offering to Kami as to present one's reverence, respect, awe, and gratitude. 

Please note that it is simply inappropriate/disrespectful to greedily ask/expect/take it for granted to attend ceremonies/classes for free, meaning you are unwilling to even make a modest effort on presenting your sacred offerings to Kami. Kami are giving us so much everyday, we are to return offerings based on the life cycle of the great nature, instead of keep taking/consuming only. While Rev. Kanawa occasionally reaches people to help out voluntarily when guided by Kami, when they are humbly ready to be helped and have the quality in their spirit, above mentioned is our historical/traditional standard in Japanese culture.

Too precious to be evaluated in monetary value

With aforementioned descriptions of Hatsuho-ryō, Tamagushi-ryō, O-Saisen, please note that the sacred deed of Shinto clergy or teacher has been historically perceived as too precious to be evaluated in monetary value.