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Rouge et Blanc, ou le Fil d'Ariane d'un voyageur naturaliste

Chinju-no-Mori 鎮守の杜

18 Mai 2013 , Rédigé par Béthune




"Les forêts où se trouvent les sanctuaires shintoïstes sont appelés Chinju-no-Mori (La Forêt du sanctuaire du village) 鎮守の杜, ce qui signifie qu'il s'agit d'un lieu sacré, ce n'est pas une forêt ordinaire. Chinju-no-Mori est un lieu pour offrir une prière de reconnaissance à la Nature, qui a fourni la nourriture de vie aux Japonais depuis les temps anciens. Le Dr. Akira Miyawaki (宮脇昭) a analysé les espèces des bois et des forêts des sanctuaires et s'est rendu compte qu'ils permettent de retrouver les plantes qui constituaient la forêt primitive." link




October 10, 2010


In Homesteading, Tokyo Style, posted back in April, I mentioned the Japanese practice of protecting sensitive environments by giving them religious significance. At the time I didn’t realize there was actually a specific term for this, chinju-no-mori 鎮守の杜. Following is a passage by the Japanese environmentalist and reafforestation expert Akira Miyawaki that explains the idea of chinju-no-mori 鎮守の杜 very well. It is from the book The Healing Power of Forests: The Philosophy behind Restoring Earth’s Balance with Native Trees by Akira Miyawaki and Elgene O. Box (Tokyo: Kosei Publishing Co., 2006).

If we liken nature to a human face, the areas comparable to the vulnerable eyes are the most sensitive spots, such as mountaintops, steep slopes and ridges, and coastal areas. It was forested areas at these sensitive spots that our ancestors set aside. There was always the chance that someone would unthinkingly wipe out these forests, however, so in order to protect them people chose them as sites for worshipping the mountain gods, Hachimann the war god, or the gods of the harvest, water, or sea. A belief was inculcated in the people that “If you destroy the gods’ forest, you will suffer divine retribution.” Thus nature’s weak spots were preserved and matured. These forests are called chinju-no-mori 鎮守の杜, the forests where the gods dwell.


In today’s climate of ‘enlightened’ scientific rationalism threats of divine retribution will likely be dismissed as silly superstitions, at best, but such ‘quaint’ customs often involve the communication of empirical knowledge. “Cut the trees on a steep slope in a high rainfall area and you will experience landslides.” We do not control the forces that come together in such a landslide. It is ‘divine’ in origin. Divine: of God, of Nature, of Gaia….

Back in May I went to a chinju-no-mori 鎮守の杜 in the mountains of Hanamaki to collect magnolia leaves for making shoyu. This particular chinju-no-mori was very large, basically the whole mountain, but, unfortunately, it seems that such extensive chinju-no-mori have become the exception, not the rule. Since the second world war modernization and development have been Japan’s catch cries with an accompanying shift in religious consciousness. The view of the universe and the human place within it, developed within the context of the nature venerating traditions of Shinto and even older indigenous animist traditions, along with the Chinese influence of Daoism and Cha’an Buddhism (Zen), have gradually been usurped by the western religion of scientific rationalism. While Buddhism and Shinto are still the official religions of Japan many of the practices associated with them, such as chinju-no-mori 鎮守の杜, have become little more than thin symbolic shadows. ‘Development’ has led to many chinju-no-mori 鎮守の杜 being reduced to a mere handful of trees surrounding a shrine.

The profound understanding of our ancestors of how ecosystems function has been replaced by a reductionist understanding that sees ‘resources’ that can be ‘managed’ (exploited) to fuel ‘development.’  And development is an unquestionable good! Starts to sound suspiciously like religious belief… In the face of the very scary and very large environmental problems that we are confronted with many people are trusting that science and technology will produce some wonder-solution to save us all. A bit like a messiah returning to whisk us all off to heaven. And just to push the Judeo-christian religious analogy a little further, the fact that we are expecting to be saved by the very same methodologies that have got us this deep in the shit is not too different from worshipping a vengeful God who creates, punishes, saves and damns.

While there can be no returning to some imagined golden age there is the opportunity to reconnect with the wisdom of our global ancestors and to the practices that served them so well. We may not be able to replicate them, as we no longer live in the same world, but the wisdom and foresight of past practices may inform new expressions appropriate to our contemporary context.


The deeper one looks at the history of civilizations the more it seems that many of the so-called achievements of civilizations are in fact solutions to problems that only arose within the project of civilization.



Source: http://nakazora.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/chinju-no-mori/  link


Consulter l'article: Le concept shinto de Chinju-no-mori 鎮守の杜 sur le site institutjapon.canalblog.com: link


Sur le même site Shikigami d'Asako Kitaori et Dion Workman, l'auteur parle de Fukushima à propos d'une conversation entre amis et parents, au Japon:

(...) To say the unspeakable: Like a human sacrifice offered to the gods of industrial civilization the people of Fukushima and surrounding prefectures are offered up by their government to pay the price of our collective madness. (....) link


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