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  • Writer's pictureAkiko Murakami

Quin's Shinto awakening and Misogi

​Last November, I encountered Quin, on a way back from a book launch event in Kyoto about Zen Garden by Professor John Dougill. We had a short conversation in a train and already felt that we have something in common. That was related to Shintoism.

Later, he shared me about his unique experiences how he tapped into the world of Shinto...

Interestingly, just like I was featured by Professor John's blog "Green Shinto" last July , Quin had been featured twice already in the same blog in much earlier timings.

< from Green Shinto blogs>:

Of course, as an American resident in Japan, things did not happen at once for Quin. Slow by slow, his beliefs grew as things developed and took form with numbers of unimaginable coincidences. It seems.. he has got a "call" from Shinto deity!

If we look back in our history, we can find so many examples of people's lives chang once they were touched by a divine force or a holy spirit with clear messages or visions. Isn't that true everywhere?

I think that is a good thing as long as the change brings more happiness, joy, freedom, strength and peace to people around them. (not motivated by hatred or evil thoughts toward others with self-pride or pity).

To my great surprise, after many years of studies, he has become one of the rare Americans who is officially qualified to become a Shinto priest in a Shrine in Japan.

Today, Quin teaches English to Japanese children, happily married to a Japanese lady and they have a lovely child.

I am quite sure that they met by fate, and very happy to get to know them.

----------Misogi by Quin

It was on a very cold day in last December, Quin and two American friends of him and I visited a sacred waterfall called Kuya-no-Taki (空也の 滝)in Mt. Atago, in the northwest of Kyoto,

In the middle of day, he prepared himself for Misogi wearing only a tight loincloth and a head band. And he began the series of prepartory process as I wrote in the last blog.

Since Quin has a face of a great musician (Jazz pianist) as well, later he dedicated his music performance to Kami-s or deities and elementals protecting the area.

Without a mental and physical preparation, Misogi is not a easy thing at all, especially in front of some strangers. --beaten under a freezing cold water alone almost naked. (and he is an American!)

On that day, there were unexpected guests, despite the location, in the middle of a deep mountain. Actually, we hiked about 40 minutes or so after we got off from a bus which we took from Arashiyama, Kyoto)

About 10 University students just appeared from nowhere gathered to film "funny" group photos of being under the waterfall in a fake misogi style. They said, it was planed by them to put the photos on a Wedding celebration message for their University professor. (as a joke, of course).

They made such a huge contrast.. !! Young Japanese who do not pay respect to nature and the place, but innocent and apparently good people.

In fact, hey were ----kind enough to give a cup of instant hot chocolate to Quin after his "real" Misogi. But!! They surely missed the big warning in Japanese that clearly banns making fire in the mountain. Well, the first thing they did was to lit fire with gas like a camp to make hot water to drink something hot after their "fake" Misogi. ..

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