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Thread: Japanese paper amulets

  1. #1
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    Japanese paper amulets

    Hello. Someone knows if is 御札 (ofuda) the generic term to describe those Japanese rectangular paper amulets which in Japanese fantasy movies are used to purify some person or place? If that, they have only Shinto inscriptions or they have Buddhist inscriptions as well?

    Thanks
    Last edited by Jeraru; 28th February 2013 at 4:45 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Japanese paper amulets

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeraru View Post
    Japanese rectangular paper amulets which in Japanese fantasy movies are used to purify some person or place?
    For this point, I say yes. But I don't know in detail or haven't ever had a chance to purify something with ofuda.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeraru View Post
    they have only Shinto inscriptions or they have Buddhist inscriptions as well?
    I'm not sure..either is OK? Or you can select either according to your purpose. Joking, but not too far from the fact.
    Before building a house or building, you can contact a shrine serviceman and ask a ceremony to purify the land. This is often, but I don't know if he uses an ofuda then. And note that I'm not so a religious person. My knowledge is of average.

    And if I add info, what is the biggest difference between Shinto and the Buddhism? Which does have to deal with people's (not only people's) death? It's Buddhism. Shinto doesn't do.

  3. #3
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    Re: Japanese paper amulets

    Yes ofuda is a generic term, and indeed Shintō has ofuda. Even today large Shintō shrines sell several ofuda to local parishioners and tourists.
    e.g. http://www.shiogamajinja.jp/charm/pop/03.shtml

    But perhaps this is a bit different from what you're looking for. I'll give a little more detail below:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeraru View Post
    they have only Shinto inscriptions or they have Buddhist inscriptions as well?
    In short, not restricted to Shintō.

    Those fictional amulets that have a supernatural ability are under the strong influence of occultism, so they're probably not from the orthodox Shintō.
    In Japan, most of traditional occultism were a mixture of Taoism, Shintō & Buddhism. Those occultism had eventually forked into various schools: At least Onmyōdō, Mikkyō (the esoteric Buddhism) and Shugendō had significant influence, and each (including the original Taoism) had its own paper amulets. In my opinion ofuda that appear in fictional stories are very likely based on either of these four.

    Since they all have affected each other, it's sometimes difficult to tell which ofuda is from what.

  4. #4
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    Re: Japanese paper amulets

    Ah! I have ofuda of Yushima Tenjin (shrine) lol

    That ofuda is attached to a booklet-like cardboard, with a message from God of study, Sugawara no Michizane. The message urges us to study hard, sounding as strictly as 'hurting my ears'. (I mean that the shrine has made this kind of ofuda amulet.) Therefore, this ofuda works to motivate us to study, not suitable for purifying something

  5. #5
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    Re: Japanese paper amulets

    Thank you very much for the answers

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