In the previous post on the Ahara waka, we connected the terms: ahara, anohara, takamanohara. The a in ahara and in anohara, as well as the ama in takamanohara have the meaning of Cosmos, where high kami dwell. Takamanohara may be deconstructed to be taka-ama-no-hara, where taka means high and hara means place.
The term Takamanohara is better known to readers of Japan’s creation myth. Isanami and Isanagi are the kami couple who create the eight islands of Japan while standing on the “floating bridge of heaven” in Takamanohara. This, of course, implies that Takamanohara is “Heaven”, and is often pronounced Takama-ga-hara. We would like to give another version of the creation story, the version taught by the Wosite documents.
To the present-day Japanese, Takamagahara – known in English as “High Plain of Heaven” with “ama” translated as “Heaven” – is a mythical place. This idea is based on Ki-Ki (the documents Kojiki and Nihon Shoki from the 8th century). The true history of Japan was changed by Ki-Ki. This is very unfortunate. In this Ki-Ki view, only “heavenly” kami dwell in Takamagahara which is separate from the world of people. Indeed, when this happened to the name, people were moving away from a deep connection with the kami.
Originally, Takamanohara (note the spelling) was a place of kami and people. It was referred to as if it were in Ama, Cosmos. The significance is that people and kami were in harmony with Ama, Cosmos. Takamanohara was a place on earth where people tried to live and make decisions in keeping with the way of the kami, with the way of Nature and Universe.
The name changed after the Woshite period and it picked up a voiced consonant (“ga”). A voiced consonant generally abbreviates the original meaning and gives a negative connotation to it. So “Takama-no-hara” in changing to “Takama-ga-hara” became limited in scope and in imagination, and it lost its pure aspect.
It is hoped that by exposing the nature of the Woshite world, we can show our readers the worldviews of the Woshite people. This Woshite worldview regarded humans in unity, or at least humans that intended to be in harmony, with the kami of Takamanohara and with all of Nature and Universe.
Please re-read Welcome to the World of Woshite regarding kami and Ama, http://wp.me/P6TKUT-3.
As you continue to read our articles, you will develop a clearer understanding of the World of Woshite. The World of Woshite was in harmony with the Way of Ama.