A sacred gateway and the goddess of “flow”

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IMG_1605-WDW-EPCOT-Japan-Torii-gate:) Torii gates are associated with the Shinto and (later on) the Buddhist traditions in Japan. The purpose of a torri gate is to serve as a gateway to a sacred space. This one stands by the lagoon EPCOT. I’m not sure which side of the torri is supposed to be the sacred side – it’s either the Japan pavilion itself, or else it’s the lagoon. I think it’s the water – here’s why.

The Shinto-Buddhist goddess known in Japan as Benzaiten is closely associated with the torri, and is often depicted wearing one on her head. Based upon the Hindu goddess Sarasvati, she is the goddess of “flow”; according to Wikipedia, that would include “water, words (and knowledge, by extension), speech, eloquence, and music”. I’d like to think it also includes the psychological definition of “flow” – to be so caught up in the task at hand, euphoria results. She is also associated with bestowing fortune.

Next time I’m in EPCOT, I need to look in the gift shop at the Japan pavilion and see if there is anything associated to Benzaiten in there. I want to read up on her – she sounds really interesting!

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9 thoughts on “A sacred gateway and the goddess of “flow””

  1. I have seen thse Torii gates but had no idea about a name for this structure or a symbolism. I just thought it was an icon of Japanese design! I especially love the gateway idea! Lovely post!

  2. I hadn’t considered the gates as a gateway. However that is a good way to look at it. Water, of course, gives life, so a gateway to water is quite important, and it is to be revered. The ruby Torii gates are beautiful, the look of a culture and people that have been around with traditions far older than we…

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