Friday 13 January 2012

The Causes of Impurity

As discussed in the last post, purity is important during ritual and temple worship.  Now I shall discuss some of the common causes of impurity.  Impurity causes bad health, ill fortune, and does not allow you to stand before the deities.

One common cause of impurity is pollution and uncleanliness.  This includes contact with anything taboo.  The most common unclean substances are bodily fluids such as blood and semen.  Other sources include contact with corpses or the dead.  These can be passed on if one is near others who are unclean.  In order to cleanse oneself of this impurity, one should take a ritual bath before beginning a ritual or making a sacrifice.

Another source of impurity is deeds.  If you have behaved in a sinful way, you may be impure as a result of your actions. 

Ghosts and evil spirits can also cause impurity.  Coming into contact with ghosts makes one impure, and evil spirits can also cause impurity.  Related to this is the idea of good thoughts and a state of mind, as avoiding evil will ensure that one is clean.  Evil spirits may also contaminate food or drink which is left out overnight, even within your own house.  Unclean spirits also cause uncleanliness.  Going without a bath means poor hygiene, which attracts demons.  Said demons then make a person unclean, and they will continue to grow worse over several days.  Washing the hands and mouth are especially important.

Fate is another source of impurity.  If something bad comes to pass, it may not always be the fault of the individual, but circumstance may still make them impure.

Not providing for the ancestors is another source of impurity, as they may be offended, and in some cases may return as a ghost.

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