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Home » 7. Concepts and Doctrines » Basic Terms
Harae
Purification. This refers to the process of purifying the mind and body of accumulated sins and defilements by means of ablutions (misogi) or other rites and recitations. Representative of these are ceremonies performed in the presence of the kami (shinzen) with silk and paper cuttings (heihaku). The term is also sometimes used to refer to the penalty (agamono) levied on those who transgress against the social order by bringing defilement (kegare) into festival grounds (saijō) and the community. In regard to festivals, the purification of mind and body on the occasion of the divine rites is also called yogoto-harai [blessing ceremony], as opposed to the magagoto-harai which is a ceremony to ward off calamities and invite good fortune. In ancient times, there were also the terms yoshi-no-harae and ashi-no-harae, lit. 'good purification' and 'evil purification.' Suzuki Shigetane interprets the former as penalty for undetected sins and the latter as the penalty for detected sins.

— Nishioka Kazuhiko
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
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