Encyclopedia of Shinto
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|7. Concepts and Doctrines
The same as saikai (purification through abstinence) and monoimi (abstinence). It is the purification of body and mind prior to a rite through the avoidance of contact with ritual pollution (kegare); this is done in order to perfect the qualifications of the person who serves as the attendant priest. From the ancient past there have been two kinds of kessai: araimi and maimi (+). The Ryōnogige describes the araimi as continuing for one month and the maimi for three days. With araimi one practices asceticism in daily life by avoiding polluted activities and things such as visiting people in mourning, eating meat and contact with blood. In maimi one retreats from daily life, performing rituals such as ablutions (misogi) and devoting oneself exclusively to worship. Kessai is a distinctive activity of Shintō praxis, which reveres purity.
+Translator's note: Araimi is written 散斎 or 荒忌, maimi is written 致斎 or 真忌.
— Tsushiro Hirofumi