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I Got A 94 On This One My Teacher Says That My Explaination Of The Shinto And Buddhist Religions Were Quite Precise.

1547 words - 6 pages

Religion in Japanese HistoryShinto was the earliest Japanese religion, its obscure beginnings dating back at least to the middle of the first millennium B.C. Until the sixth century A.D., when the Japanese began a period of rapid adoption of continental civilization, it existed as an amorphous mix of nature worship, fertility cults, divination techniques, hero worship, and shamanism. The word Shinto, or "the Way of the kami (gods or spirits)," came into use only after the sixth century, when the Japanese sought to distinguish their own tradition from the foreign religions of Buddhism and Confucianism that they were then encountering. Thus, in its origins, Shinto was the religion of a pristine people who, above all, were sensitive to the spiritual forces that pervaded the world of nature in which they lived. As one ancient chronicle reports in their world myriad spirits shone like fireflies and every tree and bush could speak. Worship in Shinto is undertaken to express gratitude to the gods and to secure their continued favor. Worship may take the form of one of the many large communal festivals that occur at fixed times during the year, celebrating such events as spring planting, the fall harvest, or some special occasion in the history of a shrine. However, it may also be carried out privately in a much-abbreviated fashion in the home or at the neighborhood shrine. Although a festival may continue for several days, shifting at times in mood from the solemn to the lighthearted or even raucous, individual worship may require only a few moments to complete. In spite of such contrasts, both types of Shinto worship have three essential elements in common. Both begin with the all-important act of purification, which ordinarily involves the use of water; in both an offering is presented to the kami, today usually money but often food and in both a prayer or petition is made. We may further note that in general Shinto worship is performed at a shrine. These structures, which are made only of natural materials and located on sites selected for their abodes for the kami rather than as shelters for the worshipers. Unlike Buddhism, Christianity, or Islam, it had no founder and it did not develop, scriptures, dogmas, and creeds, worship has always had a central place in the religion. Rather than through sermons or study, it has been through its festivals and rituals, as well as the physical features of the shrine itself, that Shinto has transmitted its characteristic attitudes and values. Most prominent among these are a sense of gratitude and respect for life, a deep appreciation of the beauty and power of nature, a love of purity and by extension cleanliness, and a preference for the simple and unadorned in the area of aesthetics. Shinto does not have as fully developed a theology as do most other religions. Their religious texts discuss the High Plain of Heaven and the Dark Land, which is an unclean land of the dead, but give few details. Shinto creation...

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