Shinto Essay

2252 words - 9 pages

PAGE PAGE 1
Shinto "The indigenous religion of Japan"Sadman AyubSummaryThis paper will take an in depth look at a very popular and sacred religion in the east, Japan in particular, and the religion being Shinto. Shinto does not have a founder nor does it have sacred scriptures like the Quran or the Bible. Propaganda and expansion are not common either, because Shinto is deeply rooted in the Japanese people and traditions."Shinto gods" are called kami. They are sacred spirits which take the form of things and concepts important to life, such as wind, rain, mountains, trees, and rivers. In contrast to many monotheist religions, there are no absolutes in Shinto. There is no absolute right and wrong, and nobody is perfect. Shinto is a positive faith, as humans are thought to be primarily good, and evil is believed to be caused by evil spirits. Therefore, the purpose of most Shinto rituals is to keep away evil spirits by purification, prayers and offerings to the kami.IntroductionShinto ("the Way of the Gods") is the native religion of Japan. It is a religion resulting from animist and shamanic practices (worship of the sun, nature and the ancestors in particular.) Its followers honor countless divinities called Kami (in general, personified nature's forces, but also sacred ancestors, trees, stones, objects, etc...). It does not have holly texts and its mythology is partly described in two fundamental books: the Kojiki and the Nihongi. Shinto is the indigenous religion of Japan.HistoryThe Shinto religion's bases were established in the Yayoi era (~300 BC - ~300 AD) and organized in the 7th century to distinguish Shinto from Buddhism, which lately arrived from Korea. It is in 712 and 720 that the Kojiki and the Nihongi were written, on the orders of the Emperor Temmu. The introduction of Buddhism in the 6th century was followed by a few initial conflicts, however, the two religions were soon able to co-exist harmoniously and even complement each other. Many Buddhists viewed the kami as manifestations of Buddhas.In the Meiji Period, Shinto was made Japan's state religion. Shinto priests became state officials, important shrines started to receive governmental funding, Japan's creation myths were used to promote the emperor, and efforts were made to separate and set free Shinto from Buddhism. After the military defeat and the collapse of the Shinto state in 1945, Shinto and the state were finally separated.BeliefsIs Shinto a religion?Shinto is often called the 'Japanese religion', and has been a big influence on Japanese culture and valued for over 2000 years. But some writers think that Shinto is more than just a religion, it's no more or less than the Japanese way of looking at the world, because rituals are given more importance than belief in Shinto. Japanese people don't usually think of Shinto specifically as a religion, it's simply an aspect of Japanese life. This has allowed Shinto to co-exist happily with Buddhism for centuries. Shinto is...

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