Interpretation Book

 

Article on Shinto Religion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Symbol of Shinto Religion:

A torii is a traditional Japanese gate most commonly found at the entrance of or within a Shinto shrine, where it symbolically marks the transition from the profane to the sacred.

 

Origin:

Shinto religion was formed in 500BC.Its place of birth is JAPAN.They have 3000,000  followers all over the world.Their diety is Polytheistic. Shinto ("the way of the Kami") is the name of the formal state religion of Japan that was first used in the 6th century C.E., although the roots of the religion go back to at least the 6th century B.C.E. Shinto has no founder, no official sacred texts, and no formalized system of doctrine. Shinto has been formative in developing uniquely Japanese attitudes and sensitivities, creating a distinct Japanese consciousness

 

 

HISTORY:

The traditional belief system of Japan has no fundamental creeds or written teachings, and is not particularly evangelical. However it resonates with a veneration for Japanese tradition and the invisible presence of innumerable spiritual powers, or kami.

 

Thus the spiritual insights attributed to Japan’s ancient inhabitants are regarded as just as valid now as throughout all the vicissitudes of history. Shinto is essentially a body of ritual to relate with kami in a way that is respectful, warm, open, positive and vibrant.

 

Local festivals have become so much part of social life and enshrine so much traditional Japanese morality and social behavior that participation seems natural common-sense, good neighborliness and part of being Japanese. Shinto has thus become a vehicle for many themes, and need not operate merely on the basis of conscious ‘belief’.  Kami  was originally chosen by government in the seventh century to distinguish ‘traditional’ worship from Buddhism.

 

Beliefs:

Instead of the Christian Ten Commandments, Shintoism contains a said Four Affirmations:

 

1.Tradition and family “The main mechanism by which traditions are preserved” (1 http://www.jref.com/japan/culture/religion/shinto.shtml)

 

2.Physical Cleanliness Must provide a clean physical appearance e.g purification.

 

3.Love of Nature Nature is a sacred element in this world. Kami are related to all nature, so worshipping and care of nature is essential.

 

4.Matsuri The festivals where Kami are celebrated

 

Misconceptions:

1) Shinto is a strictly Japanese religion, or is only relevant to Japan.

Perhaps the most common error in the interpretation of Shinto, within the Western world, even by some professors of religion I have observed, the idea that one must be Japanese, or live in Japan, to practice Shinto, or pray to the Kami, is not true. The Kami are in everything in the world, and not just within the islands of Japan. Just as there are local and ancestral Kami within Japan, so too are there local and ancestral Kami within every other country, continent and household. Everything in existence contains a Kami, and this is without exception.

 

2) You need to visit a shrine, or own a kamidana (home shrine) to worship or pray to the Kami.

It is generally recommended that one have a kamindana, or a shrine they can visit, to worship and revere the Kami at, and where they can partake in rituals. This is partial because the shrines can serve as 'hotspots', for lack of a better word, for the Kami which is enshrined within it, but this does not make them mandatory in order to perform Shinto rituals or prayers. The Kami are in everything in this world, and thus it is possible to communicate with the Kami even without any form of proper shrine.

 

3) The Kami have set genders (ie. Amaterasu-Ōmikami is female and Susanoo-no-Mikoto is male)

 

The term Kami itself carries no weight of gender specification, and serves to be a unisex word to refer to the deities of the world. Kami are depicted as one gender or another, in my opinion, because these are simply the ways that we have grown to commonly display them. This being the case, there are also Kami which have no common portrayal on the basis of gender.

 

4)Shinto has no beliefs about afterlife.

 

5) Only men may form the clergy in Shinto. Females may be shrine maidens (Miko), but not priests.