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The Shinto Religion

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					The Shinto Religion
Brent Petersen

Basics
• Origin: Japan • When: 500 B.C.E or
• •
earlier Where: Japan Founded by: Unknown

• Demographics • Population: 2.8-3.2 million
is the estimate

• Geo distribution: Mainly
Japan but there are places all over the world

A Universal Religion
• Shinto is a universal religion; but it is
mainly practiced by those who are natives of Japan • Shinto is hard for foreigners to understand because it is pasted down from generation to generation through the family

Practices
• Worship takes place in many different
ways in the Shinto religion; from praying in home, shrines to participation in festivals, and even dancing the ritual dances called Kagura. “when girls perform, they must be virgins, and relatively young of age. Masked dances by men as well as single man dances are also common.” ( )
The way of the gods

Practices cont…
• “There are "Four Affirmations"in Shinto: • Tradition and the family: The family is seen as the main • •
mechanism by which traditions are preserved. Their main celebrations relate to birth and marriage. Love of nature: Nature is sacred; to be in contact with nature is to be close to the Gods. Natural objects are worshipped as sacred spirits. Physical cleanliness: Followers of Shinto take baths, wash their hands, and rinse out their mouth often. "Matsuri": The worship and honor given to the Kami and ancestral spirits.” (SHINTO)

•

General Beliefs
• Theistic religion to a certain extant • It is Polytheistic • There are thousands of Gods but only one
of them stands out and she is called Amaterasu the sun goddess • The thousands of other Gods are called Kami, who make up the rain, earth, sky, animals, ect…

The priesthood
• The Priest hood is loosly put together • There are women priests who make up
Shinto online network

“there are about two thousand female priests among twenty thousand priests in total” ( )

Priesthood cont…
• “There are six grades for the priesthood: the Superior,
the First, the Second, the Semi-Second, the Third, the Fourth grades. There are also five ranks for priesthood called Johkai, Meikai, Seikai, Gon-Seikai, Chokkai. As to grades above the semi-second, they are given only to those who have served in shrines for more than twenty years as priests, though they are some exceptional cases according to educational background and the rank of each priest. • To become Guji (or the chief priest),it is required to obtain ranks higher than Meikai in the case of serving for certain eminent shrines.” (Shinto online network associantion)

Creation story
• “creation story tells of the history and lives of the "Kami"
(deities). Among them was a divine couple, Izanagi-nomikoto and Izanami-no-mikoto, who gave birth to the Japanese islands. Their children became the deities of the various Japanese clans. Amaterasu Omikami (Sun Goddess) was one of their daughters. She is the ancestress of the Imperial Family and is regarded as the chief deity. Her shrine is at Ise. Her descendants unified the country. Her brother, Susano came down from heaven and roamed throughout the earth. He is famous for killing a great evil serpent.” (SHINTO)

Ethics
• “Shinto was originally a natural religion which became
into existence in a village community. So, the concept of a sin or of ethics is also form according to the value system of the community Sins described as Kunitsu-Tusmi include injury, murder including infant murder, incest, poisoning, cursing These human deeds were punished by the law as crimes at the time of Ritsu (the criminal laws)” (Shinto online network
associantion

• •

)

Sects
• The Shinto religion has four major sects
that follow the faith • Each sect in a way carries out it’s own Koshitsu duties • They are the Koshitou, Jinja, Kyoha, and the Minzoku

Koshitsu Shinto (The Shinto of the Imperial House
• “This involves rituals performed by the emperor,
who the Japanese Constitution defines to be the "symbol of the state and of the unity of the people." The most important ritual is Niinamesai, which makes an offering to the deities of the first fruits of each year's grain harvest. Male and female clergy (Shoten and Nai-Shoten) assist the emperor in the performance of these rites.” (Shinto)

Jinja (Shrine) Shinto
• “This is the largest Shinto group. It was the
original form of the religion; its roots date back into pre-history. Until the end of World War II, it was closely aligned with State Shinto. The Emperor of Japan was worshipped as a living God. Almost all shrines in Japan are members of Jinja Honcho, the Association of Shinto Shrines. It currently includes about 80,000 shrines as members. The association urges followers of Shinto” (Shinto)

Kyoha (Sectarian) Shinto (aka Shuha Shinto)
• ”This consists of 13 sects which were
founded by individuals since the start of the 19th century. Each sect has its own beliefs and doctrines. Most emphasize worship of their own central deity; some follow a near-monotheistic religion” • (Shinto)

Minzoku (Folk) Shinto this is not a separate Shinto group
• “it has no formal central organization or
creed. It is seen in local rural practices and rituals, e.g. small images by the side of the road, agriculture rituals practiced by individual families, etc. A rural community will often select a layman annually, who will be responsible for worshiping the local deity.” (Shinto)

Afterlife
• “According to the Shinto faith, a human
spirit is believed to remain forever like the spirit of Kami does. • It can be said that Shinto is not a religion which centralized its interests in the life after death, but in this world.” ( )
Shinto online network association

Works cited
• Shinto Online Network Association
• •
http://www.jinja.or.jp/english/ SHINTO http://www.religioustolerance.org/shinto. htm Shinto: The Way of the Gods http://www.trincoll.edu/zines/tj/tj4.4.96 /articles/cover.html The Shinto online network association http://www.jinja.or.jp/english/

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