Shinto Faith

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  • Topic: Shinto, Japanese mythology, Amaterasu
  • Pages : 6 (2121 words )
  • Download(s) : 266
  • Published : January 3, 2002
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Shintoism is an ancient religion that originated in Japanese culture. Shinto is a general term for the activities of the people of Japanese descent to worship all the deities of heaven and earth, and at the end of the 6th century the Japanese were conscious of these activities and called them the "Way of Kami" (the deity or the deities)'. The practice of Shintoism finally recognized when Yomei, the 31st Emperor of Japan, prayed before an image of Buddha for the first time as an emperor for recovery of his illness. Then Yomei accepted Buddhism, a foreign religion, the Japanese realized existence of a tradition of their own faith.

The Shinto faith is based on Japanese mythology. One of the most important mythological stories in the Shinto religion is the "Creation Story". The Shinto believes that Japanese are originally given birth by the couple of deities named Izanagi and Izanami. They had Kami nature in them. So, it is the utmost importance for every individual Japanese that one should endeavour oneself to help and assist the emperor, the ascendant of Amaterasu Ohmikami, whose mission was to make the land prosperous and stable, and to make the land where the human life can be meaningful and joyful. Accordingly, to live means to work, and basically working is the source of joy. This belief is considered to be the base of the Japanese ethics as well as the Shinto philosophy of life. This is because the individual life is, of course, given by the parents; yet, the root of the life is imbedded in Kami.

According to the Shinto faith, a human spirit is believed to remain forever like the spirit of Kami does. The spirit, however, is not conceived as a substantial existence. It is believed because of its work, and the places where the spirit dwells. Are often mentioned as the other world. In each other world, there live Kami. The most well known other world is ‘the other world of Heaven' where the most venerable deities live, and then it comes to 'the other world of Yomi' where Izanami, the deity who gave birth to the land of Japan lives. This world is to believed to be underground, and it is believed to have the connection with the habit of burial of the dead. The third other world is called 'Tokoyo; which is believed to exist somewhere beyond the sea. According to the Shinto faith there is a belief of the other world in the Mountains. The Shinto faith also believes that graveyards were on a hill, which has a panoramic view over a village. Also a fact that people of Shinto descent often express their wish to watch their descendants even after their death. These other worlds, however, are not described as Heaven or Hell. The Shinto believe these other worlds are no different at all from this world. It reflects a faith in the spirit of the dead who can visit this world if people make a ritual to revere the spirit, like the divine spirits visit this world whenever people show their reverence by holding festivals. There is also a faith in that Kami and ancestral spirits protect their descendants as far as the descendants continue to hold festivals. It can be said that Shinto is not a religion, which centralized its interests in the life after death, but in this world.

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 formed according to the value system of the community: that is to wish prosperous continuation and development of the community. It is the same consciousness to hold rites and festivals.

Accordingly the Shinto concept of the sin and also the concept of the Shinto ethics have no identical difference from the secular sin or social ethics, which is taught through the social education in order to, support the continuous development of the community. Historically, it was the time of Emperor Suiko, the 33rd Emperor (593-628 B.C) when Japan started to rise as a nation, forming its administrative structure, from the stage...
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