Shinto – Speech
Shinto is the native religion in Japan with its roots stretching back to 500 B.C., and is a poly-theistic one venerating almost any natural objects ranging from mountains, rivers, water, rocks, trees. Shintoism is a purely Japanese religion, the origins of which are buried in the hazy mists of ancient Japanese history. It is one of the world’s oldest religions. The Japanese people have a fierce love for their land and believe that the Japanese islands were the very first divine creation. In fact, Shintoism teaches that no other land is divine, making Japan uniquely special in the world. Shinto teaches that everything contains a kami (神, "spiritual essence"?, commonly translated as god or spirit). Kami is generally accepted to describe the innate supernatural force that is above the actions of man, the realm of the sacred, and is inclusive of gods, spirit figures, and human ancestors. (impurity)
Shinto teaches that certain deeds create a kind of ritual impurity that one should want cleansed for one's own peace of mind and good fortune rather than because impurity is wrong. (purification)
Purification rites called Harae are a vital part of Shinto. They are done on a daily, weekly, seasonal, lunar, and annual basis. These rituals are the lifeblood of the practice of Shinto. 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 an optimistic faith, as humans are thought to be fundamentally good, and evil is believed to be caused by evil spirits. Consequently, the purpose of most Shinto rituals is to keep away evil spirits by purification, prayers and offerings to the kami. Shinto shrines are the places of worship and the homes of kami. Most shrines celebrate festivals (matsuri) regularly in order to show the kami the outside world. Please read more on our special information pages about shrines and festivals. Shinto priests perform Shinto...
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