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Principles And Beliefs Of Shinto

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Would you believe if I said there is no absolute right or wrong and that nobody is perfect and that all humans are thought to be fundamentally good? Well, in fact, Shinto is not a religion of the westerly but rather a characteristic of Japanese life, but to completely understand this I have detected and evaluated Shintoism and its search for its significance.

Shinto or Shintoism is an immanent ancient Japanese polytheistic religion with over three million followers. The word Shinto means the “way of the kami”, which refers to the Gods and spirits that are worshipped in the Shinto. It is believed that the world was created by two Karmi who threw ‘a great spear into the ocean’ which then was pulled out, making water drip from the tip, and created the island. This is where they descended and gave birth to the other islands of Japan and the other kami.

One of the oldest sacred texts of Shinto describes the origin of Japan to be recognised as a divine country, as the lore states that all other countries were created by natural causes.

Although, “Shinto having strong and concise mythology, it has little actual beliefs”, most of the moral rules are that Shinto followers believe in the explanation of mythology as there are no written laws. For example, it is believed that death and purity, are seen as “unclean and impure.”While in many other religions death and purity are seen as a way to be closer to God(s). An example is seen in the mythology when Izanami gives birth to the fire Kami, she burns and dies. Izanagi goes to find her, in which he discovers her rotting and festering in hell. He then flees in revolt, cleansing himself with salt water from the oceans.

Kami are the supernatural beings of Japan, which is the driving force of Shinto religion. Kami are descendants of religion and exist in the natural world, they are not perfect as kami can make mistakes just as any human and be killed as well as any human.

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Although not all Kami can be God’s, some Kami can in fact be evil. The Shinto idea of kami displays both animistic and human-like aspects, meaning that there is no set way to understand these spirits. Both have important roles in the Shinto faith, as there is no Shinto law or moral ethics. This means that all beliefs must be appropriated from mythology and the actions of important karmi.

Festivals and rituals play an integral role in the Shinto religions and the Japanese culture, not only with the individual but also with the wider community. At the festivals, rituals, songs, and dances are commemorated while communities make offerings to the kami in the form of food such as vegetables, fruit, fish, and rice, which are shared in a feast, which then the kami provides them with spiritual energy with also bringing people together.

Death is seen as immoral in Shinto beliefs, as purification rituals are a central part of the Shinto lifestyle. This can be done at home, but is more common, in a shrine. This is done with water, which purifies the person of evil spirits. “Misogi” is another purification ritual, which involves the cleansing of the entire body. Every year, many groups travel to various spiritually connected waterfalls, lakes, and rivers to perform Misogi. Another way of purification is by voiding taboo subjects. For example, ‘one may not visit a shrine’ if a family member has died recently. Which is a way of keeping individuals and the community pure

Shinto seeks to enlighten people to the spirits that pervade the natural world. Which has a great influence on its community, as it pushes people to remember and follow the example of their ancestors. This is done through rituals and festivals to unite the community, enlightening them to their environment and spirituality.

Shinto, Is seen as very is similar to the beliefs of the indigenous Australians, as it connects its believers to every aspect of the environment and world. As they combine the spiritual, supernatural world with the natural one, making people feel more connected to the divine.

Allowing them to search for meaning, as Kami can protect and banish evil from people’s lives, by worshipping and respecting the Kami, people feel as if they are expelling evil from their lives and that there is more meaning beyond their own life and existence.

Bibliography

  1. Bbc.co.uk,(2015). BBC-Religions-Shinto: Kami. http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/shinto/beliefs/kami_1.shtml
  2. Boyd, J. W., & Williams, R. G. (2005). Japanese Shintō: An Interpretation of a Priestly Perspective. Philosophy East & West, 55(1), 33. https://doi.org/10.1353/pew.2004.0039
  3. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=sso&db=f5h&AN=15025839&authtype=sso&custid=s9503111
  4. Childress, D. (1998). Understanding Shinto. Calliope, 8(7), 4. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=sso&db=f5h&AN=350269&authtype=sso&custid=s9503111
  5. Furphy, H. (2015). Shinto: An Ancient Religion. Shinto: An Ancient Religion. http://theancientshinto.weebly.com/
  6. Hylton, R. P. (2020). Birth of Shintō. Salem Press Encyclopedia. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=sso&db=tol&AN=89454409&authtype=sso&custid=s9503111
  7. Lutz, R. C. (2013). Izanami-no-Mikoto. Critical Survey of Mythology & Folklore: Love, Sexuality & Desire, 533–541. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=sso&db=lkh&AN=88265587&authtype=sso&custid=s9503111

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Principles And Beliefs Of Shinto. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved October 7, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/principles-and-beliefs-of-shinto/
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Principles And Beliefs Of Shinto [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 17 [cited 2022 Oct 7]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/principles-and-beliefs-of-shinto/
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