Re: Shinto

Discussion in 'Eastern Religions and Philosophies' started by HanadaTattsu, Jan 7, 2004.

  1. HanadaTattsu

    HanadaTattsu New Member

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    Okay, I decided to completely base my report on Basho not only on Buddhism but on Shinto as well. But Shinto is a lot more disorganized than Buddhism, so I just wanna make sure that its correct. Okay, please read and reply with corrections. Thanks!
    Nobody, not even the Japanese, are sure where Shinto came from. Today, most historians believe that elements of this indigenous Japanese religion came from some parts of the Ainu's shamanistic religion, and some even from Southeast Asia and Polynesia. Whatever the case, by the time of Buddhism's arrival, Shinto had already become a religion for a long time.
    Shinto is a lot more disorganized than Buddhism. It has no founder, no blunt sects, and its churches are small jinja, or shrine in Japanese. Thus, Shinto was usually practiced in adherence to Buddhism.
    Shinto preached that the Emperor of Japan was divine, but not that he was a living God. It preached that he was the decendent of Amaterasu and thus was the descendent of the Sun Goddess, but he was not a living God.
    The two most important books of Shinto at this time were the Nihongi, and the Kojiki, written in the 600's and the 700's respectively to show the Emperor of the Chinese Empire that the Japanese Yamato dynasty was older than the Chinese dynasty and thus was a soverign kingdom.
    In the process, however, the writers of these books made up names of 28 soverigns, the first being Jimmu Tenno, the Emperor that ascended from heaven. The next 28 rulers are thought to be fictional.
    However, the disorginization of Shinto made it seem subordinate to Buddhism, but according to the Imperial Court in the capitals at Nara and then at Kyoto, Buddhism was considered indeed a subordinate religion.
    Shinto and Buddhism were thus practiced along side with each other until the Kamakura Shogunate gained power. Then, Shinto was still widely practiced, but it did not grow. Buddhism was the one that grew, with successful sects like Nichiren, Jodo, and Zen coming out of old Chinese teachings.
    Shinto was almost forgotten until the 17th century, when the Tokugawa Shogunate came to power. Because Tokugawa Ieyasu was afraid of the power of the Hongwanji temples, he reminded the people of Shinto, and thus a small revival began, but by the time of Japanese Isolation and the Edo Period, it was over. This all changed in 1868.
    In 1868, after Japan had been opened from isolation, the Emperor Meiji overthrew the faltering Tokugawa Shogunate and became an absolute monarch in his own right, known as the Meiji Revolution, or more peacefully, His Majesty's Restoration.
    Meiji did not like Buddhism as much as he did not like Christianity, and Buddhism was frowned upon. But if Meiji did not prefer Buddhism or Christianity, what did he prefer? Why, Shinto, of course.
    Starting in 1868, Shinto split in two types. Some regard these as two "sects", but I'll get to that later. Shinto split in two, State Shinto, which was supported by the Government, and the official religion, and Kyoha Shinto, or Sect Shinto. Sect Shinto was basically made up of 13 small "sects", the largest of which is Tenrikyo. These sub-sects of Sect Shinto were not supported by the government.
    When His Majesty the Emperor Showa (Hirohito) ascended the throne in 1928, the Imperial Army made him a living God, something that had never been done. The emperor was divine, but he was now the son of heaven.
    After World War II ended in 1945, the Americans occupied Japan. In 1946, General Douglas MacArthur abolished State Shinto, ending state control of Shinto. Sect Shinto, however, was unchanged because of the loss of its superior "boss" sect.
    Today, Shinto is split in 4. Sect Shinto remains, with 13 sub-sects, the largest of which are Tenrikyo and Kurozomikyo. However, many Japanese believe that only devout Shintoists belong to these sects, some of which preach going to a church that's not really a Christian church, but a Shinto church. Some are monotheistic, which is not what Shinto is suppsoed to be about.
    The next form is Folk Shinto. Folk Shinto can be considered to be a shamanistic religion, it is mostly practiced in rural areas or in the far south where it is more agricultaral than urban. It is probably the third most popular form of Shinto, third to its Sect form.
    The next form is considered by some to not be a form at all. It is the Shinto of the Imperial House, the kind practiced by the Emperor and his family. However, this is not considered to be a form of Shinto by many, mainly because only the Imperial Family practices it.
    What can be debated to be the largest and most influential Shinto form is Jinja Shinto, or Shrine Shinto. This is based that Shinto is practiced at a shrine, and that the people would go to a shrine and pray to the Kami-sama's. This is what became of State Shinto, and Shrine Shinto is the most popular form.
    When you ask people "What sects are there of Shinto" they usually say Tenrikyo, Konyokono, Kurozomikyo, and start listing the Sect Shinto sects. However, the four types of Shinto can also be considered sects. Because their practice is different, especially between Jinja and Sect Shinto. Sect Shinto is at times a monotheistic religion, and Jinja is the common form.
    Many people regard those four types as forms, but is it true that they can be classified as sects, and those small forms of Shinto sects sub-sects? Or are those four forms not regarded when studying Shinto, and only the Shinto sects can be classified?
    I don't know, because the Shinto sects have each like 300,000-3 million followers, if Tenrikyo is the largest, it has 3 million people. And the population of Japan is 140 million. So there is no way that the only Shinto sects are the forms of Sect Shinto. That's why I'm wondering if those four forms are also regarded as sects?
    And also, I'm comparing it to Buddhism, in a sense. Buddhism has its Therevada and Mahayana mainstream form. Mahayana has four forms in Japanese Buddhism, Zen, Nichiren, Pure Land, and Tendai. Pure Land can be regarded as Jinja, the mainstream. Tendai can be regarded as Kohitsu, the refined form practised by the Emperor. Zen can be Folk Shinto, and Nichiren could be Sect Shinto. Nichiren's sub-sects, Nichiren-shu, Nichiren Sho-shu, and Soka Gakkai could be considered Sect Shinto sub-sects. Tenrikyo, a Sect Shinto sub-sect, since 1970, has not regarded itself as a Shinto sect, like Soka Gakkai, which declared itself independent of Nichiren.
    So, can the four forms be regarded as sects/types?
    Thanks, please read and reply with comments and/or corrections.
    :) :bow:
     
  2. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    Apologies that I haven;t had time to read this as yet - my kids are up and need preparing for bed.

    Have you read the Shinto part of this site?

    http://www.comparative-religion.com/shinto/

    I've only read the opener, but I'm actually under the impression that the Japanese, as a people, would see Shinto as originating principly through the cultural line that flows from the Kojiki and Nihongi. However, my understanding of Eastern religious and philosophical beliefs is extremely limited.
     
  3. Kaldayen

    Kaldayen Spiritual ronin

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    Actually Brian, Shinto is much older than the Kojiki or the Nihongi. Those two texts aren't holy writings in any way but historical records.

    HanadaTattsu :
    According to The Kami Way by Sokyo Ono, they were written respectively in 712 and 720.

    Also, I'm not sure you could class every citizen of Japan in a definite faith. A teacher of mine once said that in a survey, 90% answered they were shintoists, 50% buddhists and 10% christians... for a total of 150% of the population... :rolleyes: syncretism really is inherant to the japanese faith and I would imagine it's the same for the different "sects".

    I can imagine Shrine Shinto was less popular at that time but can we say all forms of Shinto were almost forgotten? Being a part of the life of the people, was it ever forgotten for most of them?

    Anyway, your text is really great :) Thanks for all the useful information it contains!

    Kal
     
  4. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    No problem, Kaldayen. :)

    I didn't actually think that Shinto started with those works - but they do seem to be an important point of reference, and appear the earliest literary focus outside of the other traditions.

    Still, though, it's interesting even then how open everything remains. I'm actually very surprised by the lack of canonical works - the fact that no reading is mandatory, like certain other faith canons can be.
     
  5. HanadaTattsu

    HanadaTattsu New Member

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    Thanks for reading guys!

    Wow Brian, you're from Yorkshire? My aunt has been there, and isn't that where James Harriot was from? I love England, its my second favorite country, second to Japan, and I wanna move there. Are you Anglican?

    The Nihongi and Kojiki were the first time Shinto was mentioned, but it has been alive since Prehistory, during the time of the aborginal inhabitants.

    BTW, does England have aborginals?
     
  6. Vapour

    Vapour New Member

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    wow, your post is just a bit too long. The last paragraph seems to contain a question. Can you shorten your question a bit. :)
     
  7. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    I'm from Yorkshire - and still here - but not the pretty side of it. James Herriot was a bit more to the left (geographically) from where I am - I'm towards the flat area near the east coast. Have to say I actually want to move out - Scotland seems very appealing, as does anywhere with a sense of wilderness. :)

    Not Anglican though - not anything excepting myself, though Christianity is heavility ingrained in the British education establishment.

    As for aboriginals in England - that threw myself at first, as a rather strange question. However, Britian entire has enjoyed periodic invasions/migrations from north western Europe for millenia, so there's no sense of a pure original "English stock", as much as a cosmopolitan mix of different cultural experssions. :)

    And how did it go with your essay on Shinto, if I may ask? :)
     
  8. Avinash

    Avinash New Member

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    Maybe the Celts could be called the British aboriginals although there were other people on the islands before the Celts arrived from other parts of northwestern Europe?
     
  9. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    The Celts generally moved in about 400 BC, when they went on the march from Central Western Europe. I think the Picts are a traditional British culture that was displaced by the Celts in Britain, but I would have to check my notes. Either way, neither the Picts nor the Celts were the culture that built the famous British monloiths - though there are strong European connections with them - for example, see here Stoneage king was "Swiss".

    There's a little more written up about the Celts elsewhere on the site: The Celts.
     

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