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Early Religions

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Justine Tupe

on 27 September 2012

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Transcript of Early Religions

S H I N T O THE SACRED RELIGION OF JAPAN key beliefs religious text ceremonies holy days practices & rituals Derived from the Chinese characters Shin (divinity) and Tao (the way or path) Shinto believers are obligated to visit Shinto shrines at specific stages during their life. An example of this is called Shichigosan Matsuri which involves followers during their youth (girls aged three-seven and boys aged five) Similarly to Paganism, the main matsuri’s occur during the first day of each season such as Soltices and Equinoxes. Ex/ Oshogatsu or the New Year. There are also smaller festivals like the Hana Matsuri, National Founding Day in Feburary, the Star Festival, Gion Festival in Kyoto, the Takayama Festival in Hida, and the Chichibu Festival northwest of Tokyo, where huge floats follow the Shinto followers as they make their way to the shrine. Shinto Holy Days= Matsuri Believers practice "misogi,", the washing of their bodies in a river near the shrine. Recently followers simply wash their hands and wash out their mouths in a wash basin provided within the shrine grounds. The reason why they bathed in the sea is because they believe that the sea is infinite and that it is able to swallow any impurities within them. Kami: Spirits that exist everywhere; high or superior being. The kami can be anything such as trees, rocks, ligtening, or water. No absolute right or wrong. No one is perfect, but all are accepted. Kami is explained and began in the stories of two key deities. Izanagi and Izanami; brother and sister; descended from a rainbow striped floating bridge of heaven. Izanagi dipped his sword into the sea, the mythical process that resulted in the formation of the Japanese islands began. They eventually married and gave birth to a number of other deities (Gods) each of the children owned a certain part of nature. Izanami died while giving birth to the fire god, Humo-subi, she then descended to the land of darkness. Iznagi was overcome with grief and chopped the fire god into pieces with his sword. Each piece of the fire god became a new deity. Iznagi went on a search in the land of darkness for Izanami. He found her in a dark corner but she did not want to see him because she had eaten the foods of the underworld and was sentenced to remain there. They tried to plead her release to the Gods, but Izanami only agreed on the condition that Izanagi could not look at her. Izanagi became impatient and went and looked at Izanami and found her rotting in the corner of the darkness. Izanami was so angry that he had seen her that she chased him out of the underworld and put a rock at the gate to Earth so that he couldn’t get back in. Izanagi dove into the river to clean himself because he felt dirty for breaking his promise. As he bathed, new deities were born. When he washed his nose Susano-o goddess of the sea was born, when he washed his right eye Tsuki-Yomi the moon god was born, and when cleaning his left eye Amaterasu the sun goddess was born. Amaterasu is the most important deity in the Shinto beliefs. She represents hope and prosperity. The sun on the flag of Japan is a tribute to how important Amaterasu is to the Japanese people. The Emperor of Japan is believed to be a direct descendant of Amaterasu. Origin of Shinto... Nihongi, The Age of the Gods, Book 1

Kojiki, The Age of the Gods, Book 2

These books consist of sacred texts that the Emperor Gemmyo ordere to be put in writing during the 8th century CE. Shinto is the native religion in Japan with its roots stretching back to 500 B.C. Roughly the same time as Zoroastrianism, Jainism, Taoism, and Confucianism. Shinto was able to coexist with other religious movements. When Chinas religions made its way to Japan in 200CE, Shinto embraced the positive aspects of both Taoism and Confucianism, as well as in 552 CE when Buddhism arrived in Japan, Shinto adapted many of its morals. With the combination of the three faiths, Shinto eventually became absorbed with Buddhism. TimeFrame... Key Figures Shinto does not have a founder nor does it have sacred scriptures
like the sutras or the bible. Shinto is deeply rooted in the Japanese
people and traditions. The beliefs last till the second world war when Japan was defeated. The patriotism of the Shinto state was condemned by the allied powers at the end of the war and the Japanese were forced to abolish state Shinto in 1945. Emperor Hirohito was so humiliated he apologized to the Sun goddess, Amaterasu, at one of the most significant shrine dedicated to the Shinto religion. A Shinto Shrine Unlike many western religions, shrines are made as a peaceful dwelling place for Kami’s to find rest and for followers to serve and worship. There are built surrounded by natural habitats in effort for worshippers to find peace and harmony. “The beauty of nature that surrounds them helps to move the worshipper from the mundane world into the higher and deeper divine world, which helps us to transform our lives into a closer fellowship with the kami.” Shrines will often have priests to guard the shrine-- not to teach. What is a Shrine? Practices Shubatsu: a purification ritual based from the myth that Inzanagi-no-mikoto performed misogi after seeing his wife in Yomi. This ritual is performed as an invitation to the kami to appear and so that the follower is able to stand in the presence of the god with a pure mind and body. Afterwards the ritual is continued with the beating of drums Rituals when entering a shrine When you enter a shrine it can either be for a festival or more personal worship. If you are going to enter for.... 2002 March (cc) image by jantik on Flickr FESTIVAL PERSONAL WORSHIP The main ritual is then announced with the beating of a drum. The priest will bow in front of the altar signalling the inner door to the sanctuary is opened. Once the chanting and bowing is completed, a food offering to the kami is made. The music played is usually ancient instruments, normally from the flute family such as: the fue, hichiriki, and the sho. The music is followed by prayers (Norito) and then with the sacred dance Kagura. In order to announce the end of the ceremony a symbolic offering is made using branches from evergreen trees. If the festival is more formal, then it is followed by a (Naorai) feast. When an individual goes to worship at a shrine there is also a format that they follow. After the ritual cleansing (Misogi) the worshipper proceeds toward the altar and rings the bell that hangs before the altar. This is to alert the kami to your presence. Then you would present your offerings or toss coins into the offering box. After this the worshipper bows deeply twice, and claps their hands. Shinto believes that human communicate with the infinite through sound. The finish the ritual, the worshipper bows once again. Kagura are ritual dances with back ground ancient musical instruments. The dances are performed by skilled and trained dancers such as young girls, a group of men, or one man. Rituals Ceremonies HOLY DAYS Shrine decorated for Oshogatsu (New Year) Shinto worshippers lining before a shrine during a Holy Day origin of shinto key founders symbols Worship of Kami is done at public shrines or small worship shrines called Kamidana. A shrine is a place where you can worship. There are also natural shrines called a Mori. The most common of Mori’s are sacred groves of trees, mountains, or waterfalls. All shrines are open to the public at some times or throughout the year. Torii Gate This is a gate that marks the entrance to a scared area. This gate represents the transition between the finite world and the infinite world of the gods. Maneki Neko is a cat used as a good luck charm and can be found around many homes and businesses in Japan. Tomoe This means turning or circular referring to the rotation of the earth. The Tomoe is related to the yin yang symbol and has a similar meaning. It is usually made up of interlocking flames or Magatama resembling tad poles. Magatama It is an ancient Japanese emblem. The original emblem was small animal-tooth shaped usually made from jade, bone or horn. These appeared in Japanese burial sites around 1000 BCE. According to Shinto legend, a necklace of magatama was one of the items hung outside the cave of the sun goddess Amaterasu, and is counted among the three ‘treasures’ of the Japanese imperial regalia. Other Symbols Koma-inu is “guard dogs" that face each other within the temple grounds. Animals are believed to be the messenger of the gods.

Mamori are worn in an aid in healing and protecting. They come in many forms.

Rows of lanterns are proof of the Shinto gods.

A rope around a sacred object is used to separate the holy world from our world.
big impact on japanese culture
traditions practiced today originated from shinto beliefs
impacts world politics
influences Sumo Wrestling
influences on Anime (plot normally has avery shinto way of thinking)
Japanese Canadian culture centre located in toronto is an informed preserver of shinto beliefs and traditions
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