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Religion in Shogunate Japan

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Scott Shackleton

on 26 April 2013

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Transcript of Religion in Shogunate Japan

Religion in
Shogunate Japan Religion has always been an important aspect of Japanese culture & life. Over time, it has helped to shape the social & political structures within it. As with the western world, many traditional Japanese celebrations and festivals are based around the religious or spiritual beliefs of the people. Can you come up with examples of western festivals or celebrations based on religious belief & practice? Tea ceremony: It grew from the custom of Zen Buddhist monks drinking tea from a single bronze bowl in front of a statue of their founder, Budhidharma, during their act of worship. It captures all the elements of Japanese philosophy and artistic beauty, and interweaves four principles - harmony (with people and nature), respect (for others), purity (of heart and mind), and tranquility. Japaneses Star Festival: On this day, people write their wishes on colorful strips of paper called tanzaku. The Star festival originated from the ancient and tragic Chinese tale, Kikkoden. Write your wish on one of the strips of paper (don't include your name). In small groups use the internet to find another significant Japanese religious festival or celebration. You must identify how it began, how it is celebrated and why it is celebrated. Shinto and Buddhism are Japan's two major religions. Shinto is as old as the Japanese culture, while Buddhism was imported from the mainland in the 6th century. Since then, the two religions have been co-existing relatively harmoniously and have even complemented each other to a certain degree. Shinto * The oldest set of beliefs in Japan * Strong connections with nature * Kami are sacred spirits found in all aspects of the natural world * Kami influence our daily lives (creativity, disease and healing) * According to this belief, when you die you become kami * Temples offer believers the opportunity to show respect to their ancestors, but worshippers can pray almost anywhere. * Regardless of where you worship, there is a highly ritualised process which takes place. Whilst watching the following video, look out for the twelve rituals which take place before entering, and whilst in a Shinto shrine. .1. Purification (occurs before ceremony starts)
.2. Adoration (bowing to altar)
.3. Opening of the sanctuary
.4. Presentation of food
.5. Prayers
.6. Music & dance
.7. Offerings (twigs from a sacred tree)
.8. Removal of offerings
.9. Closing the sanctuary
.10. Final adoration
.11. Sermon (optional)
.12. Ceremonial meal (often simply drinking sake) Write a short paragraph which describes the Shinto religion (use your notes and any other research). Describe......when it began, any rituals/beliefs assosciated with it and any other relevant or interesting information. Buddhism * Introduced to Japan, from China in the 6th Century * Initially adopted by the wealthy, but eventually by all levels of society * Based around discipline and meditation * Samurai were drawn to it as they too valued discipline The 4 Noble Truths
of Buddhism 1. The truth of suffering (dukkha)

2. The truth of the cause of suffering (samudaya)

3. The truth of the end of suffering (nirhodha)

4. The truth of the path that frees us from suffering (magga) In eight small groups research the eightfold path. Each group is responsible for one of the eight paths to enlightement. Report your findings back to the class. .1. The right view
.2. The right resolve
.3. The right speech
.4. The right behaviour
.5. The right occupation
.6. The right effort
.7. The right contemplation
.8. The right concentration Zen Buddhism * Zen Buddhism is a mixture of Indian Mahayana Buddhism and Taoism.

* It began in China, spread to Korea and Japan, and became very popular in the West from the mid 20th century.

* The essence of Zen is attempting to understand the meaning of life directly, without being misled by logical thought or language.

* According to Zen Buddhism, all human beings are Buddha, and that all they have to do is to discover that truth for themselves. Koan Meditiation

Close your eyes, think about the following Koans.

An easy one..... "In clapping both hands a sound is heard; what is the sound of one hand?"

A hard one......Nansen saw the monks of the eastern and western halls fighting over a cat. He seized the cat and told the monks: `If any of you say a good word, you can save the cat.'
No one answered. So Nansen boldly cut the cat in two pieces.

That evening Joshu returned and Nansen told him about this. Joshu removed his sandals and, placing them on his head, walked out.

Nansen said: `If you had been there, you could have saved the cat.' Confucianism * Based upon the teachings of a Chinese holy man, Confucious.

* Focused on morality, ethics and the cultivation of the civility.

* Found its way to Japan in the 3rd Century.

* It brought the idea that family stability and social responsibility are human obligations

* Practised less like a religion (rituals/ceremonies) and more like a way of living. Confucious says.......

" By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest."

Homework: Find a quote from Confucious which you can relate to.
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