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THEO 403 (Fa '14) T13 - Shintoism

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by

Hartmut Scherer

on 22 November 2014

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Transcript of THEO 403 (Fa '14) T13 - Shintoism

- A system of practices, not
doctrines, for the regular
veneration of the Kami
(spiritual reality that may
assume the form of
personal beings)
- Japanese traditional religion
with no definite point of
origin, codified in the eight
century A.D.
Introduction
Lesson adapted from Winfried Corduan, Neighboring Faith (IVP, 1998), 251-278;
Religious symbols from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/62/Shinto_torii_icon_gold.png; Nov 13, 2012.
Beliefs &
Practices

1
Shintoism
Origin:
Essential beliefs and practices:
Major contemporary divisions:
Scriptures:
- traditionally divided into
State, Shrine and Domestic
Shinto, these are merely
different dimensions of the
basic orientation toward
the Kami
Shintoism
Summary
1
Adapted from Corduan, Winfried, A Tapestry of Faiths (IVP, 2002), 23.
1
1
Shinto Prayer
What is Shinto?
- the root of the word "shinto" lies in
the Chinese word "shen-dao," the
"
way of the gods
."
Kojiki and Nihongi (no ethical instructions)
- Shinto has an emphasis on fertility or sexuality
- Yasumaro collected all available information about
the kami in Japan
- this work is called
Kojiki
("record of ancient matters")
State Shinto
- conscious response to
Buddhism
Constitutional decree in 1889:
Shinto is not a religion, but patriotism that supersedes all religion
Description of Shinto Shrines
- a torii gate
1
The Native Contribution to Japanese Religion
- the Kojiki and Nihongi
are collections of the
ancient myths
- the Amatsu Norito is a
collection of prayers
- in Japanese Shinto is kami-no-michi
- Kami can be understood as
personal deity
or

impersonal force
- these spiritual realities pervade all levels of being
- Yasumaro also produced the
Nihongi
, the
"chronicles of Japan"
- only the book
Amatsu Norito
has ethical instructions
Shinto Shrine
All Shinto shrines are in the custody of the state
The emperor is head of Japanese government
Meiji Shrine
- park-like setting with natural
water and evergreen trees
Take a virtual tour through the Yasukuni Shrine
http://www.yasukuni.or.jp/english/precinct/map.html
- inner area (
Honden
) -
reserved for sacred objects
2 Areas of Shrines
- outer area (
Haiden
) -
"hall of worship"
Front view of haiden (worship hall), Izumo taisha
- each home has a small
kami shrine (
kamidana
)
Shinto in the Home
- many modern homes have
also a Buddhist
Butsudan
Grandma's Butsudan
Altar of honden (main shrine), Dazaifu Tenmangu
Family altar (kamidana)
new forms of Shinto (19th century)
Sectarian Shinto and the New Religions
with official recognition
no government approval
Sectarian Shinto
New Religions
Pattern of New Religions
founder was authorized by a divine being to write a scripture
Sukyo Mahikari World Shrine
teachings tend to be simple
goals are this-worldly
egalitarian
strict governance over adherents
optimistic
Ethics
- not based on a set of commandments or laws
1
Adapted from BBC, Religions, Ethics in Shinto at http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/shinto/shintoethics/ethics.shtml; retrieved Nov. 21, 2012 and Shinto, Haven Ministry; www.HavenMinistry.com/
Understanding Shinto ethics
- following the will of the kami is important
- the kami are not perfect
- avoids absolute moral rules
- promote harmony and purity (moral and spiritual) in
all spheres of life
Overall aim of Shinto ethics
- having a pure and sincere heart
Good Actions
- all human beings are good
Basic Ideas in Shinto
What determines wheter an action is good or bad in Shinto?
- context helps to assess (e.g., circumstances,
intention, purpose, time, location)
- the world is good
Result of unclean acts
- pollution hinders the flow of blessing from the kami
- lowest form of life or inanimate object can be full
of Kami (-> all share the
same divine qualities
)
What is the Shinto understanding of all the problems in the world?
- somehow the mind and soul/kami become polluted
through uncleanliness and wrong thinking
- an act is wrong because it is literally unclean
Examples for becoming polluted:
things which disturb kami or the worship of kami
things which disrupt the harmony of the world, the natural world or social order
things which disrupt the group of which one is a member
- unclean acts cause shame
- must be washed away like dust
How can purity be restored?
- through specific Shinto rituals and that cleanse both
body and mind; water and salt are commonly used as agents
- no sin -> no savior necessary (have already divine qualities)
- simplest purifications is the rinsing of face and hands
with pure water (
temizu
ritual)
Summary Shinto ethics: "The 4 affirmations"
1) To preserve tradition and the family
2) Nature is sacred and therefore it must be loved
3) A tremendous interest in physical cleanliness
4) Matsuri - the honor given to the ancestral kami and
other kami
Sharing the Gospel
Witnessing tips
- be sensitive to Japanese culture
- be aware of Japanese worldview
- challenge them that there is only one God who
created everything
- talk about the problem of evil
- emphasize the community of believers (family of God)
- challenge the performance of rites (blessings)
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