Friday January 16th, 2015
Two thousand five hundred years ago, evidence shows that practices and rituals of a religion named Shinto began to emerge. As time passed, the Shinto religion was able to coexist with other religious movements, and not fall behind. After Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism began to move into Japan and China, Shinto appeared to have been captivated by Buddhism, after having adopted many of its previous tenants. People chose to believe in this religion for many reasons. One of them being that Shinto provided the people of Japan with a sense of patriotism, and obedience, as well as a belief that their emperor was a direct descendant of the gods. When Japan lost the war in World War Two, all of the beliefs and values of patriotism and obedience the followers of Shinto had, had been rid of. The allies abolished State Shinto and humiliated the Jap’s. Afterword, Emperor Hirohito went to the State Shinto shrine and apologized for what had happened.
There are four generic divisions of the Shinto religion, which are: State Shinto, Sect Shinto, Shrine Shinto, and Folk Shinto. State Shinto is the basic version to the religion that Emperor Meiji proclaimed. Sect Shinto came around the same time as State Shinto. It amounted to granting official status to religious movements that were popular among Farmers and Peasants. Shrine Shinto became the most prominent variety of Shinto after World War Two. In order to preserve the shrines of State Shinto, which had just been abolished by the allies, the Japanese embraced the new variety Shrine Shinto. They protected over Eighty thousand shrines that were a good example of Shinto Faith, and to this day, Shrine Shinto is a dominant aspect of the Shinto religion. Folk Shinto is most closely related to the ancient practice of Shinto. They focus on personal worship of local kami. (“Kami” are the spirits that exist everywhere). The prayers, practices, and rituals of this sect vary greatly from believer to believer, due to individual nature of it.
This religion focuses on nature and mythology, and is polytheistic. The followers of Shinto were open to the belief of many gods, because it provided them with more answers to their spiritual questions. The name Shinto comes from the Chinese term “shin Tao” meaning “the way of the divine”. In Shinto, there are no founders; therefore it was started by the people instead of by a specific individual. There is also no ritual use of scripture and no organized teachings. Shinto symbols are very limited, having only 2 true symbols. The Torii gate is a religious symbol for the indigenous religion of Japan known as Shinto. It marks the entrance to sacred space, and represents the transition between the finite world, and the infinite world of gods. The Tomoe is a symbol that is made up of interlocked flames representing tadpoles. It is similar to the yin yang, as it represents the play of forces in the cosmos. The magatama is an ancient symbol of Japanese identity, which is animal tooth shaped, and made of stone. They served as symbols of status, and were found in burial sites in 1000BCE. The Japanese national flag, is of the rising sun which is Amaterasu’s emblem.
Hinduism Hinduism is one of the oldest religions. It developed from the indigenous religions of India in combination with Persian/Arayan religions brought in India in 1500 BCE. Like Shinto, this religion also does not have a founder. It is a complex faith with stems rooting back 5000 years to the people of the Indus Valley. At this point the sacred books that Hinduism had produced were the Veda and the Upanishads. The location of worship for the Hindus is in a temple known as a mandir. There are approximately 800 million followers of this religion and 750 million of them are in India.
The belief of the Hindu people is that each god is simply a representation of the one supreme creator god,