Shinto: Shinto and Deliard Shinto Essay

Submitted By starfx5
Words: 5058
Pages: 21

Franky Fortune
04/29/2013
Rel 2300
C. Deliard
Shinto

Shinto is a religion like no other. Yet it closely shares attributes and characteristics with other religions. Shinto is regarded as the religion indigenous to Japan and is thought to predate all reliable historical records. Literally translated the word 'Shinto' is composed of two words from the original Chinese Shêntao: 'shin' meaning gods or spirits and 'to' meaning the philosophical way or path. Shinto is unique because in all actuality it’s a form animism (a belief that a soul or spirit existed in every object, even if it was inanimate. In a future state this soul or spirit would exist as part of an immaterial soul. The spirit, therefore, was thought to be universal.) Which is turn means it is a pagan religion. The term pagan is from the Latin paganus, an adjective originally meaning "rural", "rustic", or "of the country." As a noun, paganus was used to mean "country dweller, villager." So Shinto is an Animistic Pagan religion but on a national level so it compares itself to Ancient Rome and Greece in a pagan stand point but also compares to tribal Indian or tribal African religions. Shinto also like all other religions has a creation story and a supreme being who started it all but it is also comparable to the Hebrew, Islam and other tribal animistic religions creation story to an extent and also in the way that it begins until we read further into it and then it takes a Hindu twist where there is worshiping of spirits but in Shinto these spirits or forces called Kami. Kami are considered deities and the word itself is plural because there is no one kami in the Shinto world. According to Shinto, the way of the gods, “The term Kami is applied in the first place to the various deities of Heaven and Earth who are mentioned in the ancient records as well as to their spirits (mi-tama) which reside in the shrines where they are worshipped CITATION Wil05 \l 1033 (Aston).”
Worship and rituals are a big part of Shinto as well. The Culture worship is highly ritualized, and follows strict conventions of rules, order and control. It can take place in the home or in shrines. Although all Shinto worship and ritual takes place within the patterns set when the faith was centralized in the 19th century, there is much local diversity. Ashton writes:
[Religious conduct includes worship, morality in so far as it has obtained the sanction of religion, and ceremonial purity. The term worship applies both to the forms of courtesy and respect towards human beings and of reverence for the Gods. Indeed the latter is not a separate kind of worship, but is composed almost exclusively of the same elements in a new application. Nearly everything in the worship of the Gods is borrowed from the forms of social respect. It is sometimes maintained that these forms, before they become a part of religious ritual, pass through an intermediate stage, namely, the worship of the dead, whether as ghosts or dead ancestors. This view is based on the hypothesis that Gods were originally deceased men.] CITATION Wil05 \l 1033 (Aston)In the Shinto worship is a very important part of the religion but before you worship there are rituals that must be kept. Rituals are for purification purposes. Rituals are very important in Shinto because before you can properly worship at a shrine you must undergo a purification ritual for your worship or praise to be considered any good. Purification in other religions like Judaism, Christianity, Hindu, Buddhism, and Taoism all has purification processes but in Shinto it is one of the most important things in the process of worship. J.W.T Mason Describes it very well in his book The Meaning of Shinto, “Purification must be earned; it is an ever-present ideal to keep the self-conscious mind from lingering in debasement. So, the frequent purification ceremonies in Shinto have the meaning that divine spirits on earth, while struggling to make progress must ever…