Shinto. Asian Philosophy Timeline

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1 Shinto Bresnan and Koller!1 Timeline Early Vedas! BCE Upanishads! BCE Siddhartha Gautama! BCE Bhagavad Gita! BCE Shinto origins! 500 BCE CE 1000 BCE 500 BCE CE 1000 CE I Ching! BCE Confucius! BCE Mencius! BCE Lotus Sutra! 100 BCE CE Zhi-yi (Tian-tai)! CE Lao Tzu! BCE Zhuangzi! BCE!2

2 Word Shinto is derived from jin (shin) which means "deity" or "god," and to (variation on Chinese dao) which means "way"! Shinto is the "way of the gods"! What is divine?! For ancient Japanese peoples, the divine is not reserved for only divine celestial beings (gods)! Many divine beings did not resemble humans in form! Trees, mountains, rivers, thunderstorms, earthquakes are among the divine! Anything that could inspire awe or mystery were considered divine or possessing divine nature!3!4

3 Kami Kami are the spirits of those things that are considered divine! Kami can be found in divine beings or earthly objects! Kami is not the thing itself, but the spirit of the thing that inspires awe! Some have stated that "kami" is simply a term used to denote those things that have or are capable of inspiring awe! Kami reside in the thing or object, but are capable of moving about freely!5 Shinto Religion Because of the dominance of the kami, one could call Shinto "the way of the kami"! Also, because the kami are closely related to natural phenomena and events, Shinto is sometimes thought of as a "nature religion"!6

4 Shrines Shrines are the places where kami dwell! Originally, shrines were simple natural objects, like a waterfall, tree, or places thought to have spiritual power often in some remote mountainous area! With the spread of agriculture, it became necessary for the kami to come to the fields! So, shrines were built near rice fields so the kami would dwell there, especially during harvest! Today, there are approximately 100,000 Shinto shrines in Japan!7!8

5 Creation Story The mating of the kami brought the universe into existence! These kami were the basic forces! Two of the last twelve primary kami produced were Izanagi (Sky Father) and Izanami (Earth Mother)! Izanagi and Izanami produced the Japanase islands, other land masses, and more kami through their love-making! One of the off-spring was the sun goddess, Amaterasu!9 Amaterasu Amaterasu is the most important kami in Japanese culture! The grandson of Amaterasu, Ninigi-no-Mikoto, descended to Earth and introduced the cultivation of rice! Ninigi-no-Mikoto is also seen as the direct ancestor of Jimmu Tenno, the first emperor of Japan! This connection established the imperial family's claim to divinity and the basis for Shinto as the state religion! Similarly, the founders of 402 Japanese clans also trace their ancestry to Ninigi-no-Mikoto! Japanese culture sees humanity (or the Japanese part) as descended from the gods and not created by the gods!10

6 Following Shinto There are no strict or absolute commandments for the followers of Shinto! The general guideline is to live a life of simplicity and harmony with nature and people! There are four "affirmations" of the Shinto spirit or character! Family tradition: the traditions are maintained through the celebration of family events (birth, marriage, death)! Love of nature: nature is sacred and is imbued with kami! Cleanliness: adherents bath and wash their hands regularly! Festivals: there are many kami-dedicated festivals!11 Shinto and Buddhism Chinese Buddhism arrived in Japan around C.E.! Chinese culture started to influence Japanese culture at this time, including political culture! Chinese Buddhism made its way to Japan through Korea and was first adopted by the aristocracy! Eventually, Buddhism was adopted by the masses! In addition to Buddhist influences, Confucianism and Daoism also influenced Japanese religion and culture!12

7 Buddhism and Shinto Shinto absorbed Buddhism, there was no great conflict between the two! Shinto shrines are often found on the grounds of Buddhist temples! Kami were seen as supernatural beings caught in the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth! Kami also became part of the reincarnation cycle! Eventually, certain kami were considered manifestations of Buddha! Most notably, Kukai linked Amaterasu with the Buddhist Dainichi Nyorai, the "Great Sun Buddha"! Izanami and Izanagi were linked to yin and yang!13 Separating Shinto from Buddhism In the 18th century C.E., attempts were made to separate Shinto from Buddhism! These attempts mostly failed because Shinto myths had been derived from or intertwined with Chinese Buddhism! Not until state Shinto in the mid-19th century were the two separated!14

8 Buddhism in Japan Chinese Buddhism first infiltrated Japan around C.E.! Tendai Buddhism, named after the Chinese monastary Tiantai, was the first established movement! Tendai weaved together various Buddhist movements and Shinto into a mystical religion! Tendai quickly spread and was the dominant Buddhist movement for 400 years!15!16

9 13th c. New Schools In the 13th c., three new schools of Buddhism were established: Nichiren, Pure Land, and Zen! Nichiren was most like Tendai and was considered the "homegrown" form of Buddhism! Pure Land movement is the most "religious" with salvation achieved through chanting and supplication! Zen Buddhism was brought to Japan by the Tendai monk Eisai around 1200 C.E.! Zen is based off the Chan movement in China! Zen appealed to the samurai because of its emphasis on simple virtues, self-discipline, and self-reliance! Zen became the Buddhism of the aristocracy while Pure Land was adopted by the common people!17

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