SHINTO

In the Far East, the moral duty of simplicity of life has been taught since ancient times, perhaps because of the ancestor worship characteristic of Shinto thought.
The fact is that when I find myself among large trees, with an age of many tens of years, I am always moved ... because I think of what they will have experienced, perceived among the chirps on the branches, fought in the seasons of time, for reach those heights and those dimensions. They are like living cathedrals. In short, a sense of reverence from the depths captures me, where the sense of Beauty and the Sacred are still preserved.

This feeling in Japan extends mainly to the elderly, as well as to handicrafts (which are repaired with the famous art of Kintsugi); in fact, despite the position of supreme importance and the wealth possessed, the shōgun Ieyasu Tokugawa (born in 1543) bent the hakama personally and said: "If, when we use things, we do not think about the time and effort necessary to create them, then the lack of consideration lowers us to the same level as the beasts ».








The origin of this symbol is virtually unknown and is lost in the mists of time: a legend tells of when Amaterasu (the goddess of the Sun) locked herself in a cave to escape her terrible brother Susanoo, causing an eclipse; to induce her to come out of her shelter (and restore the sunlight) all the roosters in the city were placed on a large wooden perch for the birds: their continuous singing intrigued Amaterasu, who peeked out of the cave. Taking advantage of the gap that had opened, one of the gods completely opened the entrance, pushing the rock away and allowing the sunlight to illuminate the earth again. That perch became the first torii, which in Japanese means "bird", an animal considered according to Shinto as a messenger of the gods (another hypothesis derives it from the Japanese term tori-iru, "to enter").
The name "Shintoism" instead derives from the Chinese term Shintô, composed of the two ideograms 神 "Shin" (divinity, spirit) and 道 "to / tao" (way, path) and was introduced in the 6th century, when it became necessary to distinguish native religion of Japan from the recently imported Buddhist one, and corresponds to the original Japanese term "Kami no michi", or "the path of the gods" or "the way of the kami (or beings of light)", intended as associated spiritual deities to the forces of nature (the sun, the moon, ...) or present in a specific territory as "guardian" spirits.
Shinto is an ancestral religion of Japan. It could be defined as a "national" cult, as it is closely connected to this people and has never spread abroad, as Buddhism did, except in the period of State Shinto - between the end of the nineteenth century and 1945 -, where it was imposed in Korea and Hokkaido as a means of cultural assimilation.
It is a polytheistic religion with shamanic traits, with an animistic origin (type of cult in which divine or supernatural qualities are attributed to objects, places or material beings) which probably derives from the period in which the ancestors of the first colonizers of islands of the Rising Sun resided in the steppes of Mongolia.
The primitive and original cult of Japan therefore refers to the kami, a term literally formed by the union of two characters, 示 "altar" and 申 "speak, report", which can be translated into "what speaks, manifests itself from the altar", "Beings of Light" cultured by a population originally from the Sino-Mongolian continent and landed along the coasts of the southern islands of the Japanese archipelago. Their religious traditions, characterized by animistic and divinatory practices, are supported by solemn rituals that give great honor to the ancestors belonging to the different tribes, in some cases divinized or transformed into kami.
In the cosmogony of this religion the kami of the origins did not create the world and everything that populates it, including human beings, but generated it, with the consequent implication that all beings, men and mountains, stones, trees, animals, flowers, storms, seas, volcanoes, are "children" of the same emanation, basically brothers and sisters, united by horizontal bonds of secret kinship. Note that the Japanese language does not distinguish singular from plural, nor masculine from feminine, so kami can often mean god or goddess, gods or goddesses; how can it mean gods, deities, high spirits, demons.
Until the year 1000 AD in Japan everything that belongs to a cosmic, sacred, superior and luminous reality, of which everything and everyone is a part, is considered kami, including all those elements considered mysterious by men for their extraordinary nature (volcanoes, celestial bodies, mountains , the stars,…). Although the word is sometimes translated as "god" or "divinity," Shinto theologians specify that this type of translation can cause a serious misunderstanding of the term. In some circumstances, they are identified as real deities, similar to the gods of ancient Greece or ancient Rome. In other cases, however, such as the phenomenon of growth, natural objects, spirits that dwell in trees, or forces of nature, translating kami as "god" or "divinity" would be a misinterpretation.
In many respects Shinto is a "sister" religion of Taoism, as in the latter there is no hierarchy to respect, there is no kami superior to the others, but while Taoism is based on the balance between yin and yang, Shinto is based on three elements: in, yo and yuan. The first two are the Chinese counterparts of yin and yang, the third is the force that is unleashed by the meeting of these two elements, that is, the manifestation of cosmic energy. The set of these three elements is depicted with a symbol called Tomoe, connected to Hachiman, god of war and patron of Samurai warriors and associated with the characteristics of strength, healing and war. The three comet-shaped tails that chase each other in perfect harmony represent, according to another interpretation, the three virtues of strength, benevolence and courage.
Although Shinto has no absolute commandments other than to live a simple life in harmony with nature and people, there are four precepts that express its ethical spirit:

    -harmony in the family
    -harmony with nature
    -purification
    -matsuri (festivals dedicated to the kami).

According to Shintoism, maintaining contact with nature involves achieving completeness and happiness and allows you to be close to the kami: nature must be respected, venerated and above all protected because from it derives the balance of life. During the Matsuri (祭), the festivities dedicated to the kami, newborns are presented to the family shrine, marriages are celebrated in the vast majority, in the countryside rice is sown and transplanted, while in the cities the foundations of houses and condominiums are blessed . The priest Shintō (kannushi 神主) with his white, light blue, purple robes according to the circumstances, honors and blesses the crafts and housewives operations of every day and is present wherever productive activities are started.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. abvr
    Dec 17, 2021 @ 13:14:19

    🌳If, when we use things, we do not think about the time and effort necessary to create them, then the lack of consideration lowers us to the same level as the beasts ».🌳

    Oh this bending of the mind I remember reading somewhere a while ago, it is a native american sentiment as well.

    Reply

  2. abvr
    Dec 17, 2021 @ 13:29:54

    🌿-harmony in the family -harmony with nature -purification -matsuri (festivals dedicated to the kami).🌿

    Wonderful precepts, so simple and how often in our lives these are eroded.

    Fascinating how Shinto remained essentially within the borders of Japan except during the time …
    Was it the invasion and occupation of South Korea …
    Interesting for me, just yesyerday i was pondering reconciliation and this invasion came to mind.

    Kami can be found in everything

    No push, no cohesion

    Come to make me think how prescriptive we are for the process of awareness, living and action.

    We had a prescriptive awareness case in connection with one of our beauty queens travelled to Israel for the pageantry.

    Ghastly prescriptions at times, prescribed by those who imagine that they have arrived.

    Sorry I, digress, got caught in the moment.

    Shinto, a great read.

    Reply

  3. Ashley
    Dec 17, 2021 @ 14:09:11

    A wonderful read. We all would learn so much by making our lives simpler and trying to live in harmony with the earth and everything upon it 🌹🙋‍♂️

    Reply

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