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Shinto Religion: Worship of Kami or Spirits

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Shinto is the native religion of Japan. Shinto is still practiced and has been modified by the influence of Buddhism and Confucianism. Shinto is a polytheistic religion. Shinto also involves worship of kami or spirits. The word kami, meaning above or superior, is the name used to designate a great host of supernatural beings or deities. Shinto does not have any person or kami deemed holiest and does not have a set of prayers or religious books. However Shinto Is a collection of rituals and methods used to mediate the relations of living humans and kami.

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The most immediate theme in Shinto religion is a great love and reverence for nature. Basically a waterfall, the moon, or a rock can be reguarded as a kami. Also charismatic individuals and some more abstract entities like growth and fertility are kamis. Kami inhabit the same world as us and make the same mistakes as us. Those who die will usually become kami, their power and main characteristics will be based on their doings in life.

Those believing in other religions maybe venerated as kami after death, if there are shinto believers who wish them to be.

Shinto follows a set of four affirmations of the shinto spirit. Tradition and the family: The family is seen as the main mechanism as by which traditions are preserved. Birth and marriage are the main celebrations which maintain the family unit. The love of nature: Nature is considered sacred and imbued with spirits known as kami. Physical cleanliness: Followers of shinto take baths, wash their hands, and rinse their mouths out often. Matsuri: Any festival dedicated to Kami and there are many each year. The most worshipped kami is the sun goddess Amaterasu.

However, Japanese do not exactly praise her or say her name to ask her for help. Her main shrine is the Ise Shrine, but many lesser shrines are dedicated to her as well. Shinto’s spirits are collectively called yaoyorozu no kami. There is a kami for literally almost everything on this earth. Unlike many religions, one does not have to publically profess belief in shinto to be a shintoist. Whenever a child is born in Japan, a local Shinto shrine adds the childs name to a list kept at the shrine and declares them a “family child. You may choose to have your name be added to another list when moving and then be listed at both places. Names can be added to the list without consent and regardless of the beliefs of the person added to the list. However, this is not considered an imposing of beliefs upon someone, but a sign of welcome by the local kami, with promise of addition to the pantheon of kami after death. There are well over 100,000 shrines in operation today each with its retinue of Shinto priests. Shinto priests often wear a ceremonial robe called jo-e.

Kami are invoked at important ceremonies such as weddings and entry into a university. The kami are commonly petitioned for earthly benefits just about anything from family life to your career and possibly more. While one may wish ill fortune on others, this is believed to only be possible if the person has committed wrongs first or if one is willing to offer one’s life. Almost all festivals in Japan are hosted by local shrines and these festivals are open to all who wish to attend. These festivals are not regarded as religious events since everyone can attend regardless of personal beliefs.

Cite this Shinto Religion: Worship of Kami or Spirits

Shinto Religion: Worship of Kami or Spirits. (2016, Oct 19). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/shinto-religion/

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