Shinto And Buddhist Japan

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John Ferrara Comparative Religion Professor Ryan Scacci 1 May 2012 Shinto and Buddhist Japan In Japan, there are two religions that dominate the life of an average citizen. These religions are Shintoism and Buddhism. Shinto, or “the way of the gods”, is the indigenous faith of Japanese people, with an ultimate goal to reach cosmic harmony, with all elements in balance. Ninety million people in Japan also follow the religion of Buddhism, which comes from the word “Butsu” or “Buddha”, which means “teaching”. These two religions are far from exclusive, and overlap each other in many ways. The ultimate goal of Shinto is to attain an elemental balance with nature, and achieve cosmic harmony. In Shintoism, it is important to live harmoniously with the land and other people. This puts a stronger emphasis on respect of our peers than western cultures do. Every action is done with honor and pride, and these people revere their emperor and honor their nation. Shinto does not have a specific founder, nor does it have a bible or another set of scriptures including its practices. This is because Shinto is within all Japanese traditions, and passes to the next generations without the use of propaganda or preaching. Shinto gods are called Kami, which are sacred spirits who take the form of things such as rain, wind, trees, mountains, and rivers. All humans become kami after death and are honored by their families. Shinto is very different from traditional monotheistic religions because there is no omniscient or omnipotent force. While Amaterasu the sun goddess is considered the most important kami, she is not looked at in the same way Christians look at God. Also in opposition to Christianity, where one of the main focuses is to banish our original sin and seek penance, Shinto spreads the idea that all humans are inherently good, and evil spirits

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