Shintoism The heart of the person before you

Shintoism The heart of the person before you

Shintoism The heart of the person before you is a mirror. See there your own form. - A Shinto Saying

Origins Shinto ("the way of the gods") is the indigenous

faith of the Japanese people and is as old as Japan itself. Origins Therefore, Shinto has no founder or founding

date. It is the indigenous religion of Japan. Adherents Worldwide, there are approximately 3-4 million followers of Shintoism.

These Shintoism followers are called: Shinto. Views Shintoism is a polytheistic religion based

on the kami, ancient gods or spirits. Kami are sacred spirits which take the form of things and concepts important to life, such as wind, rain, mountains, trees, rivers and stones.

Some prominent rocks are worshiped as kami. Views Humans become kami after they die and are revered by

their families as ancestral kami. The kami of extraordinary people are even enshrined at some shrines. The Sun Goddess Amaterasu is considered Shinto's most important kami.

Views Shinto shrines are the places of worship and the homes of kami. Sacred objects of worship that represent the kami are

stored in the innermost chamber of the shrine where they cannot be seen by anybody. Most shrines celebrate festivals (matsuri) regularly in order to show the kami the outside world.

Ise Jingu is Shinto's most sacred shrine. Tokyo's Meiji Shrine is dedicated to the spirits of Emperor Meiji.

Torii One or more torii gates mark the approach and entrance to a shrine. They come in various colors and are made of various materials.

Most torii, however are made of wood, and many are painted orange and black. General Practices

In Shinto, there is no absolute right and wrong, and nobody is perfect. Shinto is an optimistic faith, as humans are thought to be fundamentally good, and evil is believed to be caused by evil spirits.

Consequently, the purpose of most Shinto rituals is to keep away evil spirits by purification, prayers and offerings to the kami. General Practices

People visit shrines in order to worship, pay respect to the kami by making offerings or to pray for good fortune. People also participate in purification rituals.

At the purification fountain near the shrine's entrance, take one of the ladles provided, fill it with fresh water and rinse both hands. Then transfer some water into your cupped hand, rinse your mouth and spit the water beside the fountain. You are not

supposed to transfer the water directly from the ladle into your mouth or swallow the water. At some temples, visitors burn incense (osenko) in

large incense burners. Purchase a bundle, light them, let them burn for a few seconds and then extinguish the flame by waving your

hand rather than by blowing it out. Finally, put the incense into the incense burner and fan some smoke towards yourself as the smoke is

believed to have healing power. For example, fan some smoke towards your shoulder if you have an injured shoulder.

General Practices Shrines are also visited during special events and festivals such as New Year, setsubun, and shichigosan.

A shimenawa is a straw rope with white zigzag paper strips (gohei). It marks the boundary to something sacred and can be found on torii gates, around sacred trees and stones, etc. A rope

similar to the shimenawa is also worn by yokozuna, the highest ranked Sumo Wrestlers, during ritual ceremonies. Komainu are a pair of guardian dogs or

lions, often found on each side of a shrine's entrance. In the case of Inari Shrines, they are foxes (see picture) rather than dogs.

Ema Shrine visitors write their wishes on these wooden plates and then leave them at the shrine in the hope that their wishes

come true. Most people wish for good health, success in business, passing entrance exams, love or wealth.

Omikuji are fortune telling paper slips found at many shrines and temples. Randomly drawn, they

contain predictions ranging from daikichi ("great good luck") to daikyo ("great bad luck"). By tying the piece of paper around a tree's branch,

good fortune will come true or bad fortune can be averted. Lifes Purpose Humans are pure by nature and can keep

away evil through purification rituals and attain good things by calling on the kami. Afterlife Death is bad and impure.

Some humans become kami after death. Holy Text(s) Shinto does not have any philosophical literature or official scripture that can be compared to texts like other

religions. But the Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters) and the Nihongi or Nihon shoki (Chronicles of Japan), are in a sense the sacred books of Shinto. They were written in AD 712 and 720, respectively, and

are compilations of the oral traditions, mythology and ceremonies of ancient Shinto. But they are also books about the history, topography, and literature of ancient Japan.

Shinto Wedding Ceremony Shinto Wedding Ceremony

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