Shintoism – the national religion of Japan

The national religion of Japan is Shintoism . The term “Shinto” means ” the path of the gods. Or the son of kami are gods, spirits which inhabit the surrounding human world. Any object can be the embodiment of kami. The origins of Shinto go back to ancient times and include all the inherent primitive peoples shaped beliefs: totemism, animism, magic, fetishism, etc.

The development of cinchonism

The first mythological monuments in Japan, Dating from the VII-VIII century ad – Kojiki, Fudoki, Nihongi – reflected the difficult way of formation of system of Shinto cults. Significant place in this system occupies the cult of the dead ancestors, chief among which was the first ancestor of the clan ujigami, symbolizing the unity and cohesion of the clan members. The objects of worship were the deities of the earth and fields, rain and wind, forests and mountains, etc.

In the early stages of the development of Shinto was not an organized system of beliefs. The development of Shinto was on the way of forming a complex unity of religious, mythological beliefs of the different tribes — both local and those who came from the mainland. The result is a clear religious system was not created. However, with the development of the state and the rise of the Emperor formed the Japanese version of the origin of the world, places of Japan, its rulers in this world. Japanese mythology says that in the beginning there was Heaven and Earth, then came the first gods, among whom was the couple Izanagi and Izanami . played a major role in the creation of the world. They resented the huge ocean with a spear with a tip made of precious stone, the tip dripping with sea water has formed the first of the Japanese Islands. Then they started running around the celestial pole and gave rise to other Japanese Islands. After the death of Izanami Izanagi, her husband has visited the realm of the dead, hoping to save her but failed. Upon returning, he performed the rite of purification, during which he produced from his left eye the Sun goddess – Amaterasu – from the right — the moon-God, nose — the God of rain, which has destroyed the country by floods. During the flood Amaterasu went into a cave and deprived the earth of light. All the gods gathered together and tried to persuade her to go out and take the Sun, but they managed it with great difficulty. In Shinto this event as if reproduced in festivals and ceremonies dedicated to the arrival of spring.

According to mythology, Amaterasu sent her grandson, Ninigi to earth, so that he governed the people. From him are descended the Japanese emperors, who are called the Tenno (heavenly sovereign) or the Mikado. Amaterasu gave him the “divine” regalia: the mirror — a symbol of honesty, Jasper pendants — a symbol of compassion, the sword — a symbol of wisdom. In the highest degree those qualities of personality are ascribed to the Emperor. The main temple complex in Shinto became Shrine of ISE-Jingu Shrine ISE. In Japan there is a myth, according to which the spirit of Amaterasu, living in ISE Jingu Shrine, assisted the Japanese against the Mongol invaders in 1281 1261 eve when the divine wind ” kamikaze ” twice destroyed the Mongol fleet, marching to the shores of Japan. Shinto temples are rebuilt every 20 years. It is believed that the gods so much time nice to be in one place.

Levels of cinchonism

In Shinto there are several levels that are defined by objects and subjects of worship.

Shinto is a dynastic property of the Imperial family. The gods exist, which may appeal to family members only, and rituals that can be performed only by members of the family.

The cult of the Emperor (Tannaim) — mandatory for all Japanese.

Temple Shinto – worship of General and local gods that exist in each area and protect the people living under their protection.

Home Shinto – the worship of ancestral gods.

At the beginning of the VI century in Japan is known to be Buddhism and Confucianism. Buddhism gradually begins to play a significant role in the life of Japan, is the interpenetration of Buddhism and Shinto, their complementarity. The deities of Buddhism are accepted in Shinto, and Vice versa. Shinto, with its collectivist character serves the needs of the community, and Buddhism, bears a personal character, focuses on individuality. The situation, which was called rebueno (dual path of the gods). Buddhism and Shinto coexist peacefully for several centuries.

From the late eighteenth century is enhanced by the cult of the Emperor and the Shinto that became the official state ideology. On this basis, growing Japanese nationalism into chauvinism, which led to the Russo-Japanese war. and then the entry of Japan into world war II. After the Second world war in Japan was adopted the law on the separation of religion from the state .

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