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Shintoism 

Shintoism is the religion the Japanese follow. In Japan Shintoism is more a way of life. Shinto as it is called is more a teaching and not any set theory or concept. Shintoism preaches that there is God in all of us and believes in the theory of visible and invisible. This theory is akin to Hinduism where the “atman” (soul) inside each of us is God and that our body that is visible is the temple for the soul to reside in. Shintoism leans more towards Hinduism and is no way connected to Confucius or Buddhism.  

Shintoism believes in the Absolute loyalty to the Sovereign Emperor, who is regarded as a direct descendant and representative of the highest God, respect for ancestors, profound feeling of piety towards ones parents and love for children form the fundamental structure of the Great Universal Way. The teachings of Shinto are the ten preaching’s or perceptions of Shintoism. They may sound similar to the Ten Commandments of Christianity but the basis is very different for both the religions. 

Remember god and do not forget that “He” exists.

Learn to respect elders. Don’t forget your obligations to ancestors.

Do not violate the decrees of the State.

Calamities occur by the will of the Supreme Being. Do not profound goodness of the Gods. Prayers can heal the sick.

Do not forget that the world is one great family.

Remember that you are limited by your intelligence.

Remain calm even when others get angry.

Do not be lethargic in your work. Remember that work is worship.

Do not bring blame to the teachings of Shinto

Do not get carried away by teachings of foreign religions. 

Shintoism also guides its believers in the right path to liberation. Their sayings and common prayers help people lead calm and collected day to day life.

 “Let not the mind sees the filth the eyes see." Our ears may hear filth but not our mind.”

These two sayings clearly indicate that Shintoism preaches tolerance, patience and endurance. A peace loving religion that is similar to Hinduism that preaches that the only way to reach God is through devotion. The Way to God is righteousness or Dharma. The way to God is shown by the Guru or spiritual preceptor. He guides you and leads the way to the almighty. If you stick to your Guru, you will surely attain God-realization.  Hinduism preaches total “saranaagathi” that is surrendering yourself to God and let Him guide you. In Saranagati there is no two ways. The only way to reach the Almighty is through prayer and devotion. Krishna in Baghavad Gita, the holy book of the Hindus says that “he who prays to me and worships me reaches me fast. He can be anybody if he thinks of me constantly then he reaches me”.   

Shinto’s worship Anaterasu-omi kami the Sun god who stands supreme above all of them. It denotes natural beauty, flowers, plants and mount Fiji. Shintoism is divided into four main forms: Koshitsu, Shuha, Folk, and Jinja. Their prayers are called ‘norito”. The only deity actually recognized in higher Shintoism is the spiritualized human mind. The sacred treasures of Shinto’s are mirror, jewel and sword. “Tori” is the symbol of prosperity and abundance in Shintoism and the sacred gates that are found in front of all Shinto temples in Japan. People believe that if they write their wishes on the Tori gates it will come true. Generally people wish for good health, wealth and prosperity.  

God Jino is placed in the gardens as he is the protector of property. The “Shakaki” is a holy tree that is sacred and worshipped by the Japanese. The Shinto principle is the basis for Japanese culture, code of ethics, fine arts, family and national structure. To understand Japanese culture one needs to first understand Shintoism. Shintoism is a cosmic religion where God manifests with Nature.


 

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