Buddhism and Shintoism

Buddhism and Shintoism

Buddhism and Shintoism By Sofia, Lauren, Alex, Jose Introduction to Religion of Japan Religion is the backbone of Japans culture identity Religion was important to Japan

because it affected daily life The two main religions were Shintoism and Buddhism Beliefs of Shintoism The word Shinto means Way of the Gods Shintoism expresses the love and respect for nature They believed you must purify the unclean This means that is a human was dead you could not touch him or have care for it since it is unclean

They worshiped a spirit named Kami The Kami represents live things that are natural and clean (ex. Wind, lightning., river, mountains, etc.) Shintoism Rituals A Shinto tradition is the formal reading of prayers of ancient traditions They had to bring things to offer to the Kami such as Food The most common type of ritual involves purification Purification is when you communicate with the Kami You do the ritual of Purification is usually done with water

Transition to Buddhism Buddhism was introduced to Japan in 538 CE The ruler of the Baekje (Korean Kingdom) sent a bronze image of Buddha and some sutras (Sanskrit Literature) to the Japanese Emperor Kimmei. Controversy broke between the emperors court, on whether or not they should accept the foreign cult Clans that opposed the acceptance was the Monobe and Nakatomi because they thought that Japan already had its traditional religion of Shinto

The Soga clan favored Buddhism because they thought it was beneficial and would enrich the Japanese culture. Even though there were opposing thoughts against Buddhism, the religion was accepted by Emperor Kimmei because the Soga clan was very influential. Beliefs of Buddhism Buddhism was founded by Siddhartha Gautama The word comes from bidhi meaning to awaken because Siddhartha awakened when he saw suffering and death

Buddhists see life as pain and suffering They thought life was just a big cycle of birth, death, and rebirth They believed you had to follow the eightfold path to reach nirvana so you could stop this cycle The Eightfold Path Buddhism Rituals One ritual they did was meditation They believed it was a way to clear your brain and relax

Similar to Shintoism, families would offer food and pray to a figure of the Buddha in their home Some steps to connecting with the Buddha were - offer a blessing - connect to what is sacred - make a commitment - let go of something, leave something behind, or say good-bye Combination of Buddhism and Shintoism Shinbatsu Shugo was developed which involved both belief in kami and Buddha.

Throughout the country jingujis (Buddhist temples attached to shrines) were built and sutras were read before the kami. The belief behind the creation of jingji is that kami were lost and suffering beings who needed to be freed through the power of Buddhist teachings. Buddhism and Shintoism co-existed for several centuries. However, in the 18 th century, scholars (kokugaku) devoted to Japanese studies tried to separate Shintoism from Buddhism The kokugaku felt that Shintoism could be the unifying factor for the country to support the Emperor. A Ministry of Rites was created to formalize and promote Shintoism, but this ended abruptly in the 1870s.

Shintoism declined further after WWII when the Emperor lost his divine status. However, many Japanese continued to practice both Shinto and Buddhist rites that supposedly promote better fortunes or well-beings for its practitioners. As there are very little devoted Japanese Shintoists nowadays, Shintoists visit Buddhist temples and pray for luck and happiness at Shinto shrines. Conclusion Japanese culture and religious beliefs allowed for the co-existence of Shinto and Buddhism for several centuries. Shinto was closely tied to Japanese nationalism, as it is linked to the

belief in the Emperors divinity. However, belief in both Shintoism and Buddhism declined after WWII when the Emperor lost his divine status. Nowadays, Shinto and Buddhism still coexist: many Japanese practice Shinto rituals in Buddhist temples. Shinto and its teachings have become ingrained in the Japanese mindset.

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