Questions About Shinto Beliefs Essay

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¶ … creation myth in the Shinto religion is a beautiful and poetic. The gods in the story appear out of nowhere and form the foundations of life. The story portrays Japan as the first land to be created. The story reads as follows (from a translation by Philippi and Joseph Campbell): "When heaven and earth began, three deities came into being, The Spirit Master of the Center of Heaven, The August Wondrously Producing Spirit, and the Divine Wondrously Producing Ancestor. These three were invisible. The earth was young then, and land floated like oil, and from it reed shoots sprouted. From these reeds came two more deities. After them, five or six pairs of deities came into being, and the last of these were Izanagi and Izanami, whose names mean "The Male Who Invites" and "The Female who Invites" ... The first five deities commanded Izanagi and Izanami to make and solidify the land of Japan, and they gave the young pair a jeweled spear. Standing on the Floating Bridge of Heaven, they dipped it in the ocean brine and stirred. They pulled out the spear, and the brine that dripped of it formed an island to which they descended. On this island they built a palace for their wedding...

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The "kami" can be roughly defined as to mean spirits; however this is something of an oversimplification because the term refers to a concept that represent a complex and dynamic relationship between landscape and nature (BBC, 2009). The Kami represent something similar to the concepts of God found in the West in the sense that they are "personal" Gods and can be influenced by prayer to change natural forces and the course of human events. These spirits can be found in virtually everything and are believed to represent the very essence of existence. To honor these spirits, believers would worship at a Shinto shrine which required their attendance and offering which consists of various rituals. The shrines were thought to be a medium of communication in which the Kami could be reached.
There is some evidence, both through oral tradition and archeology, that many of the…

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References

BBC. (2009, October 9). Kami. Retrieved from Religions: http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/shinto/beliefs/kami_1.shtml

Philippi, D., & Campbell, J. (1962). The Origin of Japan and her People. Retrieved from Princeton University: http://www.gly.uga.edu/railsback/CS/CSJapan.html


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