Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Japan: What is Shinto? (video)

Huffington Post, Japan-Guide.com, A Pagan Tapestry

Shinto is Japanese for "the way of the kami" (devas, gods/goddesses, spirits). It is the indigenous spiritual tradition of the Japanese people. It is as old as Japan itself. It remains Japan's major religion alongside Buddhism.

Shinto does not have a founder nor does it have sacred scriptures like sutras (discourses) or the Bible. Propaganda and preaching are not common either, because Shinto is deeply rooted in the people and traditions.

Shinto "gods" are called kami. They are sacred spirits that take the form of things and concepts important to life-- such as wind, rain, mountains, trees, rivers, and fertility. 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. More