Shintoism and Buddhism Essay

Shintoism and Buddhism Essay

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Shintoism and Buddhism

The Japanese religions, including Shintosim and Buddhism, are rich and complex, and it contains many condradictory trends which may puzzle a Westerner. In the center of the tradition is Shinto, the "natural" religion of Japan. Also in the center is Buddhism, the Indian religion that was brought to Japan in the sixth century from Korea and China. Throughout the history of Japan, it has been these two religions that have contributed most to the Japanese understanding of themselves and their surroundings, and also to many important events.
Shinto, meaning "the way of the gods", is the indigenous faith of the Japanese people. It began around 2,500-3,000 years ago. It has thirteen sects, each with a different founder. It has many scriptures, including Kokiji (The Record of Ancient Things), Nikong (Chronicles of Japan), Yengishiki (Institutes of the Yengi Period), and the Collections of 10,000 Leaves. It has about 30 million adherents, but most are also Buddhists. But, none of the scriptures are sacred, as are the Sutras or the Bible. The kami are the objects of worship in Shinto. They are sacred spirits, and they can take various forms such as natural elements like the sun, mountains, trees, rocks, and the wind, or abstract things like fertility, but also anscestors, national heroes, and protectors of family clans. The Japanese adherence to Shinto is not surprising, because various physical forces are often at work on the archipelago. This shows the people's early connection to nature. There are many typhoons, tsunami, volcanoes, and earthquakes that the Japanese worship as the unseen forces of nature that rule their lives. Originally, Shintoists would only worship the Kami in nature, bu...

... middle of paper ...

...y entirely lost
confidence in the government when they saw the Buddhist monasteries recieve rich
rewards for prayers during invasions, while they had recieved nothing. After this, Japan
was at a point where it was time to change the governmental system. Because of this, it is
apparent that Buddhism had a major effect on Japan's history. Also,
Shintoism and Buddhism, as well as several other less major religions, including Confusionism and Christianity, have had a major effect on the history of Japan. Not only have they changed the people's lives, but they have actually disintegrated an entire government, as shown through the Kamakura Bakufu. Throughout the history of Japan, it has been these two religions, Shintoism and Buddhism, that have contributed most to the Japanese understanding of themselves and their surroundings, and to many important events.

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