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Presenter: Karen Baraoidan

Religion: Shintoism or Shinto


By the end of the session the student will have:
a brief over view of Shintoism
a knowledge of the dimension of: Sacred Ethics, Rituals and Beliefs for Shintoism
a visual experience of some of the rituals through the use of photographs and You Tube Clips

Shinto, the way of the Gods is the name given to the non-Buddhist religious practices of Japan
Does not have a founder nor sacred text is not commonly preached or publicized
Shinto gods are called Kami: sacred spirits which take the form of things and concepts important
to life i.e. wind, rain, mountains, trees, rivers, fertility
Polytheistic religion that has more than one deity
Is the indigenous faith of the Japanese people
Japans oldest and major religion practiced
Is not based on a set of commandments or laws that tell the faithful how to behave, but on
following the will of the Kami
As a follower, must live in accordance with the way of the Kami to keep the relationship with the
Aims to promote harmony and purity in all spheres of life and to remove all the dust, impurities
which hides the divine nature of human beings
Shinto ethics avoid absolute moral rules because Kami are not perfect make mistakes and do

1. The Ten Percepts:
Read out from power point slide

2. Good is the default Condition
Evil enters the world from outside, brought by evil spirits which effect human beings in a similar
way to disease , and reduce their ability to resist temptation
When humans act wrongly, they bring pollution and sin upon themselves obstructing the flow
of life and blessing from the Kami

3. Impurity kegare:
Refers to anything which separates us from Kami and from the creative and harmonizing power
Things that make us impure are tsumi- pollution, sin
Shinto teaches that specific deeds create a kind of ritual impurity want to be cleansed for our
own mind and good fortune
Purity kiyome is not just spiritual purity but moral purity: having a pure and sincere heart
Purity is at heart of Shintos understanding of good and evil
Does not accept that human beings are born bad or impure but born pure, and sharing in the divine
Badness, impurity or sin are things that come later in life, and can be rid of by cleansing/ purifying
Purpose of most rituals is to keep evil spirits away
Most significant rituals/ practices are purification, prayer, worship and offering to the Kami God
Taking part in rituals correctly is more beneficial and the longer the ritual the greater religious
Bind the community together and brings a sense of unity to the past traditions of the religious
Teaches that the spiritual is an inseparable part of Earth and that the community is the key focus
for everyone
- Play YouTube clip

1. Shrines and temple visits:
Visiting a temple and shrine is very different:
Is based on Shintoism
Centers around a variety of Gods and
Built around nature and have a tori gate
like most temples
- When entering a shrine you have to ring
these bells as a symbol of making your
presence known- what to grab the Kamis
- Traditionally you are not supposed to visit
a shrine if you are sick, have a open wound
or are mourning because these are
considered causes of impurity
- At the purification fount near the shrines
entrance you have to take a ladle provided
and fill it with fresh water and rinse your
hands, rinse your mouth and spit it beside
the fountain (NOT BACK IN THE
- At the offering hall- the actually entrance
to the shrine you have to throw a coin into
the offering box, bow deeply twice, clap
your hands twice and bow deeply once
more and pray
Centered around Buddhism

- Before entering a temple you have to take
of your shoes and leave them at the
entrance (shoe rack) so you have to wear
nice socks!
- Show you respect silently by making a
short prayer in front of a sacred object by
throwing a coin into the offering box
- Normally there is an incense burner
osenko where visitors burn incense and
fan the smoke towards them: it is believed
that the smoke has a healing power towards
them ie. Heals an injured shoulder if
fanned towards the injury
- Smoke also said to purify you

2. Purification:
Shrines are often decorated with colourful cloth and ceremonies are held before the construction
of a building to purify the ground, worship the local kami and pray for safety during construction;
every Japanese car is blessed as part of the assembly process along with the factory
Personal purification rite is purification by water that involves standing beneath a waterfall or
performing ritual ablutions (washings) in a river-mouth or in the sea miogi

3. Worship:
Is high ritualized and follows strict conventions of protocol, order and control.
Can take place in homes or shrines to pray to particular Kami either to obtain something, or to
thank the Kami for something good that has happened
Ritual should be carried out in a spirit of sincerity, cheerfulness and purity
The journey that the worshipper makes through the shrine to the sanctuary where the ritual takes
place forms part of the worship, and helps the worshipper to move spiritually from the everyday
world to a place of holiness and purity

4. Prayer:
Can be done in homes of shrines
Many Japanese homes contain a place set aside as a shrine, a Kami shelf, Kami-dana where they
make offerings of flowers or food and prayers
It normally contains a tiny replica of the sanctuary of a shrine, and may also include amulets
(charms) to ensure good luck or absorb bad luck and a mirror in the center connecting the shelf to
the Kami
Place great emphasis on the importance of ritual phrases and greets: before eating say
itadakimasu I humbly receive to show proper thankfulness to the preparer of the meal and those
living things that lost their lives in order to make the meal
Shinto faith is very much bound up with the idea of purity, and the wholeness of the physical body
Organ transplantation is comparatively rare- the body after death is impure according to Shinto
tradition; might injure the relationship between the dead person and the bereaved theitai by
interfering with the corpse
Therefore followers of Shinto oppose the taking of organs from those who have just died and also
would refuse an organ transplanted from someone who has died
Shinto believes that certain words have spiritual power if properly spoken, and this style of
language is used because of a belief that using these beautiful, correct words will bring about

1. Impurity
Specific deeds create kind of ritual impurity that we should want cleansed for our own peace of
mind and good fortune not because impurity is wrong in and of itself
Failure to show proper thanks and respect is seen as a lack of concern for others, and is looked
down on because it is believed to create problems for all
Those who fail to take into account the feelings of other people and Kami only will bring ruin
upon themselves
Misogi is practiced to show harmony with water, the life of Nature and removes the heavy, impure
kegare vibrations what was once contained within oneself

2. Spiritual essence
Tori gate: Most temples have a tori gate which is believed to separate the mundane world from the
purified atmosphere of the temple
Mirror: Important role in the Shinto path since the Sun goddess Amaterasu told humans to
worship the mirror which reflects their own image as if they were worshipping Her in Her
"The mirror hides nothing. It shines without a selfish mind. Everything good and bad, right and
wrong, is reflected without fail. The mirror is the source of honesty because it has the virtue of
responding to the shape of object. It points out the fairness and impartiality of the divine will."
Jinno Shotoki

3. Afterlife
Unlike most religions, one does not need to publicly profess their belief in Shinto to be a Shintoist
Whenever a child is born a local Shinto shrine adds the childs name to a list and is recorded as the
family child.
After death of the child they become the family spirit and become kami themselves
those who die before addition to the list are known as the water children and are believed to
cause troubles and plagues, causes of natural phenomena
are often worshipped in a Shinto shrine that is dedicated to stilling their anger and sadness