Shintoism Facts

Shintoism Facts
Shintoism is Japan's ethnic religion that focuses on the belief that spiritual powers manifest in natural places such as mountains, rivers, and other aspects of nature including people and animals. There is no founder of Shinto but some of its practices date back to the 8th century. As an ancient religion Shinto took hold in small villages and then gradually spread across Japan. Eventually it became a recognized religion. Shintoism does not have a Bible but it does have several model texts. Shintoism as a religion or belief system was originally created to distinguish the beliefs of Japanese indigenous people from the beliefs of Buddhism, which began in the 6th century. Because of this it is possible to practice both Buddhism and Shintoism as they do not contradict each other.
Interesting Shintoism Facts:
Shinto is derived from the Chinese words 'shin tao', which mean 'the way of kami'.
Shinto followers believe that gods or spirits, referred to as kami, can manifest in anything in nature. This makes worshipping things like mountains and stones, and even people possible.
There are five main distinguished expressions of Shintoism including Shrine Shinto (worship at local shrines), Imperial Household Shinto (rites performed on imperial grounds by the imperial family), Folk Shinto (folk beliefs and practices), Sect Shinto (sects with founders and sacred scriptures), and Koshinto (based on pre-Buddhism Shinto).
Shintoism's model texts are called Shinten and include Senmyou, Kogo Shuui, Nihon Shoki, and Kojiki.
There are 11 rituals, called 'Saishi' or 'Omatsuri' that are performed in the Shinto religion. These rituals connect gods and people together.
In Shintoism wrong-doings are impurities that need to be cleansed for peace of mind.
The purification ritual in Shintoism is referred to as Misogi.
Shinto shrines are referred to as Jinjas. It is taboo to do anything wrong in these shrines.
Jinjas are usually located in beautiful settings in nature, and each year each Jinja celebrates with a festival that includes food and beverages to pay respect to the kamis.
Famous Jinjas include Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, Hokkaido Shrine in Hokkaido, and Meiji Jingu in Tokyo. There are approximately 80,000 Shinto shrines in existence today.
Some of the oldest shrines in Japan include Fushimi Inari, Izumo Taisha, and Tsubaki Grand Shrine.
The entrance to a Jinji is a gate. This gate is called a Torii and people and gods must enter and exit through this gate.
When a child is born in Japan their name is added to a list as a local shrine. This makes the child a 'family child'. When the person died the person becomes a family spirit (kami).
Those who work at the Jinja, coordinating Saishi, servicing the shrine etc... are called Shinshoku (male) and Miko (women).
Shintoism has a large number of gods. This large number is often mentioned in the phrase 'Yaoyorozu no Kami'. Yaoyorozu means 8 million. This means that there are believed to be millions of kami (gods).
The gods of Shintoism are usually guardians of the people, but some can be evil.
The most important Jinji (shrine) in Japan is at Ise. This shrine is dedicated to Amaterasu - the sun goddess.

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