World Religious Traditions I

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Transcript World Religious Traditions I


•Natural Beauty •Harmony with the spirits •Purification

Shinto is from “shin”…meaning divine being… and “do”… meaning way. It is the way to harmonize people with the natural world.


Mt. Fuji is sacred embodiment of divine creativity

that had thrust the land up from the sea.


“To be fully alive is to have an aesthetic perception of life because a major part of the world’s goodness lies in its often unspeakable beauty.”

Rev. Yukitaka Yamamoto, Shinto Priest

The Kami – gods or spirits

The divine originated as one essence. Of the many kami, the Amatsu kami were told to organize the material world. Standing on the Floating Bridge of Heaven, they stirred the ocean with a jeweled spear. When they pulled it out of the water, it dripped brine back into the ocean, where it coagulated into eight islands…Japan. To rule this kingdom they created the Kami Amaterasu, Goddess of the Sun.

Mandate of Heaven

Since the seventh century AD, using the imported Chinese idea of the Mandate of Heaven, the emperor himself came to be revered as a kami—a living god, the divinely descended ruler upon whom the well-being of the country depends.

Shinto Shrines

Tall gate-frames known as


, walls, or streams with bridges, which must be crossed are all used to enter the holy precinct of the kami.

Lions guard the Kami

Feel the deity in the heart…

A worshiper might come to a Shinto shrine, stand a while, clap his hands, bow deeply, and try to feel the deity in his heart. This feeling is the most important part

of the worship.


•Everything has meaning •Ten years of training •No personal prayers, but rather the acknowledgement of the close relationship between the kami, themselves, the ancestors, and nature


In Shinto, there is no concept of sin. Rather, the world is beautiful and full of helpful spirits. Sexuality is not sinful, since the world was created by mating deities.

There is a quality of impurity or misfortune, called tsumi. The kami of the high mountain rapids can carry the tsumi to the sea, where the whirlpool kami will swallow it and the wind kami will blow it to the netherworld…

Waterfalls for purification

Misogi is a practice of purification by standing under a waterfall.

Shinto & Buddhism

Japanese go to Shinto for life-affirming activities, and Buddhist temples for death rites.

Meiji & Shinto

Meiji decreed that the way of the


should govern the nation. State Shinto became the tool of militaristic nationalists as a way to expand the empire.

Sadahara Oh

Emperor Hirohito

Meiji’s grandson Hirohito officially declared himself not a god, but a human after the end of WWII.

Modern Shinto

Shinto viewed nature as a sacred space flowing with the blessings of the kami. Today’s pollution is causing some to return to their Shinto ways to respect nature and the environment.


These slides are designed to accompany an oral presentation that compliments the book “Living Religions” written by Mary Pat Fisher and published by Prentice-Hall. The serious student would benefit greatly by using this book as an excellent additional source of information. Anyone duplicating this free presentation by One World Insight should be aware of copyright laws protecting some of the pictures and perform due diligence to make sure of their appropriate use.