Likes Likes:  0
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 21

Thread: Shinto & Buddhism- Birth & Death

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Gardena
    Posts
    2,842
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default Shinto & Buddhism- Birth & Death

    Hi All,

    I came accross a book by Donald Ritchie entitled "Introducing Japan". A page section quote " When a Japanese is born, the local shinto shrine is notified; when a japanese dies, a priest from a buddist temple officiates.

    Althought the book did not give a fundamental explanation on the subject, I thought I'd ask here.

    Is this typical for a japanese to practice two religion ? As I have read the basics about Shinto, How are they different in their views of life and death ?

    Thanks
    Prince Loeffler
    Shugyokan Dojo

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Gloucestershire, UK
    Posts
    169
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default .Shinto & death

    In Shintoism purity is very important and death is seen as a pollution. In ancient times the main sources of pollution were eating meat, mensturation, sickness, death among humans and animals and even birth. All these can be collected under the headings `blood and `death`. Anything that came under these two headings were thought of as pollution.
    Probably another reason why Shinto didnt take part in burial was that they connected burial with the underground world of `Yomi` (hades).

    On the subject of birth, once the baby had been born the baby is taken to a Ubusuna shrine (local tutelary shrine) for Hatsumiya Mode so that the baby is recognised by the local deity as a new member of the comumunity.

    yours
    Brian Carpenter

    Haruchi Umuchi Tsuzuchi !

  3. #3
    Mekugi Guest

    Default Re: Shinto & Buddhism- Birth & Death

    I think that I heard it best when it was said that all Japanese Buddhists are Shinto and all Shinto is Buddhist.

    The "mixing" took place a long time ago. For example, my soon-to-be-brother-in-law took their new born baby to the buddhist temple for a blessing then to a shrine for a blessing. In a few years he will do the first leg of the Shichi-go-san. They also do both required religious acts for their new found wealth of spirit. When their father died they had buddhist rites and ritual, then they had the Shinto priest in doing something...I am not sure what.

    There are several forms of old buddhism still in existance in Japan and these seem to have a common ground; an asian version of the "Nicene Creed" of sorts. They co-exist and can compliment one another. It's not like the West, that 's for sure. There is a Buddhist temple, for example, just South of me in a place called Tsu, that has a Shinto shrine inside it's grounds.

    Weddings can be both Shinto and Buddhist, either one can perform the ceremony and they both recognize one another as legitimate, for example.

    How is that for different!!!

    -Russ chan

    Originally posted by Prince Loeffler
    Hi All,

    I came accross a book by Donald Ritchie entitled "Introducing Japan". A page section quote " When a Japanese is born, the local shinto shrine is notified; when a japanese dies, a priest from a buddist temple officiates.

    Althought the book did not give a fundamental explanation on the subject, I thought I'd ask here.

    Is this typical for a japanese to practice two religion ? As I have read the basics about Shinto, How are they different in their views of life and death ?

    Thanks

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    JAPAN
    Posts
    1,616
    Likes (received)
    108

    Default

    No they dont practice two they practice three

    Dont forget the Christian ceremony when they get married. Officiating
    at a Christian ceremony is quite a profitable pastime. My friends get around 4000 US a month for two twenty minute ceremonies back to back Saturdays and Sundays

    Not many actualy practice any religion in a strong sense. They are also very pragmatic. A friend once summed it up by saying, "Why are Westerners so strange and just stick to one religion. God is all around us".

    They observe religious rites just as Westerners do. As mentioned Shinto rites are usually observed for children. Coming of age is a Shinto rite. They get married and generaly have a Shinto and Christian ceremony. There are certain unlucky ages called Yakedoshi when some adults go to a shrine for purification rites. Apart from that sometimes new ground is sanctified by Shinto ceremony before they build.

    Some older people go to the temple usualy on Sundays. Unless its in a built up area most familys have a plot. After family are cremated their Nokotsu-Tsubo (Burial Urn is placed in the grave) I have done this many times so I suppose I should explain in more detail.

    Graves have a stone that can be easily removed. In bigger ones its a door. Other urns are moved to the left and the new one is put on the right. Familys pay a monthly amount to the temple for the grave. As land it becoming scarce Buddhist sects buy land in the mountains and sell a Nokotsu-do. This is small area or cubicle where the urn is placed.

    Cremation is different as only selected bones are placed in the urn they are picked up with one set of Hashi (Chopsticks) and transfered to others to place the bone on a tray. This is why you never transfer food from one persons chopsticks to another. Also at a ceremony chopsticks are thrust into and left in a bowl of rice That's some thing else you dont do when eating.

    Certain days are observed after a person passes on. Also certain periods of the year are observed in both Shinto and Buddhist faiths.
    Our next is Obon. A Buddhist one this coming August. The family congregates at the family home or at the home of the child who has the Butsudan (Usually the eldest). At this time the spirits of the departed briefly return. It is also at this time we also visit the grave to say a prayer.

    Hope this helps

    Hyakutake Colin
    Hyakutake Colin

    All the best techniques are taught by survivors.


    http://www.hyoho.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Hiroshima, Japan.
    Posts
    2,550
    Likes (received)
    151

    Default Re: Shinto & Buddhism- Birth & Death

    Originally posted by Prince Loeffler
    Hi All,

    I came accross a book by Donald Ritchie entitled "Introducing Japan". A page section quote " When a Japanese is born, the local shinto shrine is notified; when a japanese dies, a priest from a buddist temple officiates.

    Althought the book did not give a fundamental explanation on the subject, I thought I'd ask here.

    Is this typical for a japanese to practice two religion ? As I have read the basics about Shinto, How are they different in their views of life and death ?

    Thanks
    Perhaps you need to look for some books in English about Japanese religion. As Russ (aka Mekugi) stated, everything was mixed together from a very early stage and differences between Shinto and Buddhism (= supposedly indigenous Japanese religion, vs. foreign, i.e., Chinese influences) really became apparent much later and only because people like the nativists (in the Tokugawa period) wanted to clarify these differences for their own purposes.

    There are very few good books on Japanese religion, but you might start by looking at some of the chapters in Vol. 1 of the "Cambridge History of Japan". Joseph Kitagawa is an important name here, but you should also read anything in English by Toshio Kuroda and Anna Seidel (unless you can read Japanese or German, of course).

    My own students here in Hiroshima really have no clue what religion they have. Their grandparents tend to be Buddhist (usually Nichiren, rarely Shingon), but they themselves participate in all the rituals and festivals.

    Example: one of my students married recently. The ceremony was a 'chapel wedding' and non-family members were encouraged to attend (this is rare in Japan). The Christian 'priest' was actually a Muslim, as he told me afterwards, and had been hired by the hotel where the ceremony was conducted, because he looked like a Westerner (full beard) and understood Japanese. This part-time job was actually very lucrative, because he worked at various hotels.

    He conducted the service very well, with a suitably unctuous voice, and lots of good Christian hymns were listed on the program, but no one had a clue about the words. The couple felt that they had had a 'good' wedding, but this was really a social occasion. If I had asked them 'Why a Christian wedding?', they would probably have answered, 'Because chapel weddings are fashionble and the bride can wear a beautiful white dress'.

    PS Colin H's post is very informative and absolutely on target, but, as I stated, perhaps you need to read something if you do not live here and see the contradictions (or blending) every day.

    Best regards,
    Last edited by P Goldsbury; 5th July 2003 at 13:38.
    Peter Goldsbury,
    Forum Administrator,
    Hiroshima, Japan

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Three Lakes,WI/Mishima City, Japan
    Posts
    14
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default Shinto Funerals

    I was a bit surprised to find out a few years ago that there is such a thing as a Shinto funeral. A friend of mine's relative was a kannushi at a large shrine somewhere north of Tokyo. When he died they gave him a Shinto style funeral. My friend didn't attend so she couldn't give any details about it. It would be interesting to know how they are conducted.

    Charles Hill

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Palo Alto, Ca, USA
    Posts
    1,324
    Likes (received)
    1

    Default

    I have often heard about how death is considered a source of kegare (pollution) accordng to Shinto beliefs and that therefore Japanese funerals are always Buddhist.

    This begs the question, of course, as to how Japanese people disposed of dead people before the coming of Buddhism. As I understand it, the term "Shinto" only came to be applied to native Japanese religious practices when people felt a need to differentiate between native and foreign practices, and that the Japanese belief in kami and the practice of rituals associated with them really didn't have any official name until rather late in Japanese history.

    Anyhow, while I suppose it is difficult to really know specifically the manner in which people were buried that long ago, I have been told that coffin burials used to be widely practiced and that the practice of cremation is a Buddhist innovation.

    So Nichiren is common in your area of the country, Professor Goldsbury? In my wife's home area (Kanazawa) practically everybody was Jodo Shinshu (New Pure Land).
    Earl Hartman

  8. #8
    Mekugi Guest

    Default

    (In Response to Earl Hartman)

    Kofun are one of the earliest forms of burial. Ancient "Japanese History" regarding the Ainu and the Haniwa as seperate, this would of course dispell the facts of their burial practices as being native in an attempt for historians to seperate the Japanese "Race" (puke)from these ancient cultures. However these two civilizations more than likely mixed their beliefs and practices with the "Japanese", whoever they are. This would be mound burial and not cremation....
    Begs the question, no!!

    -Russ

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    JAPAN
    Posts
    1,616
    Likes (received)
    108

    Default

    I'm sitting in a Jodo Shinshu office building typing now! But a lot of people particularly the farming community around here are Nichiren Shu. Quite a lot of Zen Shu around too. One point that was not mentioned with regard to Shinto is the fact that there are no graves. Add this and WW2 and its not so popular. I can count on one hand the number of people I knew that had Shinto services and have never actually been to one.

    Buddhism offers a chance to remember Hotoke sama (the spirit of those that have passed on) and what they stood for. Ask most people what they will be doing this coming August "I'm going to Grandma's house. Its a well established custom. My observations have been that in general Japanese people seem to have far less daily contact with family. This and New Year is a time that all get together.

    Most funerals take place in a funeral hall nowadays. The priest of your particular order simply presides and does the ceremony at the hall. The crematorys are well over crowded. It used to be that one would have a ceremony and then go there. Now a lot of people go to the crematory first then have a ceremony afterwards. There are lot of things to consider such as time schedules and the weather of all things if a service is done at home. People dont keep well on ice in August.

    I am fairly surprised at a lot of religious infighting that goes on. I have seen a few people with kids to raise get thrown out of their jobs for no apparent reason. A Union Reps immediate reaction would be "They cant do that". But they do and one would perhaps hope to see a bit more humanity from a religious sect that spouts purity and goodness to the masses. But as one priests wife told me who's husband was on the recieving end. "Its not our religion, its the people".

    So saying I would not want readers to consider Buddhism as some spectacular religious way of life.

    Hyakutake Colin
    Hyakutake Colin

    All the best techniques are taught by survivors.


    http://www.hyoho.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    148
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default

    Aloha,

    Here are a few books that you should read before you have any questions on Japanese religion:

    -H. Byron Earhart. Japanese Religion: Unity and Diversity. 3rd. Ed. Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing Co. 1982.

    -Bary, Keene, Tanabe, et.al. Sources of Japanese Tradition. 2nd. Ed. Vol. 1. New York: Columbia University Press. 2001.

    These two books are foundations of any religion course at the university level concerning Japanese religion. At least they are here at the Univ. of Hawaii.

    A typical saying about Japanese religion is, "born Shinto, die Buddhist." Its just a unique aspect of the culture that two religious traditions have been synthesized into the mainstream culture. With the initial introduction of Buddhism to Japan, there was backlash at the foreign belief system, which led to the naming of indigenous beliefs as "Shin-to" or "Shen tao" which means way of the spirits in Chinese. If you want to be more "Japanese" about it, you could use the term "Kami-no-michi" which essentially means the same thing but shrugs-off the Chinese linguistic influences.

    As for people noting that Japanese (youth) mindlessly follow their traditions without any inkling as to exactly what is going on, well...take a look around people. The same thing goes on here in the U.S. Ask just about any person who attends a Christian church on Sundays about the finer points of their dogma and doctrine and they'll struggle to explain exactly why they believe what they believe. The most common answer to the question, "why are you Lutheran?" is "because my parents were/are Lutheran." I suppose its easier for us, coming from the exotopic point-of-view, to see the inconsistencies and quirks of another belief system, however, we should be aware that this phenomena is not exactly confined to Japan.

    Just my two cents.
    Regards,
    Joel

    Isaiah 6:8

  11. #11
    Mekugi Guest

    Default

    Hey!

    Do these books mention anything about ko'shinto? I would like to see what they say. I know an expert in the feild of archaic Shinto and the flavor varies a great deal in that the "mesh" is a little different than the modern idea. There is a "difference" to what was practiced long ago and what is practiced today out of pragmatism. The cremation of a corpse, for instance, is Buddhist and is popular in modern Japan as a matter of convenience because of the land crunch.

    I heard here that there are no Japanese Shinto graves? There are graves, just no grave stones or markers, usually.
    Many thousands of burial mounds, called Kofun, are all over Japan. There are some mass burials too.

    -Russ

    Originally posted by hawaiianvw67
    Aloha,

    Here are a few books that you should read before you have any questions on Japanese religion:

    -H. Byron Earhart. Japanese Religion: Unity and Diversity. 3rd. Ed. Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing Co. 1982.

    -Bary, Keene, Tanabe, et.al. Sources of Japanese Tradition. 2nd. Ed. Vol. 1. New York: Columbia University Press. 2001.

    These two books are foundations of any religion course at the university level concerning Japanese religion. At least they are here at the Univ. of Hawaii.

  12. #12
    Mekugi Guest

    Default

    Here is an example of how "Shinto" is mistaken and viewed in the West and is amalgamated into one; this is actually Buddhist in content:

    "SHINTO FUNERAL"

  13. #13
    Mekugi Guest

    Default

    Originally posted by Mekugi
    Here is an example of how "Shinto" is mistaken and viewed in the West and is amalgamated into one "entity"; this is actually Buddhist in content.

    "SHINTO FUNERAL"
    Silly Heathens that they are....

    -Russ

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    148
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default

    Aloha Russ,

    I do know that most early Shinto rituals and festivals were connected with rice harvests and weather patterns. I suppose several of these festivals are still practiced in the more remote areas of Japan, however, considering that most if not all of the rice consumed in Japan is produced in California I would think that some of these practices have faded away.

    On pages 58 & 162 of "Japanese Religion," there is brief mention of a Shinto cult named "Koshin" which has its roots in Chinese Taoist folk beliefs, originating during the Heian period.

    I highly recommend the "Japanese Religion" book as a starter, and the "Sources of Japanese Tradition" for anyone who really wants to do some boring/interesting reading.
    Regards,
    Joel

    Isaiah 6:8

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Palo Alto, Ca, USA
    Posts
    1,324
    Likes (received)
    1

    Default

    Originally posted by hawaiianvw67

    most if not all of the rice consumed in Japan is produced in California
    Where did you hear that? I suppose that all of those rice paddies you see in Japan everywhere stretching as far as the eye can see (once you get out of the cities) are producing rice for someone else?
    Earl Hartman

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Book: "Shinto - At the Fountain-head of Japan"
    By Nathan Scott in forum Shinto
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: 9th February 2007, 00:48
  2. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 4th October 2004, 12:31
  3. Bon Matsuri
    By Mekugi in forum Shinto
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 14th August 2003, 06:41
  4. Replies: 5
    Last Post: 9th August 2003, 11:45

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •