Shinto is the indigenous religion of our Japanese people and as old as Japan itself.
Shinto originated in ancient people's fear and supernatural powers in nature.
Shinto is, literally, the way of the gods.
Shinto finds god in nature such as animals, trees, mountains, wind, rain, rivers, natural phenomenon, and ancestors from mythologies. "Shinto gods" are called kami in Japanese.
Shinto does not have a founder nor does it have sacred scriptures like the sutras or the Bible.
Propaganda and preaching are not common either, because Shinto is deeply rooted in our every Japanese and our traditions. It can be said that Shinto is a way of our daily life instead of as our religion.
Its most important concept is purity.
The greatest Shinto impurity is death, and it's always considered taboo.
On the contrary, Buddhism teaches how to escape the agonies of life and to reach nirvana, or enlightenment.
It remains Japan's major religion alongside Buddhism.
Shinto and Buddhism are not a monotheistic religion then they have coexisted after Buddhism was introduced to Japan in the sixth century.
Most of us go to a Jinja, Shinto shrine, for occasions related to this life such as Omiyamairi, baby's first shrine visit, or weddings, and go to Buddhist temple on occasions related to life after death, such as funerals and death anniversary.
In our Japanese home, both Shinto and Buddhist altars are found side by side, and both are prayed at daily; the hands are clapped in front of the Shinto altar to worship the guardian gods of the family, and incense is burned in front of the Buddhist altar for the ancestors.
【photo】Torii, the gate of the Meiji Jingu Shinto Shrine in Tokyo.
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