It is already done in the form of Shugendo http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shugend%C5%8D
Also, many Japanese schools use Shinto influences in their practices and in Japan, you'll often see Buddhist priests praying at Shinto shrines and visa-versa. Many Japanese do not see them as separate religions and will often get married in a Shinto temple and have a funeral at a Buddhist temple.
I am not exactly much interested in Shugendo. Even though it is a combination of the two. It seems like Shugendo involves too much extreme practice or wish to attain some form of supernatural power. That is completely my personal opinion and I don't wish to offend anyone. I think many Japanese, like many Chinese with neo-Taoism and Buddhism, tend to combine the two because it is out of culture more than anything. Now I do understand that Shinto had integrated into the culture and every day life of Japanese, some just don't think of it as a separate practice. However this is why I think most Japanese do not fully submerge themselves into either two belief because I am sure Buddhism is not only for funeral neither is Shinto only for marriage.
I was wondering if it is possible and appropriate to incorporate Buddhism to my practice of Shinto? I find truth in both path and personally I feel it might be 2 sides of the same coin. In generally speaking, Shinto is about finding peace with nature and our surrounding but also ourselves. I feel like Buddhism is the same case. Is there something I should know that you think might be a problem or is a problem with incorporating the two?
Question out of curiosity: what is your practice of Shinto like? What sorts of practices are you involved in?
Thank you for asking. for simple,I have a Kamidana set up enshrining an Ofuda, similar to a Buddhist altar except not really. I give offerings and then pray everyday to express my gratitude to the Kami, both heavenly and earthly Kami that affect and bless our life. My belief is that there are spiritual essence in our surrounding. Even a tree has Kami. We are too Kami. This is what interesting to me because in this perspective, you see that we are all related, not just from one person to the next but to every existence. Through rightful living and purification of impurities, we will return to the Kami.
Shinto was basically Japanese polytheism with a bit of practices, organization and systematization thrown in from Chinese Daoism.
The whole point is to keep the kami placated. In that sense the goal is quite practical and worldly. It isn't about liberation.
That's why Buddhism and Shinto could exist side by side. They both have different aims and utilities.
Modern Shinto is somewhat different.
Did you say that Buddhism and Shinto could or could not exist side by side. I don't think the whole point of Shinto is to please the Kami.
I can't imagine that anyone would object, given that most of Japan has a passive connection with both religions (if Shinto counts as a religion). Basically Shinto is for weddings, and a few other life-cycle ceremonies, while Buddhism is for funerals. You might experience a certain amount of cognitive conflict between worshipping deities on one hand, and Buddhas on the other, but this can be relieved by taking one or both cosmologies less than literally. Or by joining a syncretic New Religion such as Tenrikyo. How do you feel about Japanese nationalism?
I don't have an opinion either way for Japanese nationalism. I know Shinto often involves revering or even worshiping the emperor because he is believed to be the direct descendant of Amaterasu, the sun goddess but I don't see that as the core essence of Shinto practice, in fact I don't even include or consider that at all in my practice.
The other day I went to a Joss house (Tao temple) it was old and rather beautiful with a cultivated garden at the entrance. I wandered about and came across an old Chinese man. I asked him a few questions and he seemed happy to tell me the history of the place. I kept saying the Chinese people and he would reply 'the Chinaman' which as he spoke revealed a different era, there being no political correctness and he bluntly told the history of the place as he saw fit. He seemed to be quite grounded with a strong abacus mind. I was surprised when the conversation took a spiritual turn and discussed the two alters for worship. The old man insisted the two deities in the temple needed to be addressed separately; people make the mistake of asking the same questions and don't treat the 'gods' as having their own distinct power and personalities. He was quite adamant about it so I guess it depends how strong your belief is in the power the deities represent.
Just wondering, do you know who were the 2 deities enshrined at this temple?