Shinto - Buddhism

Whether you're exploring Buddhism for the first time or you're already on the path, feel free to ask questions of any kind here.

Shinto - Buddhism

Postby TheSpirit » Tue Sep 24, 2013 5:41 pm

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?

Thank you,
“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.”
― Yukitaka Yamamoto
User avatar
TheSpirit
 
Posts: 107
Joined: Tue Sep 24, 2013 5:38 pm

Re: Shinto - Buddhism

Postby TheSpirit » Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:45 pm

I guess no input. That is alright.

Thank you and take care.
“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.”
― Yukitaka Yamamoto
User avatar
TheSpirit
 
Posts: 107
Joined: Tue Sep 24, 2013 5:38 pm

Re: Shinto - Buddhism

Postby Seishin » Wed Sep 25, 2013 10:42 pm

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.

Gassho,
Seishin
User avatar
Seishin
Former staff member
 
Posts: 1408
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:53 am

Re: Shinto - Buddhism

Postby Jikan » Thu Sep 26, 2013 12:48 am

TheSpirit wrote: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?

Thank you,


Question out of curiosity: what is your practice of Shinto like? What sorts of practices are you involved in?

thanks
Jikan
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5076
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm

Re: Shinto - Buddhism

Postby Alfredo » Thu Sep 26, 2013 1:26 am

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?
(no longer participating on this board)
Alfredo
 
Posts: 421
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:52 am

Re: Shinto - Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Thu Sep 26, 2013 3:29 am

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.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5914
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Nepal

Re: Shinto - Buddhism

Postby greentara » Thu Sep 26, 2013 5:51 am

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.
greentara
 
Posts: 922
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:03 am

Re: Shinto - Buddhism

Postby TheSpirit » Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:54 pm

Seishin wrote: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.

Gassho,
Seishin


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.

Jikan wrote:
TheSpirit wrote: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?

Thank you,


Question out of curiosity: what is your practice of Shinto like? What sorts of practices are you involved in?



thanks


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.

Indrajala wrote: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.

Alfredo wrote: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.

greentara wrote: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?
“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.”
― Yukitaka Yamamoto
User avatar
TheSpirit
 
Posts: 107
Joined: Tue Sep 24, 2013 5:38 pm

Re: Shinto - Buddhism

Postby Seishin » Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:59 pm

TheSpirit wrote: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.


Sorry Spirit, I didn't mean that you should follow Shugendo, I just offered it as an example of Buddhism & Shinto mixing as one religion, to show that has and can be done. :smile:

Gassho,
Seishin
User avatar
Seishin
Former staff member
 
Posts: 1408
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:53 am

Re: Shinto - Buddhism

Postby TheSpirit » Thu Sep 26, 2013 3:08 pm

Seishin wrote:
TheSpirit wrote: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.


Sorry Spirit, I didn't mean that you should follow Shugendo, I just offered it as an example of Buddhism & Shinto mixing as one religion, to show that has and can be done. :smile:

Gassho,
Seishin


Thank you Seishin. You did not need to apologize at all! :smile: I am grateful for your input and encouragement.
“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.”
― Yukitaka Yamamoto
User avatar
TheSpirit
 
Posts: 107
Joined: Tue Sep 24, 2013 5:38 pm

Re: Shinto - Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:31 pm

TheSpirit wrote: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.


It is polytheism of the classic type.

I don't really see how outside Japan you could appropriate it as the gods it deals with are specific to the Japanese islands.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5914
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Nepal

Re: Shinto - Buddhism

Postby Jikan » Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:50 pm

Indrajala wrote:
TheSpirit wrote: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.


It is polytheism of the classic type.

I don't really see how outside Japan you could appropriate it as the gods it deals with are specific to the Japanese islands.


Interestingly enough...

http://www.tsubakishrine.org/
Jikan
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5076
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm

Re: Shinto - Buddhism

Postby TheSpirit » Thu Sep 26, 2013 9:36 pm

Indrajala wrote:
TheSpirit wrote: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.


It is polytheism of the classic type.

I don't really see how outside Japan you could appropriate it as the gods it deals with are specific to the Japanese islands.


I think most would say the same about Buddhism. Polytheism - of the classic type if you will. People pray to Nyorai and Bosatsus just as they would with Kami. Each Bosatsus are also specialized in a certain area of virtues. Such as Monju Bosatsu, a Bosatsu most would pray to for wisdom, or Kannon Bosatsu people pray to to relieve of their sufferings. Buddhism even have different type of Buddhas with different function. For example, people would pray to Yakushi Nyorai for healing. Though I have seen most that say they do not worship or pray to these Nyorai and Bosatsu, but of course in reality that is not true, they do pray to these Nyorai and Bosatsu for different things. So there is no difference if you compare it to the veneration of the Kami in Shinto, each Kami represent a different spiritual essence of nature and the Universe. I think the polytheism of Buddhism is even more complex than that of Shinto. Buddhism have a whole hierarchy of deities.

And because of what I stated above, you can most definitely practice Shinto outside of Japan. Shinto doesn't exactly have strict sacred scripture like that of Buddhism. However there are mythology that does pertain to Japan and it involves several well known Kami. However the mythology isn't guideline for the practice or belief of Shinto like scripture is for Buddhism. In Shinto, Amaterasu, the sun goddess, shines all over earth and give life to everything on it, how could it only be pertain to Japan then? Kami are everywhere. Within nature resides the Kami. There are Kami of river, of forest, of valley and mountain. There are Kami of trees and even Kami of music and art, of our every day life. We are surrounded by Kami and we are too Kami. Sit at the core of Shinto is to be in harmony with others, nature, and ourselves. So yes you can definitely practice Shinto outside of Japan.

I can see your confusion might arise from the fact that you see the Kamis as just simply gods, and you are probably thinking strictly of the well known Kami of Japan. There are Kamis that are indeed like that of the gods, however Kami doesn't have a direct translation into English. It is best to understand that Kami is in a way nature itself, the spiritual essence of the beauty and even the strange and oddity of our world. We sees Kami when we awed in amazement. Hopefully you can see how it is very much possible to practice Shinto outside of Japan. It isn't a nationalism religion, it is a universal practice to harmonize us with nature, regardless of location. :smile:
“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.”
― Yukitaka Yamamoto
User avatar
TheSpirit
 
Posts: 107
Joined: Tue Sep 24, 2013 5:38 pm

Re: Shinto - Buddhism

Postby Jikan » Thu Sep 26, 2013 9:49 pm

I once attended a lecturer by a Japanese professor (sadly I've forgotten his name and I don't have my notes for this) who claimed that much of contemporary Shinto practice is based in Buddhist practices that were incorporated by Shinto temples. His main example was Fudo Myoo, who is treated as a kami in some contexts. I'm putting this out as relevant to the OP, because it suggests that Shinto practice is indeed amenable to the incorporation of Buddhist elements.
Jikan
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5076
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm

Re: Shinto - Buddhism

Postby TheSpirit » Thu Sep 26, 2013 10:10 pm

Jikan wrote:I once attended a lecturer by a Japanese professor (sadly I've forgotten his name and I don't have my notes for this) who claimed that much of contemporary Shinto practice is based in Buddhist practices that were incorporated by Shinto temples. His main example was Fudo Myoo, who is treated as a kami in some contexts. I'm putting this out as relevant to the OP, because it suggests that Shinto practice is indeed amenable to the incorporation of Buddhist elements.


Thank you for the input! :smile:

I know in early days when Buddhism spread to Japan, there was alot of syncretism. People sometimes call it shinbutsu shugo which is actually not a positive things for many. But Buddhism tend to have the history of taking onto the culture of the place and location as itself how they adapt Hindu deities or taoist gods as guardian. This is the same case with the guardian Hachiman which later became a figure in Buddhism as well....now often depicted as wearing Buddhist robe.

The other day while doing research to learn more about the compatibility between Buddhism and Shinto, I actually came across an article discussing the connection between Shinto and Buddhism in Japan. When Buddhism first spread to Japan, a lot of Buddhist monks do not doubt the existence of the Kami, however they see Nyorai and Bosatsu as superior and I guess they believed that the Kami needed saving just as human or any other beings does. However, to appeal more accepting, they stated that many of the Kamis are actually a different form of the Nyorai & Bosatsu, they appear as the Kami to make it easier to be closer to the people. I suppose this is why we have this whole jumbo of Buddhism and Shinto overlapping. I am not quite sure if I would believe that the Kamis are just Nyorai or Bosatsu though.

Having that said, I am interested in the philosophical aspect of both practice. I dont quite understand the completely core philosophy of Buddhism but I know it is a practice to lessen our suffering and to be in harmony, I see this to be compatible with the core belief of Shinto practice. This was what I really wanted to know starting this topic, now I see it might just be a matter of opinion.
“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.”
― Yukitaka Yamamoto
User avatar
TheSpirit
 
Posts: 107
Joined: Tue Sep 24, 2013 5:38 pm

Re: Shinto - Buddhism

Postby Alfredo » Thu Sep 26, 2013 11:59 pm

It would be better to say that prior to the Meiji Restoration, Buddhism and Shinto practice were blended together to the point that they were not usually distinguished in folk practice (much as Buddhist elements such as Guanyin devotion can be found in otherwise "Daoist" temples outside of China). But the Meiji government (like the PRC government) tried to separate the two religions from one another and "purify" temples of apparently extraneous elements. There was much confusion then as to whether Shinto was a religion (it was decided no, because otherwise it might violate religious freedom to require worship of the emperor), and if so, what it taught.

Well, Buddhism is generally found to co-exist with other, relatively localized supernatural beliefs. Thailand, Korea, and Tibet all have rich cults of devotion to spirits of various descriptions (often associated with a particular place), which popular practice incorporates into / alongside Buddhism. Your combination does not seem all that different. More "elite" forms of the religion might ask about your ultimate religious aims, i.e. whether you aspire to some form of Buddhist enlightenment, or whether this samsaric world is a pretty nice place after all.
(no longer participating on this board)
Alfredo
 
Posts: 421
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:52 am

Re: Shinto - Buddhism

Postby greentara » Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:12 am

TheSpirit, "Just wondering, do you know who were the 2 deities enshrined at this temple?" As I wandered around the temple I realized all information was in Chinese so stumbling across the old man was my only link to understanding the place. As I recall he mentioned it all lead back to the emperor and his seven representatives. Why there were only two deities there I don't know or understand. Perhaps it was lack of space and many of the rooms had reams of Chinese information about people who had passed away and what town or village they had come from, rather poignant as they had died so far from home.....genealogy understated, the calligraphy at its most picturesque.
greentara
 
Posts: 922
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:03 am

Re: Shinto - Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Fri Sep 27, 2013 2:23 am

Jikan wrote:Interestingly enough...

http://www.tsubakishrine.org/


Years ago I showed my Japanese friends this and they were floored.

I still don't appreciate it so much as the classical kami, if you believe they really exist, don't live in Granite Falls, Washington.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5914
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Nepal

Re: Shinto - Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Fri Sep 27, 2013 3:02 am

Alfredo wrote:... or whether this samsaric world is a pretty nice place after all.


Shinto, like most forms of polytheism, is quite practical. The whole point is to placate the kami and be on good terms with them. They are powerful spirits of the land and water. You should be a good neighbor. This is why major Buddhist temples generally have kami shrines on site.

I don't think Shinto was ever conceived, until recently at least, as a way of celebrating and enjoying nature. If you look at classical Shinto and its scriptures (yes it has a canon, a lot of it in quasi-Classical Chinese), the main aim was to placate kami and keep them calm. The big red gates one sees on the borders of forests and mountains signified the border between the human realm and the kami realm. The kami, except on special occasions, were to stay on the other side and leave humanity be.

Modern interpretations of Shinto obviously differ. Even on Japanese forums I read people talking about it is all about appreciating nature, but that's entirely at odds with its history.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5914
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Nepal

Re: Shinto - Buddhism

Postby dude » Fri Sep 27, 2013 3:37 am

The more I think about it, the more I think they are not compatible.
dude
 
Posts: 541
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:38 am

Next

Return to Exploring Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: lite, LolCat and 22 guests

>