Shinto The Way Home Central Thesis

Shinto The Way Home Central Thesis-21
Generally speaking, traditionally one worships only the god or gods of shrine located in the geographical proximity of ones home.And most importantly, one considers oneself to be the child of that shrine, that location.

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A few example few examples of way in which an importance placed on places are as follows : In sum, we may go as far as to say that in Japan, due to the polytheistic geographically located nature of its religion Shinto, there is no universal god nor are there universal rules.

There are instead locationally defined norms of behaviour.

It is a striking thing to believe, to believe oneself to be the child of a location.

Freud and Durkheim considered a similar form of "geographical totemism" to be the most "primitive", the earliest form of religion found in human society since, in the societies of central Australia the tribesmen denied the existence of fatherhood.

The shrine or "jinja" is contains or enshrines a thing, but it is also a sacred site.

The god-body of the shrine may be a mountain, a tree, a rock or other natural feature but most importantly it will be the thing in that place.

Prayer is matter of movement - before god one bows twice, claps ones hands twice and bows again.

The festivals of Shinto are predominantly linked to the calendar - the new years festival, the harvest festival - and thus do not seem to require any justification by scripture or as commemorative event.

And more than this, Shinto like Christianity and other world religions has, I believe, a structure which structures Japanese society and in particular the family, in much the same way as the "philosophy" of Christianity structures the societies of the Christian West.

To cut a long story short, I think that Shinto can be best be understood as a form of geographical totemism as referred to by Durkheim and Freud.


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