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Thread: Ask a follower of Shinto

  1. #11
    Jr. Member Pól Mac an Gabhain's Avatar
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    Re: Ask a follower of Shinto

    Quote Originally Posted by chris1987 View Post
    I am very interested in Shinto. So my question is, how does one begin to follow Shintoism? and since their is no place near by for me to acquire a Kamidana and other objects (I have looked around my area high and low) and I don't have the ability to make a Kamidana , do you know of any websites that maybe useful?
    Research is the starting point, get books, lots of books. Shinto, the Kami way by Sokyo Ono is a good starting place. As for Kamidana, believe it or not Amazon is your best bet along with Ebay (I actually think ebay is better).

    There are Japan shops on Ebay with the things you need, just shop around. Bare in mind a tree is just as good as a Shrine.

  2. #12
    Silver Member monsno_leedra's Avatar
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    Re: Ask a follower of Shinto

    I wonder does your altar / shrine incorporate Tori Gates? That was one indicator of even the smallest shrines I saw while stationed in Japan for 6.5 years. You might find them suddenly on the side of a road or on some beach or forested area. Do you also consider Shinto to be more animistic in nature than many traditional eastern practices?

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    Jr. Member Pól Mac an Gabhain's Avatar
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    Re: Ask a follower of Shinto

    Quote Originally Posted by monsno_leedra View Post
    I wonder does your altar / shrine incorporate Tori Gates? That was one indicator of even the smallest shrines I saw while stationed in Japan for 6.5 years. You might find them suddenly on the side of a road or on some beach or forested area. Do you also consider Shinto to be more animistic in nature than many traditional eastern practices?
    Kamidana do not have Tori, they do however have a scared mirror. Tori are only used by Shrines.

    More animistic........perhaps if one considers certain parts. I believe I mentioned Inugami earlier in the thread somewhere.....

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    Silver Member monsno_leedra's Avatar
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    Re: Ask a follower of Shinto

    Quote Originally Posted by Pól Mac an Gabhain View Post
    Kamidana do not have Tori, they do however have a scared mirror. Tori are only used by Shrines.

    More animistic........perhaps if one considers certain parts. I believe I mentioned Inugami earlier in the thread somewhere.....
    That makes sense about the shrines and Tori Gates. I do find it interesting though that you reference gods / goddesses as none of the Japanese I spoke to at any of the shrines or individuals said they had gods / goddesses. One of the reasons so many Japanese follow Shinto until later in life when they convert to Buddhist for afterlife issues and such.

  5. #15
    Jr. Member Pól Mac an Gabhain's Avatar
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    Re: Ask a follower of Shinto

    Quote Originally Posted by monsno_leedra View Post
    That makes sense about the shrines and Tori Gates. I do find it interesting though that you reference gods / goddesses as none of the Japanese I spoke to at any of the shrines or individuals said they had gods / goddesses. One of the reasons so many Japanese follow Shinto until later in life when they convert to Buddhist for afterlife issues and such.
    Gods and goddesses are the best translation I can give. There is no equivalent to Kami in English, to be honest I just find it convenient, people don't look at me strangely etc.

    I can see why they would convert later. It is well known that Shinto practitioners often prayed in Buddhist Temples as well as Shrines and Shinto-Buddhism was widespread for a very long time. The Buddhist view of the afterlife almost seems to go hand in hand with it for these reasons.

    It's not my view but that's just me.

  6. #16
    Kick Ass Little Crow Corvus's Avatar
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    Re: Ask a follower of Shinto

    Thankyou for answering my questions! I know a little about shinto but it's nice to be able to ask people questions. I hope these aren't becoming annoying though..
    1 I asked about how nonjapanese people are treated because I've heard some things about them being discriminated against for being "outsiders".
    2 I asked about the death of Kami (since I know they can die from a few legends) but I was wondering about what happened to their physical counterparts. As in Amaterasu Okami hides in her cave and the sun is gone from the sky. If a kami is killed does the thing they represent cease to exist?
    Which comes first the kami or the object? Ex. Theres a kami for the wheel or some other object which is somewhat modern, did the kami decide that it liked the object and become its spirit or are kami born when the objects are made or is there a predetermined amount of Kami just waiting for things to be invented?
    3 Are Kami physically present in the objects/things they represent/gaurd/ect? as in does the toilet kami live in the bathroom?
    4 Is Izanami no Mikoto still a kami even though she died? Is she worshiped in dual aspects before and after she died or singularly ?
    5 what are Kunitokotachi and Amenominakanushi? I see them being mentioned as the "first gods". By extension how does the shinto creation myth go? the websites I've looked at dont have anything before Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto.
    6 I thought Inugami were spirits of murdered dogs used by witches (or whatever the equivalent is)? I actually saw a ritual make inugami and it's godawful...
    7 What is and what is not a Kami? (I realize this is probably an impossible question) are Kami purely spiritual or metaphysical or something else? in which case can humans be or become kami?
    8 are Kami personal gods? as in do they pay attention to each worshipper individually?
    9 Is knowing japanese very important?
    10 What are shikigami? do they have anything to do with Shinto?
    11 Does Shinto have any stance on homosexuality and are there an associated kami to it?
    “They moaned and squealed, and pressed their snouts to the earth. We are sorry, we are sorry.
    Sorry you were caught, I said. Sorry that you thought I was weak, but you were wrong.”
    -Madeline Miller, Circe

  7. #17

    Re: Ask a follower of Shinto

    Does Shinto utilize kiko (energy technique) such as breath, posture and movement besides the kuji-in to develop a strong outer aura and internal strength?
    Do Shinto perform Mikkyo?

  8. #18
    Jr. Member Pól Mac an Gabhain's Avatar
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    Re: Ask a follower of Shinto

    Quote Originally Posted by Corvus View Post
    Thankyou for answering my questions! I know a little about shinto but it's nice to be able to ask people questions. I hope these aren't becoming annoying though..
    1 I asked about how nonjapanese people are treated because I've heard some things about them being discriminated against for being "outsiders".
    2 I asked about the death of Kami (since I know they can die from a few legends) but I was wondering about what happened to their physical counterparts. As in Amaterasu Okami hides in her cave and the sun is gone from the sky. If a kami is killed does the thing they represent cease to exist?
    Which comes first the kami or the object? Ex. Theres a kami for the wheel or some other object which is somewhat modern, did the kami decide that it liked the object and become its spirit or are kami born when the objects are made or is there a predetermined amount of Kami just waiting for things to be invented?
    3 Are Kami physically present in the objects/things they represent/gaurd/ect? as in does the toilet kami live in the bathroom?
    4 Is Izanami no Mikoto still a kami even though she died? Is she worshiped in dual aspects before and after she died or singularly ?
    5 what are Kunitokotachi and Amenominakanushi? I see them being mentioned as the "first gods". By extension how does the shinto creation myth go? the websites I've looked at dont have anything before Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto.
    6 I thought Inugami were spirits of murdered dogs used by witches (or whatever the equivalent is)? I actually saw a ritual make inugami and it's godawful...
    7 What is and what is not a Kami? (I realize this is probably an impossible question) are Kami purely spiritual or metaphysical or something else? in which case can humans be or become kami?
    8 are Kami personal gods? as in do they pay attention to each worshipper individually?
    9 Is knowing japanese very important?
    10 What are shikigami? do they have anything to do with Shinto?
    11 Does Shinto have any stance on homosexuality and are there an associated kami to it?
    1. The 'Outsider' mentality is not a result of Shinto which is faith of tolerating and embracing all things, but rather Japans current social norm. I believe there have been attempts to curb discrimination, but as any Burakimin would tell you, there hasn't been much done.

    2. What happens to the Kami they die? Izanami no Mikoto died in child birth and ended up in Yomi which is the land of the dead where she became a rotting corpse, but still able to move and talk. We don't know what happened to the Kami of food after death so that doesn't help. I doubt the object itself would be destroyed purely because Kami are meant to regulate the world and are considered infinite. No doubt one would take up the slack for that reason.

    An object gets a soul after 100 years, at which time it will have a Kami. That said if you follow the Ainu tradition of thought, everything has Kami by default. I usually go with the Ainu view on the matter. How the Kami comes to be there? Not sure, could be because energy accumulates for a hundred years or because the object simply exists.

    3. Does a toilet Kami live the bathroom? This is an interesting question because there types of Kami bound to locations. A Kami of a stretch of land would stay in that land for example. However, that only seems to be the way with the earthly Kami, the heavenly equivalent like Amatersu no Okami lives in heaven in their palace, not the sun. Good question indeed.

    4. Yes she still is worshiped as a Kami, as she has shrines dedicated to her, and it appears to be singular worship. I've never actually been in contact with someone who does worship her so I'm not sure about that part. Apologies.

    5. Amenominakanushi is the solitary Kami, being to first to come into existence in the heavenly plain. Kunitokotachi was born form the chaos of creation itself. The did indeed come first. Here is an extract from the Encyclopedia of Shinto who's scholars know far more than I on the subject.

    Zōka sanshin

    Three kami of creation." According to Kojiki's account of the formation of the world, the three kami which procreated first in the Plain of High Heaven (Takamanohara), namely, Amenominakanushi, Takamimusuhi, and Kamimusuhi. Each of these three came into being as a "solitary kami" (hitorigami), and later hid itself. The term zōka sanshin originates in the preface to Kojiki, where it states, "When heaven and earth first separated, the three kami that resulted were the beginning of all procreation." In the Edo period, scholars of National Learning (Kokugaku) valued Kojiki more highly than Nihongi, and around the end of the period, knowledge of the biblical story of creation led to theological trends that emphasized the "three kami of creation" due to their status as the very first to come into being. While Nihongi states that the first three kami to appear were Kunitokotachi no mikoto, Kunisazuchi no mikoto, and Toyokumunu no mikoto, it does not specifically label them the three kami of creation.

    -Inoue Nobutaka

    6. Not witches, just criminals. They are used almost entirely for criminal activities and yes the litral transaltion 'Dog God', they are far more than spirits which is why they are so dangerous. I believe wikipedia has an article on them.

    ...........and where did you see this being done?

    7. Impossible uestion I'm afraid, that said all living beings have a Kami within them. We are Kami right now, we simply do not worship ourselves because physical bodies can accumalate taint from any evil actions we take. This is why we practice misogi, ritual purification.

    8. Are they? Not sure, it really depends on your own belief. While yes you can pray for protection it doesn't mean they will answer, it really depends on the Kami. Ryujin for example is responsible for the worlds oceans and I doubt he is going to stop regulating so a fisherman can a safer waters to fish in. That said there are Kami that don't regulate such things, instead being Kami of joy, love and sensuality so they would most likely answer your prayers.

    9. It is insanely helpful to know Japanese which is why I will be taking a beginners course soon. However I got this far without it, not a lot has been translated to English, but the things you need are.

    10. Shikigami of familiar spirits and are invoked by Omyouji who are followers of the Omyodo cult. Here is another extract.

    Kami invoked as familiar spirits within the cult of Onmyōdō. Also read as shikijin, or shiki no kami. The shikigami are believed to have originated in the twelve monthly tutelary deities (Chōmei, Kakai, Jūkai, Densō, Shōkichi, Shōsen, Taiichi, Tenkō, Daishō, Kōsō, Daikichi, and Shinkō) found on the circular cosmographic divination board (shikiban; Ch. shipan) used in the methods of divination called rikujin shikisen (Ch. liuren shizhan), and in the "36 beasts" (sanjūrokkin), animals believed to have jurisdiction over the twelve hours of the day).

    In later esoteric Buddhism, they were given the same attributes as the "protectors of the dharma" (gohō, and they came to be viewed as lower-order deities subject to commands from Onmyō adepts. The shikigami frequently appear in collections of legends like Konjaku monogatari and Ujishūi monogatari, where they are described as appearing variously as children (or young men), small animals, and demons, while in many other cases they do not reveal their form at all. Konjaku monogatari relates that all Onmyōji adepts possess shikigami, invoke them when performing magic and divinations, and otherwise make them respond to their everyday commands. In fact, however, it is believed that the shikigami cult arose from an association of the magical paper tokens (katashiro) used during ritual purifications (harae) and Onmyōdō rituals, with the deities of the shikisen divination ritual.

    ----

    Omyouji were very powerful beings, the most powerful being Abe no Seimei who wrote the Senji Ryakketsu, the formost book on Omyodo. Shikigami acted as aides, protectors and spies as their master commanded.

    11. I have no idea what the Shinto stance of homosexuality is nor do i know of any Kami associated with it. I will have to contact the priest of Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America (The nearest English speaking Shrine I can get in contact with) with that question.



    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by PsykhikosAnarchosNautikos View Post
    Does Shinto utilize kiko (energy technique) such as breath, posture and movement besides the kuji-in to develop a strong outer aura and internal strength?
    Do Shinto perform Mikkyo?
    Is Kiko used? I've never heard of it until now, that said we do meditation so it wouldn't surprise me, I might give it a shot myself.

    Mikkyo is a Buddhist concept. Shinto probably absorbed it at some stage, you can if you want and I imagine it will have the desired effect. That said it is not Shinto

  9. #19
    Kick Ass Little Crow Corvus's Avatar
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    Re: Ask a follower of Shinto

    Quote Originally Posted by Pól Mac an Gabhain View Post
    6. Not witches, just criminals. They are used almost entirely for criminal activities and yes the litral transaltion 'Dog God', they are far more than spirits which is why they are so dangerous. I believe wikipedia has an article on them.

    ...........and where did you see this being done?
    First off I would like to thankyou for answering my many questions so well and I appreciate it very much. I practice necromancy and in my research inugami came up and bear similarities to servitors in necromancy, though few are as violent as Inugami appear to be. I worded my sentence wrong there. I have not actually seen the ritual itself but I know of the process which would occur. The process involves the ritual starvation and mutilation of a dog to create a spirit that could not rest quickly or easily and then ensnare it. There are similar rituals with different animals in a variety of cultures. It's absolutely horrible and most modern necromancers would denounce it as an evil practice. It's also appropriate to mention that not all servitors are produced from murder. I asked about witches using inugami for this reason. There seemed to be enough parallels to ask.
    “They moaned and squealed, and pressed their snouts to the earth. We are sorry, we are sorry.
    Sorry you were caught, I said. Sorry that you thought I was weak, but you were wrong.”
    -Madeline Miller, Circe

  10. #20
    Jr. Member Pól Mac an Gabhain's Avatar
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    Re: Ask a follower of Shinto

    Quote Originally Posted by Corvus View Post
    First off I would like to thankyou for answering my many questions so well and I appreciate it very much. I practice necromancy and in my research inugami came up and bear similarities to servitors in necromancy, though few are as violent as Inugami appear to be. I worded my sentence wrong there. I have not actually seen the ritual itself but I know of the process which would occur. The process involves the ritual starvation and mutilation of a dog to create a spirit that could not rest quickly or easily and then ensnare it. There are similar rituals with different animals in a variety of cultures. It's absolutely horrible and most modern necromancers would denounce it as an evil practice. It's also appropriate to mention that not all servitors are produced from murder. I asked about witches using inugami for this reason. There seemed to be enough parallels to ask.
    Indeed, I find it a revolting ritual. Burying a dog up to it's neck and leaving it there until it almost starves to death is a sickening practice and then it only gets worse.....

    It's no problem answering questions about my faith, it is something I enjoy doing. Please ask away if you have more.

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