Shinbutsu-shūgō called Shinbutsu-konkō, is the syncretism of Buddhism and kami worship, Japan's only organized religion up until the Meiji period. Beginning in 1868, the new Meiji government approved a series of laws that separated Japanese native kami worship, on one side, from Buddhism which had assimilated it, on the other; when Buddhism was introduced from China in the Asuka period, rather than discarding the old belief system, the Japanese tried to reconcile the two, assuming both were true. As a consequence, Buddhist temples were attached to local Shinto shrines and vice versa and devoted to both kami and buddhas; the local religion and foreign Buddhism never quite fused, but remained however inextricably linked all the way to the present day, always interacting. The depth of the resulting influence of Buddhism on local religious beliefs can be seen for example in the fact that much of Shinto's conceptual vocabulary and the types of Shinto shrines we see today, with a large worship hall and religious images, are themselves of Buddhist origin.
The formal separation of Buddhism from Shinto took place only as as the end of the 19th century. The term shinbutsu shūgō itself was coined during the early modern era to refer to the amalgamation of kami and buddhas in general, as opposed to specific currents within Buddhism which did the same, e.g. Ryōbu Shintō and Sannō Shintō; the term may have a negative connotation of randomness. It is a yojijukugo phrase. There is no agreement among specialists as to the exact extent of fusion between the two religions. According to some scholars, for example Hirai Naofusa, in Japan, Joseph Kitagawa, in the US, Shinto is the indigenous religion of Japan, has existed as such continuously since pre-history, consists of all the peculiarly Japanese rituals and beliefs shaped by Japanese history from prehistory to the present; the term "Shinto" itself was coined in the 6th century to differentiate the loosely organized local religion from imported Buddhism. The opposing view belongs to Japanese historian Toshio Kuroda who, in a famous article, has argued that Shinto as an independent religion was born only in the modern period after emerging in the Middle Ages as an offshoot of Buddhism.
Kuroda's main argument is that Shinto as a distinct religion is a Meiji era invention of Japanese nationalist ideologues. He points out how the state formalization of kami rituals and the state ranking of shrines during the Heian period were not the emergence of Shinto as an independent religion, but an effort to explain local beliefs in Buddhist terms, he says that, while it is true that the two characters for "Shinto" appear early in the historical record, for example in the Nihon Shoki, this does not mean today's Shinto existed as a religion because they were used as a name for Taoism or for religion in general. Indeed, according to Kuroda, many features of Shinto, for example the worshiping of mirrors and swords or the structure of the Ise Shrine are typical of Taoism; the term Shinto in old texts therefore does not indicate something uniquely Japanese. Still according to this view, Shinto's rise as an autonomous religion was gradual and started to become evident with the emergence of Yoshida Kanetomo's Yoshida Shintō.
The term Shinto started to be used with today's meaning of kami worship only during the Edo period. During the same era, Kokugaku theorists like Motoori Norinaga tried to separate it intellectually from Buddhism, preparing the ground for the final schism of the Meiji Restoration. According to the first view the two religions were at the time of their first meeting formed and independent and thereafter just coexisted with non-essential exchanges. According to the second, meeting local kami beliefs in Japan produced today's Shinto; the fusion of Buddhism with the local kami worship started as soon as the first arrived in Japan. Mononobe no Okoshi wrote, "The kami of our land will be offended if we worship a foreign kami." Mononobe saw Gautama Buddha as just another kami. Foreign kami were called banshin or busshin, understood to be more or less like local ones. Therefore, the conflict between the two religions was political, not religious, in nature, a struggle between the progressive Soga clan, that wanted a more international outlook for the country, the conservative Mononobe clan, that wanted the contrary.
Buddhism was not passive in the assimilation process, but was itself ready to assimilate and be assimilated. By the time it entered Japan it was syncretic, having adapted to and amalgamated with other religions and cultures in India and the Korean Peninsula. For example while in India, it had absorbed Hindu divinities like Brahma and Indra; when it arrived in Japan, it had a disposition towards producing the combinatory gods that the Japanese would call shūgōshin. Searching for the origins of a kami in Buddhist scriptures was felt to be nothing out of the ordinary. However, if monks didn't doubt the existence of kami, they saw them as inferior to their buddhas. Hindu gods had been treated analogously: they had been thought of as un-illuminated and prisoners of saṃsāra. Buddhist claims of superiority encountered resistance
Kojiki sometimes read as Furukotofumi, is the oldest extant chronicle in Japan, dating from the early 8th century and composed by Ō no Yasumaro at the request of Empress Genmei. The Kojiki is a collection of myths, early legends, genealogies, oral traditions and semi-historical accounts down to 641 concerning the origin of the Japanese archipelago, the Kami; the myths contained in the Kojiki as well as the Nihon Shoki are part of the inspiration behind many practices. The myths were re-appropriated for Shinto practices such as the misogi purification ritual. Emperor Tenmu ordered Hieda no Are to memorize stories and texts from history, many of which appear to have been, until the creation of the Kojiki known oral traditions. Beyond this memorization, nothing occurred until after Empress Jitō and Emperor Monmu had both passed and Empress Genmei came to reign. According to the Kojiki, Empress Genmei on the 18th of the 9th month of 711 ordered the courtier Ō no Yasumaro to record what had been learned by Hieda no Are.
He finished and presented his work to Empress Genmei on the 28th of the 1st month of 712. The Kojiki could be made to further the Imperial right to rule; this historical narrative is broken into the Age of Gods and the Age of Humans, wherein the mythology of the gods which gave birth to the land is told and transitioned in a chronological fashion to the reign of the Emperors. This narrative sets forth the divine mandate by which the Yamato line has right to rule, through the rhetoric used in the Age of Humans, the historical and military qualifications were established. Several of the narratives which give support to the imperial line, such as the subjugation of certain Korean kingdoms, have been confirmed as false and were included to erase failures and bolster reputations of Emperors past. Vast amounts of the Age of Humans is spent recounting genealogies, which served not only to give age to the imperial family, much newer than the Kojiki claims as little evidence has been found to support the existence of early Emperors, but served to tie, whether true or not, many existing clan's genealogies to their own.
Regardless of the original intent of the Kojiki, it finalized and even formulated the framework by which Japanese history was examined in terms of the reign of Emperors. The Kojiki contains various poems. While the historical records and myths are written in a form of Chinese with a heavy mixture of Japanese elements, the songs are written with Chinese characters, though only used phonetically; this special use of Chinese characters is called Man'yōgana, a knowledge of, critical to understanding these songs, which are written in Old Japanese. The Kojiki is divided into three parts: the Nakatsumaki and the Shimotsumaki; the Kamitsumaki known as the Kamiyo no Maki, includes the preface of the Kojiki, is focused on the deities of creation and the births of various deities of the kamiyo period, or Age of the Gods. The Kamitsumaki outlines the myths concerning the foundation of Japan, it describes how Ninigi-no-Mikoto, grandson of Amaterasu and great-grandfather of Emperor Jimmu, descended from heaven to Takachihonomine in Kyūshū and became the progenitor of the Japanese Imperial line.
The Nakatsumaki begins with the story of Emperor Jimmu, the first Emperor, his conquest of Japan, ends with the 15th Emperor, Emperor Ōjin. The second through ninth Emperors' reigns are recorded in a minimum of detail, with only their names, the names of their various descendants, the place-names of their palaces and tombs listed, no mention of their achievements. Many of the stories in this volume are mythological, the historical information in them is suspect; the Shimotsumaki covers the 16th to 33rd Emperors and, unlike previous volumes, has limited references to the interactions with deities. These interactions are prominent in the first and second volumes. Information about the 24th to the 33rd Emperors is missing, as well. What follows is a condensed summary of the contents of the text, including many of the names of gods and locations as well as events which took place in association to them; the original Japanese is included in parentheses where appropriate. The handing down of old folklore and its significance Emperor Tenmu and setting out the Kojiki Ō no Yasumaro compiling the Kojiki In the Edo period, Motoori Norinaga studied the Kojiki intensively.
He produced. Chamberlain, Basil Hall. 1882. A translation of the "Ko-ji-ki" or Records of ancient matters. Yokohama, Japan: R. Meiklejohn and Co. Printers. Philippi, Donald L. 1968/1969. Kojiki. Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press and Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press. Heldt, Gustav. 2014. The Kojiki: An Account of Ancient Matters. New York: Columbia University Press. There are two major branches of Kojiki manuscripts: Urabe; the extant Urabe branch consists of 36 existing manuscripts all based on the 1522 copies by Urabe Kanenaga. The Ise branch may be subdivided into the Shinpukuji-bon manuscript of 1371–1372 and the Dōka-bon manuscripts; the Dōka sub-branch consists of: the Dōka-bon manuscript of 1381.
Japanese mythology embraces Shinto and Buddhist traditions as well as agriculturally-based folk religion. The Shinto pantheon comprises innumerable kami; this article will discuss only the typical elements present in Asian mythology, such as cosmogony, important deities, the best-known Japanese stories. Japanese myths, as recognized in the mainstream today, are based on the Kojiki, the Nihon Shoki, some complementary books; the Kojiki, or "Record of Ancient Matters", is the oldest surviving account of Japan's myths and history. The Shintōshū describes the origins of Japanese deities from a Buddhist perspective, while the Hotsuma Tsutae records a different version of the mythology. One notable feature of Japanese mythology is its explanation of the origin of the Imperial Family, used to assign godhood to the imperial line; the title of the Emperor of Japan, tennō, means "heavenly sovereign". Japanese is not transliterated across all sources, see: #Spelling of proper nouns In the Japanese creation myth, the first deities which came into existence, appearing at the time of the creation of the universe, are collectively called Kotoamatsukami.
The seven generations of kami, known as Kamiyonanayo, following the formation of heaven and earth. The first two generations are individual deities called hitorigami, while the five that followed came into being as male/female pairs of kami: brothers and sisters that were married couples. In this chronicle, the Kamiyonanayo comprise 12 deities in total. In contrast, the Nihon Shoki states that the Kamiyonanayo group was the first to appear after the creation of the universe, as opposed to the Kamiyonanayo appearing after the formation of heaven and earth, it states that the first three generations of deities are hitorigami and that the generations of deities are pairs of the opposite gender, as compared to the Kojiki's two generations of hitorigami. Japan's creation narrative can be divided into the birth of the land; the seventh and last generation of Kamiyonanayo were Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto, they would be responsible for the creation of the Japanese archipelago and would engender other deities.
To help them to achieve this and Izanami were given a naginata decorated with jewels, named Ame-no-nuboko. The two deities went to the bridge between heaven and earth and churned the sea below with the halberd. Drops of salty water formed Onogoro; the deities made their home on the island. They fell in love and wished to mate. So they built. Izanagi and Izanami circled the pillar in opposite directions, when they met on the other side, the female deity, spoke first in greeting. Izanagi didn't think that this was proper, they had two children and Awashima, but the children were badly formed and are not considered gods in their original form. The parents, who were dismayed at their misfortune, put the children into a boat and sent them to sea, petitioned the other gods for an answer about what they had done wrong, they were informed that Izanami's lack of manners was the reason for the defective births: a woman should never speak prior to a man. So Izanagi and Izanami went around the pillar again, this time, when they met, Izanagi spoke first.
Their next union was successful. From their union were born the Ōyashima, or the eight great islands of Japan: Awaji Iyo Oki Tsukushi Iki Tsushima Sado Yamato Note that Hokkaidō, Chishima and Okinawa were not part of Japan in ancient times. Izanami died giving birth to Kagutsuchi called Homusubi due to severe burns, she was buried on Mount Hiba, at the border of the old provinces of Izumo and Hoki, near modern-day Yasugi of Shimane Prefecture. In anger, Izanagi killed Kagutsuchi, his death created dozens of deities. The gods who were born from Izanagi and Izanami are symbolic aspects of culture. Izanagi undertook a journey to Yomi. Izanagi found little difference between Yomi and the land except for the eternal darkness. However, this suffocating darkness was enough to make him ache for life, he searched for Izanami and found her. At first, Izanagi could not see her, he asked her to return with him. Izanami informed him that he was too late, she had eaten the food of the underworld and now belonged to the land of the dead.
Izanagi was shocked at this news, but he refused to give in to her wishes to be left to the dark embrace of Yomi. Izanami first requested to have some time to rest, she instructed Izanagi to not come into her bedroom. After a long wait, Izanami did not come out of her bedroom, Izanagi was worried. While Izanami was sleeping, he took the comb that set it alight as a torch. Under the sudden burst of light, he saw the horrid form of the once graceful Izanami; the flesh of her ravaged body was rotting and was overrun with maggots and fou
Mount Ontake referred to as Mount Kiso Ontake, is the 14th highest mountain and second highest volcano in Japan at 3,067 m. Mt. Ontake is located around 100 km northeast of Nagoya, around 200 km west of Tokyo, at the borders of Kiso and Ōtaki, Nagano Prefecture, Gero, Gifu Prefecture; the volcano has five crater lakes, with Ni no Ike at 2,905 m being the highest mountain lake in Japan. Ontake is a major sacred mountain, following older shamanistic practices and artists have gone to the mountain to put themselves into trances in order to get divine inspiration for their creative activities. Ontake was thought to be inactive until October 1979, when it underwent a series of explosive phreatic eruptions which ejected 200,000 tons of ash, had a volcanic explosivity index of 2. There were minor non-explosive phreatic eruptions in 1991 and 2007. On Saturday, September 27, 2014, at around 11:53 a.m. Japan Standard Time, the volcano erupted with a VEI of 3. There were no significant earthquakes that might have warned authorities in the lead up to the phreatic eruption—caused by ground water flashing to steam in a hydrothermal explosion.
The Mount Ontake volcano eruption was an rare phenomenon which made it difficult to take precautionary measures. Sixty-three people were killed; the Japan Self-Defense Forces began carrying out helicopter searches for missing people after the eruption. 100 Famous Japanese Mountains List of mountains in Japan List of Ultras of Japan List of volcanoes in Japan Ontake Prefectural Natural Park Three-thousanders OSJ Ontake SkyRace Ontakesan - Japan Meteorological Agency "Ontakesan: National catalogue of the active volcanoes in Japan". - Japan Meteorological Agency Ontakesan - Smithsonian Institution: Global Volcanism Program
Japanese Buddhist pantheon
The Japanese Buddhist Pantheon designates the multitude of various Buddhas and lesser deities and eminent religious masters in Buddhism. A Buddhist Pantheon exists to a certain extent in Mahāyāna, but is characteristic of Vajrayana Esoteric Buddhism, including Tibetan Buddhism and Japanese Shingon Buddhism, which formalized it to a great extent. In the ancient Japanese Buddhist Pantheon, more than 3,000 Buddhas or deities have been counted, although nowadays most temples focus on one Buddha and a few Bodhisattvas. Early, pre-sectarian Buddhism had a somewhat vague position on the effect of deities. Indeed, Buddhism is considered atheistic on account of its denial of a creator god and human responsibility to it. However, nearly all modern Buddhist schools accept the existence of gods of some kind. Of the major schools, Theravada tends to de-emphasize the gods, whereas Mahayana and Vajrayana do not; the rich Buddhist Pantheon of northern Buddhism derives from Vajrayana and Tantrism. The historical devotional roots of pantheistic Buddhism seem to go back to the period of the Kushan Empire.
The first proper mention of a Buddhist Pantheon appears in the 3-4th century Guhyasamāja, in which five Buddhas are mentioned, the emanations of which constitute a family: The five Kulas are Dvesa, Moha, Rāga, Cintāmani, Samaya, which conduce to the attainment of all desires and emancipation By the 9th century under the Pala king Dharmapala, the Buddhist Pantheon had swelled to about 1,000 Buddhas. In Japan, Kūkai introduced Shingon Esoteric Buddhism and its Buddhist Pantheon in the 9th century; the Buddhist Pantheon in Japanese Buddhism is defined by a hierarchy in which the Buddhas occupy the topmost category, followed in order by the numerous Bodhisattvas, the Wisdom Kings, the Deities, the "Circumstantial appearances" and lastly the patriarchs and eminent religious people. A famous statue group, the mandala located at Tō-ji temple in Kyōto, shows some of the main elements and structure of the Buddhist Pantheon; the mandala was offered to Kūkai. A duplicate was brought to Paris, France, by Emile Guimet at the end of the 19th century, is now located in the Musée Guimet.
Japanese Buddhism incorporated numerous Shintō deities in its reciprocally. Japanese Shingon has other categories, such as the Thirteen Buddhas. Zen Buddhism however rejected the strong polytheistic conceptions of orthodox Buddhism. A Buddha is one who has reached the state of nirvana. Buddhas are distinct from Bodhisattvas because they have chosen to leave earth and experience Buddhahood in parinirvana, or the cosmic, unearthly realm of nirvana; the five Wisdom Buddhas are centered around the supreme Buddha. Each of the four remaining Buddhas occupies a fixed cardinal point; each of them is a manifestation of Buddhahood, each is active in a different world-period, in which they manifest themselves among Bodhisattvas and humans. An enlightened being is one who embodies the qualities of the five Buddha Families, or the five Wisdom Buddhas, in doing so has shed the negative emotions which cause pain and suffering throughout life; these five key emotions are known as “disturbing” emotions and they include: attachment, ignorance and envy.
When these emotions are exercised they cause ourselves and others around us harm and suffering and can cause a lower level reincarnation in the next life. Therefore, by eliminating these emotions allow one to attain enlightenment by recognizing and becoming one with the five Wisdom Buddha; these "Dhyani Buddhas" form the core of the Buddhist pantheistic system, which developed from them in a multiform way. At the Musée Guimet, the five Buddhas are surrounded by protective Bodhisattvas; the five Wisdom Buddhas are known as, Ratnasambhava, Amitabha and Vairocana. They each have varying attributes specific to their purpose; the first Buddha, Akshobhya, is colored blue and sits in a vajra posture with his hand touching the ground. The color blue and the vajra posture symbolize changelessness and permanance, particular to him because he focuses on easing emotions that spur from anger, his wisdom is known as the “mirror-like” wisdom because when one is freed from anger and the feelings accompanied with anger, one is able to have an unbiased awareness of our daily experiences.
"Mirror-like" wisdom is the idea that one can see things for how they are instead of having a blurred perspective, caused from one's anger getting in the way of seeing the truth. The second Buddha, Ratnasambhava, is concerned with the enrichment of oneself; when one has been cleansed of the disturbing emotion of pride, one's ego becomes objective and this enables fairness and equality in regards to all aspects of one's life. This Buddha is a yellowish, gold color and he holds a wish-fulfilling jewel in his hand; the golden color is meant to symbolize wealth in a fulfilled sense and the wish-fulfilling jewel symbolizes his activity of enrichment because it is able to grant any desirable wish. This Buddha sits in vajra posture which represents fulfillment and suggests supreme generosity by giving the mudra hand gesture; the third Buddha, Amitabha, is focused on the elimination of the strong feeling of desire. Desire is one of the five disturbing emotions that causes one to have neverending wants and cultivates suffering.
If one cannot attain his desires he will feel unfulfilled and empty. The loss of great desire allows one to rise above to a more simplistic way of life with overwhelming gratitude. With recognition of this Buddha one w
Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south; the kanji that make up Japan's name mean "sun origin", it is called the "Land of the Rising Sun". Japan is a stratovolcanic archipelago consisting of about 6,852 islands; the four largest are Honshu, Hokkaido and Shikoku, which make up about ninety-seven percent of Japan's land area and are referred to as home islands. The country is divided into 47 prefectures in eight regions, with Hokkaido being the northernmost prefecture and Okinawa being the southernmost one; the population of 127 million is the world's tenth largest. 90.7 % of people live in cities. About 13.8 million people live in the capital of Japan. The Greater Tokyo Area is the most populous metropolitan area in the world with over 38 million people. Archaeological research indicates; the first written mention of Japan is in Chinese history texts from the 1st century AD.
Influence from other regions China, followed by periods of isolation from Western Europe, has characterized Japan's history. From the 12th century until 1868, Japan was ruled by successive feudal military shōguns who ruled in the name of the Emperor. Japan entered into a long period of isolation in the early 17th century, ended in 1853 when a United States fleet pressured Japan to open to the West. After nearly two decades of internal conflict and insurrection, the Imperial Court regained its political power in 1868 through the help of several clans from Chōshū and Satsuma – and the Empire of Japan was established. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, victories in the First Sino-Japanese War, the Russo-Japanese War and World War I allowed Japan to expand its empire during a period of increasing militarism; the Second Sino-Japanese War of 1937 expanded into part of World War II in 1941, which came to an end in 1945 following the Japanese surrender. Since adopting its revised constitution on May 3, 1947, during the occupation led by SCAP, the sovereign state of Japan has maintained a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy with an Emperor and an elected legislature called the National Diet.
Japan is a member of the ASEAN Plus mechanism, UN, the OECD, the G7, the G8, the G20, is considered a great power. Its economy is the world's third-largest by nominal GDP and the fourth-largest by purchasing power parity, it is the world's fourth-largest exporter and fourth-largest importer. Japan benefits from a skilled and educated workforce. Although it has renounced its right to declare war, Japan maintains a modern military with the world's eighth-largest military budget, used for self-defense and peacekeeping roles. Japan is a developed country with a high standard of living and Human Development Index, its population enjoys the highest life expectancy and third lowest infant mortality rate in the world, but is experiencing issues due to an aging population and low birthrate. Japan is renowned for its historical and extensive cinema, influential music industry, video gaming, rich cuisine and its major contributions to science and modern technology; the Japanese word for Japan is 日本, pronounced Nihon or Nippon and means "the origin of the sun".
The character nichi means "sun" or "day". The compound therefore means "origin of the sun" and is the source of the popular Western epithet "Land of the Rising Sun"; the earliest record of the name Nihon appears in the Chinese historical records of the Tang dynasty, the Old Book of Tang. At the end of the seventh century, a delegation from Japan requested that Nihon be used as the name of their country; this name may have its origin in a letter sent in 607 and recorded in the official history of the Sui dynasty. Prince Shōtoku, the Regent of Japan, sent a mission to China with a letter in which he called himself "the Emperor of the Land where the Sun rises"; the message said: "Here, I, the emperor of the country where the sun rises, send a letter to the emperor of the country where the sun sets. How are you". Prior to the adoption of Nihon, other terms such as Yamato and Wakoku were used; the term Wa is a homophone of Wo 倭, used by the Chinese as a designation for the Japanese as early as the third century Three Kingdoms period.
Another form of Wa, Wei in Chinese) was used for an early state in Japan called Nakoku during the Han dynasty. However, the Japanese disliked some connotation of Wa 倭, it was therefore replaced with the substitute character Wa, meaning "togetherness, harmony"; the English word Japan derives from the historical Chinese pronunciation of 日本. The Old Mandarin or early Wu Chinese pronunciation of Japan was recorded by Marco Polo as Cipangu. In modern Shanghainese, a Wu dialect, the pronunciation of characters 日本; the old Malay word for Japan, Japun or Japang, was borrowed from a southern coastal Chinese dialect Fukienese or Ningpo – and this Malay word was encountered by Portuguese traders in Southeast Asia in the 16th century. These Early Portuguese traders brought the word
A tenugui is a thin Japanese hand towel made from cotton. Tenugui are about 35 by 90 centimeters in size, plain woven, always dyed with some pattern. A tenugui has a similar function to towels, being used for example, they are used as headbands, decorations, or for wrapping bottles and similar items. Towels made from terry cloth have replaced tenugui in household use; however tenugui are still popular as souvenirs, as a head covering in kendo, where it functions as a sweatband and provides extra padding beneath the headgear. Furoshiki Hachimaki Rakugo Yukata YouTube: Tenugi displaying an easy method for tying a tenugui for kendo practice. YouTube: All Japan Kendo Federation video I 04:28 – 05:20 displaying two other methods for tying a tenugui for kendo practice. Flickr: Star Wars themed tenugui. Displaying an example of a tenugui. Tofugu, Tengui: A Cloth Without Limits An article describing tenugui in detail