Shinto architecture is the architecture of Japanese Shinto shrines. With a few exceptions, the general blueprint of a Shinto shrine is Buddhist in origin. Before Buddhism, shrines were just temporary. Buddhism brought to Japan the idea of permanent shrines and much of Shinto architecture's vocabulary; the presence of verandas, stone lanterns, elaborate gates are examples of this influence. The composition of a Shinto shrine is variable, none of its possible features are present; the honden or sanctuary, the part which houses the kami and, the centerpiece of a shrine, can be missing. However, since its grounds are sacred, they are surrounded by a fence made of stone or wood called tamagaki, while access is made possible by an approach called sandō; the entrances themselves are straddled by gates called torii, which are therefore the simplest way to identify a Shinto shrine. A shrine may include within its grounds each destined to a different purpose. Among them are the honden or sanctuary, where the kami are enshrined, the heiden, or hall of offerings, where offers and prayers are presented, the haiden or hall of worship, where there may be seats for worshipers.
The honden is the building that contains the shintai "the sacred body of the kami". Of these, only the haiden is open to the laity; the honden is located behind the haiden and is much smaller and unadorned. Other notable shrine features are the temizuya, the fountain where visitors cleanse their hands and mouth and the shamusho, the office that supervises the shrine. Shrines can be large, as for example Ise Shrine, or as small as a beehive, as in the case of the hokora, small shrines found on road sides. Before the forced separation of Shinto and Buddhism, it was not uncommon for a Buddhist temple to be built inside or next to a shrine or to the contrary for a shrine to include Buddhist subtemples. If a shrine was a Buddhist temple, it was called a jingu-ji. At the same time, temples in the entire country adopted tutelary kami (chinju and built temple shrines called chinjusha to house them. After the forcible separation of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines ordered by the new government in the Meiji period, the connection between the two religions was severed, but continued nonetheless in practice.
The practice of marking sacred areas began in Japan as early as the Yayoi period originating from primal Shinto tenets. Features in the landscape such as rocks, waterfalls and mountains, were places believed to be capable of attracting kami, subsequently were worshiped as yorishiro. Sacred places may have been marked with a surrounding fence and an entrance gate or torii. Temporary buildings similar to present day portable shrines were constructed to welcome the gods to the sacred place. Over time the temporary structures evolved into permanent structures that were dedicated to the gods. Ancient shrines were constructed according to the style of storehouses; the buildings had gabled roofs, raised floors, plank walls, were thatched with reed or covered with hinoki cypress bark. Such early shrines did not include a space for worship. Three important forms of ancient shrine architectural styles exist: taisha-zukuri, shinmei-zukuri and sumiyoshi-zukuri They are exemplified by Izumo Taisha, Nishina Shinmei Shrine and Sumiyoshi Taisha and date to before 552.
According to the tradition of Shikinen sengū-sai, the buildings or shrines were faithfully rebuilt at regular intervals adhering to the original design. In this manner, ancient styles have been replicated through the centuries to the present day; the following is a diagram illustrating the most important elements of a Shinto shrine. Torii – Shinto gate Stone stairs Sandō – the approach to the shrine Chōzuya or temizuya – fountain to cleanse one's hands and face Tōrō – decorative stone lanterns Kagura-den – building dedicated to Noh or the sacred kagura dance Shamusho – the shrine's administrative office Ema – wooden plaques bearing prayers or wishes Sessha/massha – small auxiliary shrines Komainu – the so-called "lion dogs", guardians of the shrine Haiden – oratory Tamagaki – fence surrounding the honden Honden – main hall, enshrining the kami. On the roof of the haiden and honden are visible chigi and katsuogi, both common shrine ornamentations; the torii is a gate which marks the entrance to a sacred area but not a shrine.
A shrine may have any number of torii made of wood, metal, concrete or any other material. They can be found in different places within a shrine's precincts to signify an increased level of holiness. Torii can be found at Buddhist temples, however they are an accepted symbol of Shinto, as such are used to mark shrines on maps; the origin of the torii is unclear, no existing theory has been accepted as valid. They may for example have originated in India as a derivative of the torana gates in the monastery of Sanchi, located in central India; the sandō is the road approaching either a Buddhist temple. Its point of origin is straddled in the first case by a Shinto torii, in the second by a Buddhist sanmon, gates which mark the beginning of the shrine's or temple territory. There can be stone lanterns and other decorations at any point along its course. There can be more than one sandō, in which case the main one is called omote-sandō, or front sandō, ura-sandō, or rear sandō, etc. B
The Twenty-Two Shrines of Japan is one ranking system for Shinto shrines. The system was established during the Heian period and formed part of the government's systematization of Shinto during the emergence of a general anti-Chinese sentiment and the suppression of the Taoist religion, it involved the establishment of the shrines as important centers of public life in Japan. It played a role in official imperial ceremonies such as the Practice of Chinkon. An extensive body of literature emerged containing information about each shrine, including the shrine's origin, priestly dress, divine treatises, the system of shrine removal, subordinate shrines, annual cycle of rituals, among others. By the year 806, 4,870 households were assigned to Shinto shrines while the government provided a national endowment for their upkeep; these shrines received special offerings from the Imperial Court. As time progressed, this offering to the shrines was amended so that Imperial envoys were only sent to the powerful shrines in Kyoto, the capital of Japan at the time.
This amendment identified fourteen shrines but it was increased to twenty-two in 1081. There are historians who explained that the majority in list involved those with central lineages supporting the imperial house, sites of cults that gained popular significance, shrines in locations with the presence of Buddhist institutions. Under the Ritsuryō law system, the shrines that the Imperial Court would present offerings to for rites such as the kinensai, a service to pray for a good harvest, were decided by the Engishiki Jinmyōchō, but once the Ritsuryō system began to deteriorate, the offerings were only given to a select few shrines. In 965, Emperor Murakami ordered that Imperial messengers were sent to report important events to the guardian kami of Japan; these heihaku were presented to 16 shrines: 1. Ise. Iwashimizu. Kamo. Matsunoo. Hirano. Inari. Kasuga. Oharano. Miwa. Ōyamato. Hirose. Tatsuta. Sumiyoshi. Nibu and 16. Kibune. In 991, Emperor Ichijō added three more shrines to Murakami's list—17. Yoshida.
Hirota. Kitano. Umenomiya. Gion. In 1039, Emperor Go-Suzaku ordered that one more shrine be added to this list, 22. Hie, this unique number of Imperial-designated shrines has not been altered since that time. Near the end of the Heian period, there was a movement to add Itsukushima Shrine to the list, but it did not happen. However, until the end of the Muromachi period, the Imperial Court made offerings to it, in the Edo period, offerings were again made after disasters occurred; when the Nijūni-sha are considered as a grouped set, they are conventionally presented in order of rank, not in terms of the chronological sequence in which they were designated. The three rank ranked groupings derived from a complex array of Heian geopolitical relationships. Note: At the time when the Nijunisha were chosen, the current Niukawakami Nakasha was the only Niukawakami Shrine, it became the middle shrine only after the shrine in Kawakami were united with it. List of Shinto shrines List of Jingū Ichinomiya Breen and Mark Teeuwen..
Shinto in History: Ways of the Kami. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-2363-4 Ponsonby-Fane, Richard.. Studies in Shinto and Shrines. Kyoto: Ponsonby Memorial Society. OCLC 399449
National Treasure (Japan)
A National Treasure is the most precious of Japan's Tangible Cultural Properties, as determined and designated by the Agency for Cultural Affairs. A Tangible Cultural Property is considered to be of historic or artistic value, classified either as "buildings and structures" or as "fine arts and crafts." Each National Treasure must show outstanding workmanship, a high value for world cultural history, or exceptional value for scholarship. 20% of the National Treasures are structures such as castles, Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, or residences. The other 80% are paintings; the items span the period of ancient to early modern Japan before the Meiji period, including pieces of the world's oldest pottery from the Jōmon period and 19th-century documents and writings. The designation of the Akasaka Palace in 2009 and of the Tomioka Silk Mill in 2014 added two modern, post-Meiji Restoration, National Treasures. Japan has a comprehensive network of legislation for protecting and classifying its cultural patrimony.
The regard for physical and intangible properties and their protection is typical of Japanese preservation and restoration practices. Methods of protecting designated National Treasures include restrictions on alterations and export, as well as financial support in the form of grants and tax reduction; the Agency for Cultural Affairs provides owners with advice on restoration and public display of the properties. These efforts are supplemented by laws that protect the built environment of designated structures and the necessary techniques for restoration of works. Kansai, the region of Japan's capitals from ancient times to the 19th century, has the most National Treasures. Fine arts and crafts properties are owned or are in museums, including national museums such as Tokyo and Nara, public prefectural and city museums, private museums. Religious items are housed in temples and Shinto shrines or in an adjacent museum or treasure house. Japanese cultural properties were in the ownership of Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, aristocratic or samurai families.
Feudal Japan ended abruptly in 1867/68 when the Tokugawa shogunate was replaced by the Meiji Restoration. During the ensuing haibutsu kishaku triggered by the official policy of separation of Shinto and Buddhism and anti-Buddhist movements propagating the return to Shinto, Buddhist buildings and artwork were destroyed. In 1871, the government confiscated temple lands, considered symbolic of the ruling elite. Properties belonging to the feudal lords were expropriated, historic castles and residences were destroyed, an estimated 18,000 temples were closed. During the same period, Japanese cultural heritage was impacted by the rise of industrialization and westernization; as a result and Shinto institutions became impoverished. Temples decayed, valuable objects were exported. In 1871, the Daijō-kan issued a decree to protect Japanese antiquities called the Plan for the Preservation of Ancient Artifacts. Based on recommendations from the universities, the decree ordered prefectures and shrines to compile lists of important buildings and art.
However, these efforts proved to be ineffective in the face of radical westernisation. In 1880, the government allotted funds for the preservation of ancient temples. By 1894, 539 shrines and temples had received government funded subsidies to conduct repairs and reconstruction; the five-storied pagoda of Daigo-ji, the kon-dō of Tōshōdai-ji, the hon-dō of Kiyomizu-dera are examples of buildings that underwent repairs during this period. A survey conducted in association with Okakura Kakuzō and Ernest Fenollosa between 1888 and 1897 was designed to evaluate and catalogue 210,000 objects of artistic or historic merit; the end of the 19th century was a period of political change in Japan as cultural values moved from the enthusiastic adoption of western ideas to a newly discovered interest in Japanese heritage. Japanese architectural history began to appear on curricula, the first books on architectural history were published, stimulated by the newly compiled inventories of buildings and art. On June 5, 1897, the Ancient Temples and Shrines Preservation Law was enacted.
Formulated under the guidance of architectural historian and architect Itō Chūta, the law established government funding for the preservation of buildings and the restoration of artworks. The law applied to architecture and pieces of art relating to an architectural structure, with the proviso that historic uniqueness and exceptional quality were to be established. Applications for financial support were to be made to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the responsibility for restoration or preservation lay in the hands of local officials. Restoration works were financed directly from the national coffers. A second law was passed on December 15, 1897, that provided supplementary provisions to designate works of art in the possession of temples or shrines as "National Treasures"; the new law provided for pieces of religious architecture to be designated as a "Specially Protected Building"
Buddhism is the world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions and spiritual practices based on original teachings attributed to the Buddha and resulting interpreted philosophies. Buddhism originated in ancient India as a Sramana tradition sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, spreading through much of Asia. Two major extant branches of Buddhism are recognized by scholars: Theravada and Mahayana. Most Buddhist traditions share the goal of overcoming suffering and the cycle of death and rebirth, either by the attainment of Nirvana or through the path of Buddhahood. Buddhist schools vary in their interpretation of the path to liberation, the relative importance and canonicity assigned to the various Buddhist texts, their specific teachings and practices. Observed practices include taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, observance of moral precepts, monasticism and the cultivation of the Paramitas.
Theravada Buddhism has a widespread following in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia such as Myanmar and Thailand. Mahayana, which includes the traditions of Pure Land, Nichiren Buddhism and Tiantai, is found throughout East Asia. Vajrayana, a body of teachings attributed to Indian adepts, may be viewed as a separate branch or as an aspect of Mahayana Buddhism. Tibetan Buddhism, which preserves the Vajrayana teachings of eighth-century India, is practiced in the countries of the Himalayan region and Kalmykia. Buddhism is an Indian religion attributed to the teachings of the Buddha born Siddhārtha Gautama, known as the Tathāgata and Sakyamuni. Early texts have his personal name as "Gautama" or "Gotama" without any mention of "Siddhārtha," which appears to have been a kind of honorific title when it does appear; the details of Buddha's life are mentioned in many Early Buddhist Texts but are inconsistent, his social background and life details are difficult to prove, the precise dates uncertain. The evidence of the early texts suggests that he was born as Siddhārtha Gautama in Lumbini and grew up in Kapilavasthu, a town in the plains region of the modern Nepal-India border, that he spent his life in what is now modern Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
Some hagiographic legends state that his father was a king named Suddhodana, his mother was Queen Maya, he was born in Lumbini gardens. However, scholars such as Richard Gombrich consider this a dubious claim because a combination of evidence suggests he was born in the Shakyas community – one that gave him the title Shakyamuni, the Shakya community was governed by a small oligarchy or republic-like council where there were no ranks but where seniority mattered instead; some of the stories about Buddha, his life, his teachings, claims about the society he grew up in may have been invented and interpolated at a time into the Buddhist texts. According to the Buddhist sutras, Gautama was moved by the innate suffering of humanity and its endless repetition due to rebirth, he set out on a quest to end this repeated suffering. Early Buddhist canonical texts and early biographies of Gautama state that Gautama first studied under Vedic teachers, namely Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta, learning meditation and ancient philosophies the concept of "nothingness, emptiness" from the former, "what is neither seen nor unseen" from the latter.
Finding these teachings to be insufficient to attain his goal, he turned to the practice of asceticism. This too fell short of attaining his goal, he turned to the practice of dhyana, which he had discovered in his youth, he famously sat in meditation under a Ficus religiosa tree now called the Bodhi Tree in the town of Bodh Gaya in the Gangetic plains region of South Asia. He gained insight into the workings of karma and his former lives, attained enlightenment, certainty about the Middle Way as the right path of spiritual practice to end suffering from rebirths in Saṃsāra; as a enlightened Buddha, he attracted followers and founded a Sangha. Now, as the Buddha, he spent the rest of his life teaching the Dharma he had discovered, died at the age of 80 in Kushinagar, India. Buddha's teachings were propagated by his followers, which in the last centuries of the 1st millennium BCE became over 18 Buddhist sub-schools of thought, each with its own basket of texts containing different interpretations and authentic teachings of the Buddha.
The Four Truths express the basic orientation of Buddhism: we crave and cling to impermanent states and things, dukkha, "incapable of satisfying" and painful. This keeps us caught in saṃsāra, the endless cycle of repeated rebirth and dying again, but there is a way to liberation from this endless cycle to the state of nirvana, namely following the Noble Eightfold Path. The truth of dukkha is the basic insight that life in this mundane world, with its clinging and craving to impermanent states and things is dukkha, unsatisfactory. Dukkha can be translated as "incapable of satisfying," "the unsatisfactory nature and the general insecurity of all conditioned phenomena". Dukkha is most translated as "suffering," but this is inaccurate, since it refers not to episodic suffering, but to the intrinsically unsat
The kairō, bu, sōrō or horō is the Japanese version of a cloister, a covered corridor built around the most sacred area of a Buddhist temple, a zone which contained the Kondō and the pagoda. Nowadays it can be found at Shinto shrines and at shinden-zukuri aristocratic residences; the kairō and the rōmon were among the most important among the garan elements which appeared during the Heian period. The first surrounded the holiest part of the garan. Neither was characteristic of Shinto shrines, but in time they came to replace the traditional shrine surrounding fence called tamagaki; the earliest example of a kairō/rōmon complex can be found at Iwashimizu Hachiman-gū, a shrine now but a former shrine-temple. The rōmon is believed to have been built in 886, the kairō at the same time. Itsukushima Jinja is an example of the mature form of the complex. Two types of kairō exist, one 1-bay wide and another 2-bay wide, the bay being the space between two pillars; the first is by far the most common. The 1-bay wide type is supported by just two rows of pillars and is therefore called tanrō.
Typical windows called renjimado let light in. The 2-bay wide type is supported by three rows of pillars, is called fukurō and is divided in two identical corridors by a wall. Although it is known that several existed at major Buddhist temples, for example at Tōdai-ji, none is extant; some fukurō survive however at Shinto shrines
Modern system of ranked Shinto shrines
The modern system of ranked Shinto shrines was an organizational aspect of the establishment of Japanese State Shinto. This system classified Shinto shrines as "other" shrines; the official shrines were divided into Imperial shrines, which are parsed into minor, medium, or major sub-categories. Some shrines are the "first shrines" called ichinomiya that have the highest rank in their respective provinces of Japan; the Ise Grand Shrine stood at the top of all shrines and thus was outside the classification. In 1871, an Imperial decree established a hierarchic ranking of Shinto shrines; these rankings were set aside in 1946, when such rankings were deemed "State Shinto" by the Occupation Shinto Directive. The Jinja Honcho has a different List of Special Shrines. In 1871, the Kanpei-sha identified the hierarchy of government-supported shrines most associated with the imperial family; the kampeisha were shrines venerated by the imperial family. This category encompasses those sanctuaries enshrining emperors, imperial family members, or meritorious retainers of the Imperial family.
The most ranked Imperial shrines or Kanpei-taisha encompassed 67 sanctuaries. The mid-range of ranked Imperial shrines or Kanpei-chūsha included 23 sanctuaries; the lowest ranked among the Imperial shrines or Kanpei-shōsha were five sanctuaries. In addition to the ranked Imperial shrines, there were other shrines at which the kami of emperors were venerated; the Kokuhei-sha identified the hierarchy of government-supported shrines with national significance. The kokuheisha enshrined kami considered beneficial to more local areas; the most ranked, nationally significant shrines or Kokuhei Taisha were six sanctuaries. The mid-range of ranked, nationally significant shrines or Kokuhei Chūsha encompassed 47 sanctuaries; the lowest ranked, nationally significant shrines or Kokuhei Shōsha includes 50 sanctuaries. List of Shinto shrines Twenty-Two Shrines Setsumatsusha