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Silver Wind
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PostSubject: Scriptures   Tue Dec 18, 2007 10:52 am

Scriptures. Shinto has no canon or written scriptures like the Bible or the Koran, although ceremonial prayers -- called norito -- are chanted by shrine priests. The scholar Motoori Norinaga says that "norito" are sacred incantations by which humans can address the gods, while others say norito are commands issued by the gods to humans. The norito are typically chanted in an archaic form of Japanese or Chinese, and not many shrine visitors have a clue to the meaning -- i.e., the laity don't understand the incantations.

Shinten = Shinto Texts
Earliest Sources of Shinto Mythology

Shiten refers to the main texts of Shinto, even though Shinto is not defined by any specific set of scriptures such as the sutras of Buddhism or the Bible of the Christians. The classic sources of Shinto thought are the Kojiki, Nihon Shoki, Kogo Shui, Man'yoshu, and Fudoki. The Taihoryo (Ritsuryo), Engi Shiki, and other legal compilations also provide valuable documentation of ancient Shinto systems and ceremonies. These works contain mythological accounts and historical records concerning matters such as the origin of the world, the birth of the land, the appearance of the gods and goddesses and of all things in the universe, the establishment of the nation, and the relation of the gods to government, ceremonies of worship, manners and customs, and Shinto attitudes and norms. Most of Japan's surviving mythology comes from the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki. They tell of the origin of the ruling class, and were apparently aimed at strengthening its authority. Therefore, these two works have much political coloring. They are based on two main traditions: the Yamato Cycle, centered around the sun goddess Amaterasu Omikami, and the Izumo Cycle, in which the principal character is Susanoo no Mikoto, the brother of Amaterasu.

Below text courtesy Encyclopedia Britannica
Genealogies and mythological records were kept in Japan, at least from the 6th century AD. By the time of Emperor Temmu (7th century), it became necessary to know the genealogy of all important families in order to establish the position of each in the eight levels of rank and title modeled after the Chinese court system. For this reason, Emperor Temmu ordered the compilation of myths and genealogies that finally resulted in the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki. The compilers of these and other early documents had at their disposal not only oral tradition but also documentary sources. While the Kojiki is richer in genealogy and myth, the Nihon Shoki adds a great deal to scholarly understanding of both the history and the myth of early Japan. Its purpose was to give the newly Sinicized court a history that could be compared with the annals of the Chinese.

http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/shinto-concepts.shtml#scriptures

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