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 Forms of Shinto

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Silver Wind
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PostSubject: Forms of Shinto   Fri Jul 27, 2007 7:13 pm

Koshitsu Shinto (The Shinto of the Imperial House):

This involves rituals performed by the emperor, who the Japanese Constitution defines to be the "symbol of the state and of the unity of the people." The most important ritual is Niinamesai, which makes an offering to the deities of the first fruits of each year's grain harvest. Male and female clergy (Shoten and Nai-Shoten) assist the emperor in the performance of these rites.

Jinja (Shrine) Shinto:

This is the largest Shinto group. It was the original form of the religion; its roots date back into pre-history. Until the end of World War II, it was closely aligned with State State Shinto. The Emperor of Japan was worshipped as a living God. Almost all shrines in Japan are members of Jinja Honcho, the Association of Shinto Shrines. It currently includes about 80,000 shrines as members. The association urges followers of Shinto:

"To be grateful for the blessings of Kami and the benefits of the ancestors, and to be diligent in the observance of the Shinto rites, applying oneself to them with sincerity. brightness, and purity of heart."

"To be helpful to others and in the world at large through deeds of service without thought of rewards, and to seek the advancement of the world as one whose life mediates the will of Kami."

"To bind oneself with others in harmonious acknowledgment of the will of the emperor, praying that the country may flourish and that other peoples too may live in peace and prosperity."

Kyoha (Sectarian) Shinto (aka Shuha Shinto):

This consists of 13 sects which were founded by individuals since the start of the 19th century. Each sect has its own beliefs and doctrines. Most emphasize worship of their own central deity; some follow a near-monotheistic religion.

Minzoku (Folk) Shinto

This is not a separate Shinto group; it has no formal central organization or creed. It is seen in local rural practices and rituals, e.g. small images by the side of the road, agriculture rituals practiced by individual families, etc. A rural community will often select a layman annually, who will be responsible for worshiping the local deity.

http://www.religioustolerance.org/shinto.htm

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