shiyakujin no hokora
A Book of Little Traditions
shiyakujin no hokoraTable of ContentsIndexBibliographyBackForward
ToCCharacteristicsWhat shintô Doesn't Have

What shintô Doesn't Have – 07 / 10 / 2014
Much of shintô is firmly rooted in the practices of folk religion and tends to dispense with many of the trappings normally associated with organized religions. Because of this many of the people within those organized religions tend to dismiss shintô; as somehow "inferior"; as not being a "real" religion.
This is especially true of minzoku shintô, which like many folk religions, is usually represented as not even being a valid separate branch.
No Founder – shintô can not be traced back to a single founding figure like Christ, Muhammad, or Buddha.
No Organization – There is no central organization that has authority, like the Vatican has over the Catholic Churches, over local communities or shrines.
No Doctrine – There is no single book, like the Bible or Koran, that determines doctrine. There are a number of shintô texts, but what part of those texts, if any, is followed is up to the local community.
shinten しんてん 神典
shin | kami (that which inspires feelings of reverence, awe, gratitude, fear/terror)
ten (code, ceremony, law, rule)
shinten (writings about the kami)

Some of the main texts of shintô:
  • engishiki – circa 927 AD; set of ancient Japanese governmental regulations about shintô rituals
  • fudoki – circa 713 AD; other works with same name appeared in tokugawa era
  • kogo shûi – 807 AD
  • kojiki – 712 AD, the Record of Ancient Matters
  • man'yôshû – 8th century, Japan's oldest volume of verse
  • nihon Shoki – compiled around 720 AD, The Chronicles of Japan
    Also called the nihongi
Translations of several of these are available at the Internet Sacred Text Archive
No Precepts or Commandments – There isn't a single set of beliefs, like the Ten Commandments of Christianity or the Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism, that a practitioner is expected to follow or act upon.
No Belief Required – In fact, neither belief or faith are a requirement. shintô is firmly based in the practices and experiences of the shintôshinja.
No Need for a Building – Sacred space is created where and when it is needed (See himorogi).
No Idols – kami temporarily dwell in a shintai. These act more as an antenna where kami manifest, than as a residence for kami.

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