A New History of Shinto by John Breen

By John Breen

This available consultant to the improvement of Japan’s indigenous faith from precedent days to the current day bargains an illuminating advent to the myths, websites and rituals of kami worship, and their function in Shinto’s enduring spiritual identity.

  • Offers a distinct new method of Shinto heritage that mixes serious research with unique research
  • Examines key evolutionary moments within the lengthy background of Shinto, together with the Meiji Revolution of 1868, and gives the 1st serious historical past  in English or eastern of the Hie shrine, essentially the most vital in all Japan
  • Traces the advance of varied shrines, myths, and rituals via historical past as uniquely assorted phenomena, exploring how and once they merged into the fashionable proposal of Shinto that exists in Japan today
  • Challenges the ancient stereotype of Shinto because the unchanging, all-defining middle of eastern culture

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Therefore, we have chosen to focus on another important shrine that can give us a better idea of what was there prior to Shintoization. Excellent studies of the shrine sites of Kasuga (Grapard 1992a), Konpira (Thal 2005), Kumano (Moerman 2006) and O¯yama (Ambros 2008) already exist; partly for that reason, this book will focus on another shrine complex that is today known as Hiyoshi (in its earlier guises, as Hie), located at the foot of Mount Hiei near Kyoto. This shrine was a pioneer in many different ways: in its symbiosis with the Buddhist establishment on Hiei’s slopes; in its economic and political role as a holder of lands and a center of kami-assisted warfare; in its contribution to early formulations of Shinto; in the tragedy of its late medieval destruction and early modern rebuilding, and in its lengthy and, at times, violent struggle to break away from the Buddhist control exerted by Hiei’s monks.

He set up a yashiro and did worship there for the first time. He cleared ten tokoro of rice fields, and Matachi’s descendants have performed worship here until this day. (Hitachi-no-kuni fudoki, NKBT 2: 54–5) This tale is recorded in a gazetteer (fudoki) compiled on court orders under the supervision of Hitachi’s provincial governor (c. ), and sheds some light on the local worship of deities called kami as it manifested itself in this particular outlying region. It depicts the kami as the original owners of the land.

After his dismissal this temple was dismantled and steps were taken to isolate Ise from Buddhism. Monks were barred from entering the shrine grounds, and even the use of Buddhist terms was banned on Ise Shrine lands. It was this practice of isolating imperial jingi rites from Buddhism that was extended to the court itself in 871. These events created a dividing line between Buddhism and the jingi cult that would retain its relevance until modern times. The principle that worship of the heavenly and earthly deities was the prime task of the emperor was expressed in numerous tangible ways: for example, by banning Buddhist ceremonies in the first week of the year, and by the unwritten rule that emperors received the tonsure only after their retirement.

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