BLOGLife2020.01.13

Buddhism or Shintoism or both?

Today, I participated in the New Year's meeting held in Uno area where I live.

There is no community center in the area, so we gather at a temple instead.



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In the morning, we had a Shinto ceremony with locals. A Shinto priest chanted a Shinto prayer at Hachiman Shrine next to the temple.



After the Shinto priest left, locals go into the temple and prepared for the Buddhist ceremony.

And a Buddhist monk came and chanted a sutra at the temple.

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After the ceremony is over hurriedly, the New Year's party began. We enjoyed delicious food and alcohol and deepened the friendship with neighbors.


After finned the party, I was invited by my neighbor and had another drink.

I drank a bit too much and had a nap.

I think the Japanese view of religion is unique or maybe strange.

A Buddhist ceremony is held immediately after a Shinto ceremony.

Comparing it with other countries, it is like having a celebration of Islam after having a celebration of Christianity.


In Shito's belief, we believe that all things have a spirit or deity that's a kind of polytheistic religious belief. Buddha can be a Shinto deity too. That's why Shintoism and Buddhism are coexisting in Japan.
(It's not only just this reason though.)

If a foreigner asks me, "What religion do you believe in?"

Then I would answer "I don't believe in any particular religion, but I'm not an atheist. So I kind of believe in Buddhism and Shintoism ...."

It sounds not a clear answer. but I think many Japanese are like that.

This view of religion seems to be vague because it is influenced by various factors such as scientific and economic development, post-war education, historical background, and the cult religion incident, and also because Buddhism and Shintoism are too familiar with Japanese life and culture.

I like this ambiguous way of belief pretty much.


In Keihoku, the area's traditional culture is being lost due to depopulation.
I would like to pass this culture down to the next generation. It shouldn't be done ambiguous.

In order for the next generation to continue traditional events, it may be necessary to change the style to the present way, which can be done even with a small number of people, with retaining the essential parts.