Shinto: the way home

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University of Hawaii Press, 2004 - Fiction - 184 pages
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Nine out of ten Japanese claim some affiliation with Shinto, but in the West the religion remains the least studied of the major Asian spiritual traditions. It is so interlaced with Japanese cultural values and practices that scholarly studies usually focus on only one of its dimensions: Shinto as a "nature religion," an "imperial state religion," a "primal religion," or a "folk amalgam of practices and beliefs." Thomas Kasulis' fresh approach to Shinto explains with clarity and economy how these different aspects interrelate. As a philosopher of religion, he first analyzes the experiential aspect of Shinto spirituality underlying its various ideas and practices. Second, as a historian of Japanese thought, he sketches several major developments in Shinto doctrines and institutions from prehistory to the present, showing how its interactions with Buddhism, Confucianism, and nationalism influenced its expression in different times and contexts. In Shinto's idiosyncratic history, Kasulis finds the explicit interplay between two forms of spirituality: the "existential" and the "essentialist." Although the dynamic between the two is particularly striking and accessible in the study of Shinto, he concludes that a similar dynamic may be found in the history of other religions as well. Two decades ago, Kasulis' Zen Action/Zen Person brought an innovative understanding to the ideas and practices of Zen Buddhism, an understanding influential in the ensuing decades of philosophical Zen studies. Shinto: The Way Home promises to do the same for future Shinto studies.

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User Review  - bezoar44 - LibraryThing

This short (170 page) monograph provides a thoughtful and sympathetic introduction to Shinto; it started modestly but grew on me steadily. The first chapter discusses Shinto as a religious worldview ... Read full review

Contents

Entering Through the Torii
9
Everyday Connectedness
38
Ancient Shinto Prehistory794 The Trailblazers
71
Copyright

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Common terms and phrases

afterlife Amaterasu amulets ancient Japanese Asian Atsutane Atsutane's awe-inspiring behavior bodhisattvas Buddha Buddhist Buddhist-Shinto syncretism bushido celestial kami century chapter Chinese chopsticks Christian Confucian connectedness connection context creation Dainichi Daoist deities developed dhism discussed doctrine eighth century emperor Emperor Kammu Emperor Shomu esoteric Buddhism esotericism essentialist Shinto essentialist Shinto spirituality example existential existential Shinto spirituality experience feeling Shinto Futami Heian period Hepburn romanization holographic entry point human ical idea ideology ikebana imperial institution intellectual internal relation Ise Shrine Izanami Japa Japan Japanese culture Japanese imperial family Japanese language Japanese philosophy Japanese values kami kami deities kamikaze Kiyomizu-dera Kojiki Kojiki and Nihonshoki kokoro kokutai kotodama Kukai Kyoto mandalas matsuri Meiji Constitution Meiji Restoration metaphysical might mindful heart mitama Mito school Motoori Norinaga Mount Fuji mystery Nagaokakyo Nara period narrative Native American Native Studies nature Neo-Confucian neo-essentialist nese Nihonshoki Norinaga norito Obon often Okuninushi one's orthopraxis Osorezan Pacific War person philosophical point reflecting political practices praxis religion religion in Japan religious resonance rice rience right-wing polit ritual Ryobu Shinto sacred samurai scholars Sect Shinto Seventeen-Article Constitution shimenawa Shingon Shingon Buddhism Shinto ideology Shinto shrines Shinto spirituality Shinto values shogunate Shrine Shinto something sonno joi sun kami Susanoo syncretism tama tatami Tendai texts tion Todai-ji Tokugawa Tokugawa shoguns Tokyo torii tradition understanding Western words writing system Yamato damashii Yamazaki Ansai Yasukuni Yasukuni shrine Yomi Zen Buddhism Zhu Xi

About the author (2004)

Kasulis teaches in the Department of Comparative Studies at Ohio State University.

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