Japanese Religious Traditions
3:38PM Oct 2, 2019
see what happens if I am bringing my going down just justice just still pushing
test test test, test, test, test, test, test test test.
We'll see what happens.
Okay. So we're a little bit overdue. That's okay. So we're going to try to rush
not rush through, but at least try to get most of this taken care of in the next little bit here in the next 45 minutes that we have, well, 40 minutes, 50 minutes, whatever, that we have in order to, to, to kind of close the book on ancient traditions. So most of what we've done up to this point had been ancient religious practice, we talked about ancient religious practices that may or may not be continued to be practice. Now, I say that only because you know, we don't have the indigenous American traditions, Native American traditions, or indigenous African traditions, or even Mesopotamian traditions, things like that, even the ancient Chinese and ancient Japanese, they're just not the big, you know, the big ones that we think of we think of religions of the world. So that's kind of how I've been approaching these as I've been putting the more ancient mindsets early on in the class in order to get our minds used to religious structures, and being able to ask interesting questions about those type things. So that's what we're going to press into in just a second, we're gonna talk about Japanese religious traditions, but particularly Shinto. And we'll talk about what that means in just a second, we'll talk about these four elements. And I'll try to make through it and make sure I get through it in due course. But before we do that, I'm going to open it up to logistical questions, because there's a couple of logistical comments to make for you all. So jump in real quick. Yeah, you know, I didn't realise that until maybe you said that. Or you said that I don't remember. Yeah, but it'll be short, it'll be 25 questions will be exact same thing as it was before. And it will be basically just over the Japanese traditions and the Chinese traditions. So I'll talk about that at the end of class. So hang on, to hang on to that in your brain. And we'll, we'll press four. So that being the case, the two main lectures that'll be on, there will be the ancient Chinese religious traditions, which is from last Wednesday, or Friday, I can't remember I did it on Wednesday, or Friday, and then this one, so there'll be a small pool of things. Remember, if you need texts, you have to let me know, this should be in full transcribed form on order to get to that you go through the website. So everything you need should be there. And again, I'll give you the same guidelines as I did before, feel free to use whatever you need. The goal for me on any kind of examination is engagement, not to test your ability to squeeze stuff into your brain. Right. Writing, okay, so I have a lot of people, at least in the Tuesday, Thursday, folks over at straw planes and some folks here that did not complete the writing on time.
So let me talk about that really quickly.
So being on time doesn't really bother me, honestly. Yeah, I when you miss a deadline, it's not like, I feel like you've done something wrong. There's no like moral failure. You're not like cheating, or whatever I don't, that doesn't bother me. What's hard on me, is then when I get eight or nine different papers at different times throughout the remainder of the week. Does that make sense? So it's harder for me to keep everything organised. That's why deadlines are important for me not because it has anything to do with what you can or cannot do. So this first run through that, I get it. So I'll probably open the dropbox up, those of you that weren't able to get everything done that I've talked to privately about emailing that I still plan on giving me your paper, I'll open that Dropbox up and close it again back on Friday evening. So for those of you that weren't able to complete it, or so on and so forth. By all means, please finish that it's easier for me to collect it in one place like that. I don't want to do that in the future. Because the continues to put me in a sticky spot. I'm going to try to use the weekend, to mark your papers give you feedback, that type thing. So I want those all to be in play.
So when it comes to the next few stages, hopefully you won't have that problem. Another thing I should say, and I'll say this to the Tuesday, Thursday class tomorrow, is that
I get not, quote, understanding, right. But that's kind of the point of it. So just do me a favour and don't use I don't get it as a reason to not do it or to delay it. Okay. It's okay to not get it. It's okay. And I'm not telling you don't don't come to me and say I don't understand. That's fine. Tell me what you don't understand, I can help you. What I don't like is when students will say I really didn't get it. So I didn't know what to do. So I didn't turn it in? Well, again, it doesn't make me mad that you didn't turn it in. It doesn't make me upset with you. What what's troubling is how many times throughout an hour, I will say you guys getting this clear for everybody. So what I understand, and I get the same nods. So that's highly frustrating. What's also highly frustrating is I can't find the tutorial. And I brought my website up like 15 times in class, nobody know write it down, know how to get to it. And then people will say, it's not working, it says it's inactive. And then I will go to it find the exact frickin link, send that person the link and say, here it is. And then like, Oh, so I think what happens is students develop techniques in order to postpone the professor, you know, like, I didn't get it or blah, blah, blah.
You don't have to do that.
For me. You know, if you've come up to me after class and said, I need a little bit more time. I don't think anybody can say that. I've been like, hell no. If you're gonna do it in this world yet, I'm just not that that's not me. Right. So I don't need you to use those techniques, those like buffer techniques. I would rather you talk to me directly and, and be clear, it's it that those are okay, things they don't bother me again, when it comes to deadlines. My concern is never about grades. It's never about moral failure. It's always about timing for me to be able to respond. Because here's what my week looks like. Monday, I come to class we read. Sunday afternoon, I'm compiling the reading for us. I'm reading a huge long 25 page selection from a reading. I'm copying and pasting sections that I think we easy for you to understand.
So on Monday, I bring that in.
Then on Monday afternoon, I do all my reading for my Wednesday night class for me, my PhD class Tuesday, I go to Dr. Destroy planes. And then I spend Tuesday evening doing all my reading for my Thursday night class. Then on Wednesday, I have this class and then at two o'clock I have an afternoon comes in class and then I have a five o'clock Clemson class. So I'm in class from I'm a PhD student at Clemson. Yes, so I have to do so I'm in class from 10 till nine, on all day Wednesday, then on Thursday, I have a Clemson class in the afternoon. So on Thursday, I do a little bit more work prepping for the next lecture for this class. Then on Friday, I try to take the morning off in order to grade and do other things. And then I pick my son up on Friday afternoon early so that my parents don't have to keep them any longer. Because they keep him all week.
Right? So I am doing a tonne of stuff. So whenever I get papers that are strung out over like eight days, you can see why it's complicated, right? Because what I'll do is if you email me on Thursday night, your paper instead of it being all in the Dropbox, then I'm ignoring it. Like I see it. I'm like art they sent it. Alright, so I'll move it over to a folder, and then I don't touch it. Then on Friday morning, I go great. Everybody's in Dropbox. And I forget that yours is there. Because by noon, I'm getting ready to read something else when I pick up my son so that when he takes a nap from 12 to two, I can read some more. Does this make sense? So I'm this it's an organisational principle for me. So that's the biggest issues that make sense at all. Okay. Yeah.
Those are broken. You're right.
On the left side where it says the exploratory essay, those are the live links. So if you'll see if you scroll up on if you're on your phone right now, if you scroll up, you see the one that says expository essay, those are the live links those how tos were from another class and I left them there because I probably use them in the future. But in terms of the tutorials that you desperately need, go to the exploratory essay portion, it will say stage one document stage one video,
If what now? Yeah.
Sure. But you should have also been on that document, that when
I brought it when I did that in class last week, last Wednesday. I did that on the screen, or were you here? You might have been here. Okay, so I did this all on the screen actually pulled up a document and it says do this, do this do this. I mean, this is very specifically and that's on that on that course page. It says stage one document.
margins, Baba Baba blah.
Right? That's right, right.
Above that you'll see MLA template for download. Because in the tutorial, that's exactly what I do. I go to my own website, not download the MLA template.
Yeah, that's fine. I'm fine with anything from 10 to 12.
Did you all see that a new type face was released a couple days ago and get hubs anybody from with GitHub. It's like for dorks who like to code. It's called times new bastard. And every eighth letter is a San Sarah letter. So it looks really bizarre. It's like times zero,
times zero up. So
have you heard of times newer Roman
times new roman was released last year, and add spacing around the letters. So that that document gets longer. It was a trick created by students in order to make longer papers with less words. It's called times newer, Roman, exact same types of letters. It's just that when you design a letter, let's say you design it in, you also have to design the space around the letter to know how close it will be to the next one, right? So the end and the E will have to be close to each other. So they adjusted the space ever so slightly, so that a word that would have been this long Earth in Times New Roman is about this long? Well, you combine that with 500 words, you get a whole extra page out of it, you know, Times New Roman you can find it. It's a free download. It's a free download times a newer Roman,
I guarantee you professors will have no idea.
Oh, yeah, people put spaces around the periods. Yeah, you have a point size goes up is negligible. Yeah. I've seen all those. Yeah, see, that's for me. That's why pay paper the length doesn't matter. I always give a word count. Yeah. And the truth length is not nearly as important as clarity. Alright, so let's jump in because I burned some time. Alright, so let's talk about the Japanese tradition. So on Monday, we read from a meal, Durkheim, SSA, on the elementary forms of religious life. And one of the things that Durkheim argued is there's some kind of symmetry between the sacred and the social. And I think the reason I'm bringing that up is because when it comes to Japanese traditions, that's very clear. In fact, it's to the point where they're so blended that they are the same thing, at least in ancient Japan, the most dominant forms of religious practice now in Japan are not the ancient ones. They're more Buddhist in nature. So we're going to go past that, just like with the Chinese. We want to reach past behind the Buddhist invasion, if you will, if I could use that term. And look at what the Japanese order was like before the Buddhist way of thinking, although we'll talk about it very briefly into in terms of how it affects it. Well, it's all these four elements. I want to talk about these power storeys, the political structure and these two emphases, which is on productivity and on purity.
Yep, yep, yep.
Power, it's what we would say CHEA
it's just spelled it's, it's pronounced ci,
yeah, power, energy force, whatever you want to call that. Okay.
So one of the things is interesting about the Japanese tradition, unlike the Chinese is that the it actually is written. There's two main storeys of the new hunger and the code Jiechi, which are both two storeys
the development of the world. The cosmology and the cosmology of the ancient Japanese tradition come from these two documents. The first one that comes up is the shorter of the two and then you hungry is the longer and it basically tells the storey of the beginning of the Japanese world up and through the Japanese Emperor's and the Imperial tradition. There much like an Egypt there's a thread that moves from the beginning of the world all the way through the political rule. Do you remember that would Egypt to talk about ISIS Osiris Ba ba ba, ba ba? One of the reasons I showed you those traditions like the Egyptian the Mesopotamian is because it gives you a really clear picture of how a lot of religious practices work. There is a symmetry between the beginning of the earth and the political structure that comes with it.
In this storey,
here's how it basically goes in the beginning. But you can pause don't write that yet. I'll explain what that means. In a second. The word is Kami. I don't even know if I put the word commie in there. Yeah, yeah, there it is. I'm going to explain the fourth thing before I explain the elements in the cookie that where the storey goes like this, in the beginning was chaos and undifferentiated blob, right? We've heard this before. It's almost every religious tradition has some sort of ancient accounts of how things are disorderly and chaotic, whether you want to respond to that through power, what do you respond to that by, you know, the yin and the yang, whatever, there's, that's the typical storey. The ancient ancestor gods were these two a pair, he's a non VN is a Nami, a male and a female. They stand on this suspended heavenly bridge above the waters as it were, and they take a jewelled spear, and they dip it into that water, when they pull the spear out, the saltwater brine that drips off of the spear forms islands, following me, and of course, if you can have Japan in your mind's eye, it's an archipelago, right, which means it's like a group of islands all strung together. So the origin storeys for Japan, these these two divine ancestors, these two ancients drip the emergence of the islands into place, they then lower themselves down to these islands to dwell. And when they do this, they start having kids which are other divinities. And these other divinities comprise the powers of the world, much like you would experience in a Greek myth, right? These they have different roles. This is the god of this, this is the god of this, this is the goddess of that, and the goddess of that appoint bearing the very last deity. He's a Nami is giving birth to this fire God, which creates a problem, it actually causes her to burn up. So she's giving birth to fire and as a result, it backfires. No pun intended, but maybe accidentally useful there. it backfires. She burns, she dies, the area of the underworld of the deadly area is called yo me. And so the husband, he's an OG he goes to visit. He's an army in the underworld, and he sees are decaying. And he sees her like decomposing after this death, and he's appalled by it. And so he leaves the underworld of death and decay. When he comes back, he starts washing himself off from whatever this putrid pollution of the dead world is, in his washing of himself. He is creating others deities, the washing becomes a form of recreation. Why is this important? Because all the way through the Japanese tradition in the Japanese culture, this idea of purification and renewal is huge. If any of you have ever been to Japan, has anybody participated in a Japanese baiting way you know how this works? You have two different steps in Japanese bathing. You sit on a stool and you shower off with a shower head, not in a tub. And then after that you go get in a tub of hot water. So it's like two stages of cleansing. I went to Japan when I was like 12. And I did this like gigantic group baffled these old Japanese businessman. It was the most bizarre thing I've ever been a part of, at 12 years old. I was I got I think it was the only white kid Tokyo.
I'm like walking around like a celebrity black. What is this?
Look at that short, 12 year old white boy. It was wild. But it's it was it's an interesting bathing ritual. It's very Japanese people are meticulously clean.
Right? And you can see it in the office architecture and design. You ever looked at Japanese pencils? Right? These companies that make these just slim, clean, beautiful. So this is very much a part of Japanese culture, but it has some relationship to this ancient storey.
This term the way of the commie is Shinto. Shinto
means the way of the commie the commie are these powers, it could be described as Gods but that would probably be just a little bit misleading. Comic can be a rock comic can be anything unusual, or, or an ordinary or powerful or intense. So the comic can be an animal. So it's not just like the cheats not just a spiritual force. It's it is more personified and located. But it has the range to be just about anything. And so the way of the comment is Shinto, and these gods are a part of this, these gods are a part of this comic storey. And it makes its way to Japan through the droplets off the spear. So talking about yoga and purification, remember, he goes the husband goes down, he sees the wife, he thinks that's putrid and awful. He leaves and what brushes himself off a new gods are made. what's critical here is to see that purification here is deeply embedded in religious ideology, and deeply embedded in politics. One of the things you'll see in a few minutes is one of the Ginjo or one of the shrines one of the Shinto shrines which is dedicated to one of the ease and RU children. These are not you have these three main kids that are really important to talk about them in a second, but one of the shrines it's dedicated to the sun Goddess is actually torn and rebuilt every 20 years. Because this idea of renewal and restoration and cleansing and purification is super duper, duper important. It's also why you don't see blood sacrifices in in Japanese traditions, because blood and death or anything like that as a bad thing. So that makes sense. Yummy is the underworld. She dies goes here he goes there sees her in that state leaves washes himself off continues to create deities. One of their children is an important one and I think it's a pure next she's the sun goddess. Yeah. Amanda Ross, who is the sun goddess. She's significant but one of the things that happens is she is made after he goes down to Yo man he comes back and he's an OG I'll get you just two seconds. He's an OG his eyes become the sun in the moon.
his one it was the sun, others other one becomes the moon. And then his nose becomes the storm deity because of wind. Does that make sense? So we talked about this a long time ago, some cause Mancini's can have it, where the body parts of the deity are distributed and become the elements of the creation. But this goddess, the sun goddess becomes a critical figure. Yes, ma'am.
No, yummies, the underworld.
This is okay.
husband, wife, she does giving birth to the fire God, up here. He goes here visits her doesn't like the death and decay leaves washes himself off, eyes become her and the moon and then the storm God. Does that make sense? This, this is all in the text. So page 300. And following if you want to go back and kind of read this more carefully, or if you want to go download a copy of the cookie or the ancient documents, it's all there as well. The thing here is you have multiple siblings, you have multiple deities, and some of what happens throughout the rest of time is conflict between these One example is the storm God doesn't like to do things that the sun Goddess is interested in. So there's a little bit of like a trickery and competition, they end up reconciling because he says you know, I won't bother you anymore. If you give me sort of a divine blessing or you give me something happens in my side of the island, blah, blah, blah, blah. So there's reconciliation between the between them, but I just want you to know that this is a genealogical progression, you know what I mean by genealogical right? You all have Ancestry. com, you and oceans work. So this is ancestry com cookies ancestry.com for Japanese deities. So eventually what happens is much Ross who has all the way down in her lineage, the sun goddess basically becomes the chief of them. Okay, now think of think of Japanese imagery, flag, red dot sun, right, the sun Gods becomes a critical figure. Over time, the sun goddess to save successive generations below her, gives essentially birth to a mortal figure who becomes the first emperor.
So then their minds the Emperor, or the
old Imperial model of Japan is a descendant of this, this godly like genealogy. Up until about 600 BCE or the seventh century BCE, Japan would have been predominantly clannish, different groups of Clans, but these clans become organised under an empire and one particular clan, the Yamato clan, lays claim to the fact that they bear the lineage of a masa rossouw. And so they how's the Emperor? Are you following? So the Emperor takes on a divine status? That changes over time, because we're talking seventh century BCE and right now you're not saying Emperor worship in Japan. World War Two had a lot to do with that, but a lot changes between seventh century BCE and what we now have is the current era. I just want you to know that you motto clan is the one that sort of lays claim to that throne,
just making sense. Brom yet Japan
that he's an army. This one the dad, the dads eyes Sun and Moon nose storm. Yep.
I did not name the moon and the storm. I left them off because this one's the significant figure. Those two are minor figures jump in.
can watch I'll draw it. Does it worse a marker.
man. Does anybody have a dry erase on
some people came in their bags? No.
It's mine. This is no it is it says your race. Okay.
you okay with that? Sorry, ladies. You got lowercase. If you're offended, I'm sorry.
I just took over I
just took a whole lecture series on how not to offend people and I just did it.
You were there. Right? We had
to go to this mandatory training about you know what you can't i can't say to people, clearly I didn't listen.
I'm sorry. Okay, so they have kids. Right? She ends
up having will make her here she is nice and pregnant.
Okay, inside her rages. The fire deity got it
kills her. puts her in the underworld. Now here she is decaying. Almost make her look like Edvard monks screen. Right here. She is smouldering and DK. Dad sees her. Whoo. Those are eyes. And there's his eyebrows. Oh my god. Right? Yeah.
So he goes back. And he
has to use this put his hands out here. under the sink. Right. He has to wash off for me so far. All right. So then, after he washes off, he comes over.
There he is.
storm. Good so far. Yep.
No, it's it's just a way of describing what it's doing. Is it saying that the cosmos is the God?
What it's saying is like, think about how a Native American person would treat the tree is an access Monday as a place where divinity and the world touch each other? What religious tradition you come? Do you have any religious background at all?
Okay, are you from here? Have you been around Christian people before?
Okay. Have you been in a church before? Okay. Have you ever been around a church that does what's called the Lord's supper?
Okay, so that's cannibalism, right? If I put it in one way, you're eating the God. Right?
That's bizarre from the outside looking in. But people on the inside are gonna be like, Look, that's not the point is we're connecting.
in their way the whole earth has something to do at least Japan has something to do with this divine power this Kami? Kami, the group of the group of powerful things. And so why do we have a storms? Because it came from the gods breath? Why do we have the? So the two eyes of the day, the eye that sees at night in the eye that sees in the morning? That makes sense. Right? I'm not Yeah, I mean, you could maybe maybe some Japanese people might say that. But that our interest here is to say, what picture? Is it painting? It's painting a picture of a composite world that's made up of divine attributes. Good. Everybody good with that so far. Alright, so you see the people, okay? This one becomes very important. Okay, until this one has babies, babies, babies, babies, babies, babies, until you get this guy.
Who's in charge? Or lady who's in charge? Whatever. Sitting here on the throne?
That's the idea.
It's, you may Why is it gendered?
Because it rules because it's powerful. Because it's, it rules the day it nourishes the plants. It provides fertility, it initiates the cosmic cosmological movements.
Well, that's Yes. I mean, that's simplistic. That's simplistic. But the thing is, like,
the hard part for us is that we think in western terms, so we think,
um, why would you name a kid Josh?
Oh, yeah, you know,
it's an it's arbitrary. Right? We can easily look at
American naming principles and say, we just picked, you know, you just oh, well, I don't know what Josh means. Or I don't know why I just quote liked it. I don't think that that's what we're doing is we're taking that notion and we're applying there. That's not how Amy ancient naming or ancient DT sort of our thought of you're asking a theological question, you're asking, like, why the people sort of ascribe certain personalities, behaviours and ideals to a natural phenomenon,
very much. So in Japan is her baby.
And if that's true, we rule the world. Which is why in the 19th century, in the 20th century, Japan gets caught up in the whole German occupy the world bit. That's what ends up happening is because their national ideology is, we are endowed with a special blessing. But that's not any different than the Hebrew people. The Hebrew people think God's called us out of Egypt. We're supposed to multiply and rule the earth. So this is not an uncommon, uncommon phenomena, we've just sort of subdued it over time. But now corporations take that on, we make profit, we buy land, we make profit, we buy servers, we make profit, we buy employees. So there's a conquest mentality in any of these systems. And it just so happens that this is the way it's expressed in the ancient traditions jump in. Like not without purpose, like if I say, right, now, if you're going to want to leave here, and you're, you know, do you want to go to the bathroom? Or do you want to go eat lunch? If you had no desire, no interest whatsoever, and you just made an arbitrary decision, that one, or if your two siblings come to you and say, he's kicking me, she's kicking me, and you can't decide and you just pick? That's arbitrary? what we think is that what I'm saying is, that's what we think is happening with these people that they're just arbitrary going, Yeah, sun goddess. It's not, that's way too simple. The unfair, it's, you know, that's what I'm getting at.
Nobody good. Okay.
it should be noted that there's a high view of femininity in the Japanese Shinto tradition. Because you have the sun goddess, priest, priestess, figures, or female shamans, female dancers,
it was not uncommon to have an empress and that'd be a significant player. So one of the things that your textbook likes to point out, is anytime there's a gender equity, and one of these religious practices, of course, your textbook is, is in its third edition. And it's written in the you know, late 2000s, when this is a hot button issue. So you can see why the editors want to make sure you know that there was a femininity to it. But it is interesting because goddess worship is very much a part of ancient religious practice. It's not an unusual thing. It's something we're a little bizarre. To those of us that come from the Western world. Whether we come from any of the major three, this idea of a goddess deity is a little bit harder for us to understand. That's why everybody got their their panties in a wad about the Da Vinci Code, right? Y'all know what the Da Vinci Code is? Okay. Is because like, sorry, I guess panties in a wad is bad phrase. Their undergarments in a wad. Okay.
They're loincloth cloth.
Is that better? That's religious. Not arbitrary. All right. Yeah, loincloth Yeah.
Okay, do it. Do it protect Gird your loins? Do you know that in the Hebrew tradition,
that their description of angels is that they have wings on their feet? I don't know if you've heard this or not. feet is a euphemism for this area. So
yeah, so the wings are like
underwear. It's kind of
fun. It's a little treat and share with your family. What?
Yeah, yeah, so you all heard that is on record. Alright.
So those are
the so what I wanted to get out here is that these ancient storeys really formed the ancient religious mindset of the people, but it also deeply deeply informs their political theology. But political theology is like how their own political structures and systems of government are informed by this this word matzah ricotta, is actually a term that means like to organise the festivals and the ancient Japanese mindset, the ancient Imperial mindset, that basically the job of the Emperor is to organise the festival. So they see governments will rule as keeping up the Shinto or the way of the commie. So in their mind, the Emperor is not interested in economy is not interested in war. They're interested in preserving the world according to the way of the commie. So in the Japanese, ancient Japanese mindset, politics and religion are the same thing. In fact, that's what this term means. The sauce he is literally like blending religion and politics. So in a lot of other religions, I have to explain how religion influences politics. But in this Japanese world, that's obvious. It's what they want. They want to explain it that way that makes sense of imperial rule is this particular term that it's blended means like organising the festivals and being more like the
the divine party planner, if you want to put it in those crude terms.
So basically, here's what happens with the Shinto way. It kind of works. It works its way through Japan, up until about the mediaeval period. Basically, Shinto is the dominant idea, these old ancient storeys. And even to the point of, kind of, this is what you do in order to be a proper Japanese person around the mediaeval period, something happens. I don't know if you know the geography of Japan is but it's off the coast of the continent where you have China and always others, Korea, etc. Okay. What ends up happening around the mediaeval period is increasing exposure to other political entities, particularly continental ones, when that happens, and by the way, these words are out of order. I'm jumping down to mediaeval syncretism on go back up to station to a national learning, so I want you understand where they fit.
The Shinto idea starts to get blended with Confucianism ideas, and Buddhist ideas. They start blending together,
which at first is a good thing.
Because of the mindset of the Japanese people. Confucianism, for example, makes up a lot of ground of things we don't know care about. You'll notice it the Shinto tradition, there's not a lot I haven't talked a lot about ethics and morals, like what you're supposed to do as a person who was in the Shinto world. That's because it's not really interested in it doesn't really concern itself with that. It's not like he's an OG he does a bad thing by banning his wife, but in other religious traditions, that's a big deal.
So they're not really concerned about that. Well,
when you bring Confucianism in, which is highly ethical, and highly moral and tries to describe the piece of all of the social, political, familial entities, it's it's a nice adaptation to your Shinto way. Does that make sense? It fits inside a gap that that you have. And so you start to see syncretism. syncretism is this blending of beliefs, okay, even so much so that the things you associate with Japan come from that syncretism. For example, the Bushido, or the way of the warrior, what you know, as a samurai? Well, Samurai is on the one hand, deeply Shinto because they vowed to protect the Emperor and protect Japan. But they're indifferent towards death and dying comes from Buddhism.
This makes sense.
So what you know is the samurai is a blending is a product of that syncretism. Eventually, around the 19th century, there was massive reform. This one in this one imperial family rises up the Magi diet Meiji dynasty. And so they basically said, we're going to get rid of all foreign influence and reassert ourselves as Imperial Japan, and clean house. And so what you end up have any having from that point, is a state sponsored Shinto, which is to teach people the way of the commie even so much of a come to part of the national curriculum. This is who we are, this is why we do what we do. That continues to grow through the 19th and 20th century and reaches its zenith, its apex
of the top
right around World War Two. Well, when you get bombed into submission by another country that's backed by dollar bills, I won't tell you who that is. When you get bombed into submission, you drop that after World War Two, they got rid of the Association of divinity and the Empire, they still have an imperial figure, but it's a lot like the Queen of England, not really a power holding figure, and not really divine in nature. So what I'm getting at is in its origins, Shinto is always blended religion and politics. It even got became syncretism with other religious practices. It reasserted itself as the supreme religion of the land, made it a part of its curriculum, and then ended up abandoning that or at least revising that dramatically after, after the loss of World War Two. So these two elements right here testify to syncretism. The Bushido is the samurai, or the way of the warrior that this book is out. But it is a Buddhist term, which describes someone who gets all the way to Nirvana, but decides not to go into Nirvana, but come back and teach other people how to get there. So this book is off, I became like, basically, not princes, but rulers of Shinto temples. So you saw this blending, you saw this blending of the Buddhist tradition in the Shinto tradition, to a point where you organise things around it. Like I said, eventually, there was massive reform, and the Empire was the Emperor was reaffirmed as the living commie
the God on earth,
the power on earth, and it promoted imperialism, that imperialism affected all of the Continental regions around it. Do y'all understand I'm saying here
19th century I think, like 1860s, maybe?
Correct. These are, as I said, these are out of order. If I wouldn't put them in chronological order, I would do it like this.
So if my if my Japan and my Emperor is divinely endowed, then I feel like my empire has a right to stuff around it, including things on the continent, meaning like Korea, China, etc. So Japan's imperial ambitions start to swell. When you start to get to the 20th century, and you start to see other European entities on the other side, start to get on board with like, National Socialist identity, that that feeds into the Japan imperialist mindset. for Britain. We would have caught up colonisation. In England, it was going colonised territory for them. It was imperialistic like, we're going to go ahead and state claim to this land jump in. No,
I just want to always want to do that. You know, I will, of course.
Yeah, sure. So numbers four and five and nine. Ok. So the this term is a Buddhist term,
Yama to draw it? Does drawing help?
Yep. Okay, that's what I'm doing my PhD research on, believe it or not? Yeah.
Okay. So watch this.
Here's the Shinto way. Okay.
Imagine, like Tetris had gaps in it.
Imagine Buddhism is shaped like this.
Right? Confucianism is shaped like this.
Right? link, link, okay?
The Shinto way, has temples, right?
Buddhism provides an idea. This idea is that if you get close to Nirvana, this elated state of divine enlightenment, if you can get to Nirvana, but you decided not to go into it, the state of perfection, but decided to come back and teach people you're called a buddies offer. What these Buddha's up I do then, is in the Shinto way, they use that person to run the temple. Okay? So what's happening is, here's your blending religious ideas. You follow me? Buddhism also provides another idea that the Shinto don't have, how does the Shinto feel? How does the Shinto tradition feel about death? Bad, bad, bad, dirty, you want to clean yourself? How does Buddhism feel about death? So the so the Buddhist idea, allows them a way to think about death, it's more indifferent. And you develop these figures. Like with these warriors, these Imperial warriors, we call the samurai or the Bushido, the way of the warrior, to the idea of indifference to death from Buddhism, takes the idea of imperial power and protection from the Shinto and we start to see the emergence of this character. You follow me? Everybody go that so far? So all I'm saying is this stuff.
number for this one, number five.
Eventually, this is key for number nine. This blending, somebody pops in in the 19th century says no more blending.
We can't do this anymore. We're not doing it. Shinto, only you were draw, you're running down here mad that?
I'm sorry, I can draw it again.
So then what happens is boom, we only want to be Shinto, Japan. So that imperialist idea is that we are separating, we have this is our heritage, this is who we are, we're going to go back to who we are. We go back to our roots. And we now have the right to kind of spread where we want to.
That makes sense, everybody. All right.
Don't ask me to explain anything. Yeah, just I'm just kidding. loincloth. You write it down.
But you have another question. Clearly, look at this level of engagement. Just go from zero to 100. I love it. Please talk to me. Yes.
indifferent to death, the Buddhist Oh, they don't go into Nirvana. But that's not a big deal. Right. Now. We'll talk about that we get to Buddhism.
Okay, so imperialism kind of catches, it gets its last breath and World War Two. I mean, that's obvious for you. All right. Okay.
By the way, this is fascinating. Hmm. So if you're going to protect the empire that now you can see what Kamikaze is what it is, it means the divine wind, see the word commie? So it's like the divine storm. You've taken the Kamikaze to be in this like no fear, fear of death, wild man. Right? But the Kamikaze is actually defined when to Japan. And you can see how that comes from the Shinto heritage and comes from that divine storm that we talked about back when we're talking about the children. Yes, moving forward, I'm gonna talk about purity at this point. Alright. So the other two main living elements of the Shinto that is important is the emphasis on reap on production and reproduction. And permeation. permeation is just another word for purging or cleansing. So you can see that if the commie the divine ones, or the divine things, or the powerful things, the ordinary, if the Kami bring Japan into being that means all of Japan and its natural order is specially in doubt, it's something we must take care of. And it must grow. When things grow, and they mature and they renew, that's a good thing. So there's a high emphasis on fertility. In fact, in some old cities in Japan, you will still see statues or images of symbolic genitalia. If you've ever been around older Japanese people, there's very much a familiar with sexual, sexual things have familiarity with sexual things that doesn't necessarily come from the Shinto, but that is a part of the deep tradition. And that's not unusual, that's in a lot of ancient traditions that have a high value of fertility, because then you live in an older world, reproduction, and ancestry and progeny and children is the way you survive. So you're going to see some of that in some old Japanese cities, not as much now as you used to.
You also see an emphasis
in Shinto festivals, you see an emphasis on harvest, because if people have babies, so does the earth, right? And so production and reproduction are connected to one another, this constantly new, this newness, this new life, this growth is really, really critical. But you can also see how the newness of things and the production of thing is connected to permeation or purity. One of the purity rituals, I guess it's probably pronounce her I don't know, I don't speak Japanese. But I'm going to say her rye. This, this cleansing ritual is done by Shinto priests in order to make one ready to be in the presence of the Kami,
right? Just one that's one quick religious tradition.
the right cleansing ritual,
the me soggy is the bathing ritual.
Not just personal bathing ritual, but a like a special religious bathing ritual. But here's the thing I want to make you see is that all three of these the horizon, Muskogee and salt are all part of a way of practising ritual purification. And you can see why salt, right, salt is added to things or salt is used in certain religious ceremonies, because it itself is not only a preservative, but it can be a cleansing matter as well. That's exactly right. All involved with cleanliness. It's very much a part of who they are, because in their minds, this even if even if they don't know it, it's so deeply embedded in the cultural framework because it comes back from Isa nog he cleansing himself after visiting his wife in the underworld. So this cleansing, this renewal, this growth, this newness, two things is important. And it's embedded in the rituals. One of those rituals that's very famous in Japan, if you've ever had a Japanese friend or been to Japan is the Japanese New Year. This is Oh god. So this is the one ritual this there's many rituals listed in your textbook, one that I just wanted to point out was the new year, and you can see why the renewal of the new year so important, important, you know, cleansing what's behind you, moving on to the next thing, moving on to the fresh thing and so on and so forth.
I did want to point out that the Ginja is the term for the Shinto temples, There are multitudes of them. The reason I wanted to point that out is because the temples themselves are places for these rituals, and renewals. And one of them in particular, the I probably shouldn't say, as a shrine is where,
oh, another reason
you know how temple structures often work. So, a lot of times in temple structures, you have concentric interiors, right. And what the reason that is, is because the closer you get to the middle, the more pure it becomes. Okay? This is the case in Judaic traditions. And this is also the case in Japanese traditions. So as you get closer to the middle of the cleaner, you need to be because the cleaner to the reality of the Kami is in that place. So that's how the GJ are organised. In the ISA shrine, this particular shrine is for amirav. So remember, the sun goddess, this is the one that's rebuilt every 20 years, because it doesn't need it needs to be cleaned from its contamination in its pollution. So they think of death, decay, old corrupt, all as polluted our polluting factors. And so it's rebuilt every 20 years, which is an interesting architectural phenomena. Like if we did our buildings that way, that would be really interesting. We sort of tear them down and
build big boxes, but they're rebuilding it every time, which is pretty fascinating.
Alright, so these are the key elements,
I think that you always walk away with,
is that purity land, identity and growth are critical features of the Shinto tradition.
The Shinto way, is not like
what we think of as religious practice, like where you there's no organisation where you go to some building every week. So if you're going to worship the Kami, if you're going to cleanse and purify yourself, you might have a home shrine, you might go to a shrine, but there's no organisational pattern to it. You don't have to go there at a certain day. You don't have to do it as certain many times. So it's more like, it's if as an American, it's more comparable to the way we participate in like festivals like birthdays. It's just a part of our cultural fabric. We don't think of the birthday as a religious thing. We just think of it as something that we do to like maintain our history and our memory of our past. So in a large part, the Shinto has that kind of structure now more than it used to, because after World War Two, the Emperor divinity sort of fades away. That makes sense. I'm gonna stop the recording really quickly.