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6 years ago  ::  Nov 04, 2007 - 5:29PM #1
CPShintoNoir
Posts: 1
Hello Shinto!

       My name is Nate and I'm part of Christopher Program. Christopher Program is a Columbus, Ohio  alternative learning program for High School Juniors and Seniors. CP is a humanity and culture studying class where students are given a broad subject like Government and Religion and each student or group of students takes a specific part or section of the subject. We are currently doing a religion project. Myself and three others were lucky enough to get Shinto. My favorite aspect of the religion is its reverence and respect of Life instead of concentrating on the afterlife.

The reason I'm writing this is that I cannot just have general information on Shinto, I need personal opinions of practitioners of Shinto and Columbus is not exactly the Epicenter of all things Shinto. We have  Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, and, Hindu communities but I'll be darned if I can find a Shinto Practitioner. I and my Shinto group teammates have tried everything bar a door to door search. So with our backs against the wall, I decided to post some of my questions here as well as send them to the International Shinto Foundation. Please respond to this with your answers to my questions and omit any questions you don't want to respond to. The more you write about each question the better!

1. What first striked your interest in Shinto?

2. How long have you practiced Shinto?

3. Where do you live? Since Shinto is such a rare religion, only widely practiced in Japan, how does practicing it prove difficult?

4. Is anyone else in your family a practitioner of Shinto?

5. Do you believe in all aspects of the religion?

6. What do you enjoy most about the religion? What if anything do you enjoy the least?

7. As a Shinto Practitioner how has your perspective (your personal views of world issues) changed or grown?

8. Do you regularly visit a Shinto temple or participate in Shinto Festivals? Would you explain a personal experience at a Temple or Festival?

9.How does your belief in Shinto effect your everyday life and, vice versa, how does your everyday life effect your belief in Shinto?

10. What are your daily practicies as a Shinto believer? Do you pray regularly? Do you abstain from eating certain foods?

I and the other Shinto researchers, CeCe, Mike, and Lauren thank you for taking your time to do this survey.
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6 years ago  ::  May 20, 2008 - 8:54PM #2
Crest
Posts: 56
1. A simple calling, I guess. And a bit of rationality.

2. Abstain.

3. San Diego, California.

4. Not that I am aware.

5. Not neccesarily, no.

6. I most enjoy sacrificing water to the Kami. I least enjoy cleaning up the giant spots the dried water sent to the Kami leave on my desk/makeshift shrine.

7. They have yet to change.

8. Unfortunately, my only available temple is made up of three books and a mayan calendar. I don't have enough money to make a formal one, or take a trip to Japan to visit a real one.

9. I try to keep my spiritual (at least in the case of Shinto) and physical lives more or less seperated, but if it was said to change my physical life in any way, I'd say it would be greater mindfulness of the environment and other living things.

10. My daily pracitices involve at least one prayer a day (with water sacrifice), generally lasting 5 to 15 minutes. I do it to praise the kami, as opposed to simply putting my needs upon them. I feel that they know what's best for me, and will keep on that path.
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5 years ago  ::  Mar 11, 2009 - 8:09AM #3
Mason17
Posts: 9
Mason Colbert
Unitarian Universalist/ Shinto/ Buddhist

1. I was always interested in Japanese culture, plus the religion seems peaceful and quite simple- nothing too complicated.
2. I'm new to it.
3. I live in the United States, I'm not very public about my religious beliefs.
4. No, I chose to change my religion.
5. No, I don't believe in the concept of Gods who control nature, but rather than spirits exist with nature and everything is spiritual and has a soul. But the main Gods I don't follow.
6. Meditating and seeing all life as spiritual and something beyond science.
7. I personally favor religious tolerance and peace. I favor the Samurai virtues of Honor, Courage, Justice, Honesty, Sincerity, Mercy, Compassion.
8. I would love to, but alas I do not live in Japan.
9. I act with compassion towards people, reverance for the soul in each of us and respect, aprreciation and value of human life.
10. I meditate, offer prayers for my girlfriend, friends, family and for the world. I don't abstain from any kind of foods- but I do make vows to abstain from drugs, alcohol, tabbacco etc.
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5 years ago  ::  Mar 13, 2009 - 10:43AM #4
Katsuninken
Posts: 67

1. What first striked your interest in Shinto?


To be honest, I found it by accident. But when I did find it, suddenly I made sense. I had a context.


2. How long have you practiced Shinto?


Somewhere along the lines of 10 years, give or take a few.


3. Where do you live?


Louisville, KY


4. Since Shinto is such a rare religion, only widely practiced in Japan, how does practicing it prove difficult?


I get confused for a New Ager or Pagan quite a bit, and admittedly, by definition, Shinto is a Pagan faith (because it's a non-Abrahamic religion), but not the kind you usually think of when you think of Pagans. Also Christians, but I think every faith has to deal with them. Even other Christians. But I think the worst thing of all is the lack of fellowship. I dearly desire a community to celebrate and worship with and carry sacred palanquins through the streets with.


4. Is anyone else in your family a practitioner of Shinto?


No.


5. Do you believe in all aspects of the religion?


Well of course I do! If I didn't, I wouldn't be a follower of Shinto. I believe in the kami, believe they are actively at work in the world, and I believe that prayer to them is heard and considered. I believe prayer, ceremony and just living in a way mindful of the kami builds your relationship with them.


6. What do you enjoy most about the religion?


I love that everything has a spirit. I also love that the number of kami in the world is not fixed. I think what I love most about my faith, though, is the attitude towards the faith. It's not something practiced begrudgingly and you don't just go through motions. It's an active, involved faith that for the most part is genuinely expressed. And Shinto loves its celebrations.


What if anything do you enjoy the least?


The only thing I don't like is the lack of community. Everything else that makes my faith difficult comes from outside sources.


7.As a Shinto Practitioner how has your perspective (your personal views of world issues) changed or grown?


That's a great deal to cover in a soundbyte, but they have changed. I can sum it up as a realization that I am part of the world, and thus have a responsibility to it. My faith actually was the driving force that prompted me to return to school to study the sciences.


8. Do you regularly visit a Shinto temple or participate in Shinto Festivals?


I would if we had them. The closest shrine is in Washington state. And there's just not enough of a population to have public festivals. But I do celebrate the holidays and applicable festivals in my own way.


Would you explain a personal experience at a Temple or Festival?


Most shrine visits are kind of like touching base with the enshrined kami. After misogi, you enter the shrine to pray outside of the honden (which is the place where the kami resides). In larger temples, you pray outside of the shrine, ring a bell, then leave an offering. Each shrine can do its own thing with how it handles rituals and prayer visits. Shrine visits aren't necessary on a regular basis, because most practitioners have a kamidana in their homes that serve as a house shrine. The shrine itself is less about you going to have a religious experience than it is to mark off a sacred place where a kami dwells and where the kami is/are attended by priests.


9.How does your belief in Shinto effect your everyday life and, vice versa, how does your everyday life effect your belief in Shinto?


My religious and secular life are one in the same, so I guess I would say that my faith is my life. But then again I hope to become a priest one day. If anything, I can say that my belief in Shinto is strengthened by being in the world, and my being in the world is enriched by Shinto.


10. What are your daily practices as a Shinto believer?


I attend to the kami of my neighborhood by feeding the resident animals, I study, I pray at my kamidana, and I go to school, which is actually the greatest way I demonstrate my faith at the moment.


11. Do you pray regularly? Do you abstain from eating certain foods?


I do pray very regularly, and make a point of leaving offerings whenever I can at places where I have personally encountered a kami. My diet is also a fairly traditional one, consisting of rice, fish and chicken, but I confess that's not a religious aesthetic. It's just because I like those foods that much!


 

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