Important Announcement

See here for an important message regarding the community which has become a read-only site as of October 31.

Post Reply
Switch to Forum Live View I'm a writer trying to create a more realistic shinto-buddhist character
7 years ago  ::  Mar 28, 2011 - 10:01PM #1
Posts: 9
He's a male of English and Asian descent.

He's first exposed to shinto and buddhism when his maternal grandfather and that grandfather's father begin to teach him the family style of karate (initially passed from father to son, but later from parent to child).  They interwove such lessons within the karate lessons.

I know that Japanese buddhism is generally zen buddhism (learned this from the buddhism boards here).  Is there any uniqueness and differences from the seperate religions when one combines these two religions versus how they are on their own.

Thanks for your help,
-- Chris
Quick Reply
7 years ago  ::  Apr 04, 2011 - 12:06PM #2
Posts: 11

I believe that Budhhist beliefs tend to determine the rituals surrounding death. From what I understand, the Shinto faith tends to try to ignore things regarding death, but I cannot be certain if this is merely a modern idea or if it has roots further back.

“I'm just preparing my impromptu remarks.” - Winston Churchill
Quick Reply
7 years ago  ::  Apr 22, 2011 - 7:00PM #3
Posts: 67

Zen and Shinto for all intents and purposes merged and are essentially inseperable. In fact, it is often said that you are born Shinto and die Buddhist. It isn't that Shinto ignores death. In fact, the original views of the afterlife were pretty stark. This was supplanted pretty much completely by Zen influence, so Shinto essentially has reincarnation with a twist.

Most don't realize that there are numerous potential fates for someone upon their death, and that only partially has to do with how they died. We believe that mourning over someone overtly can bind someone to this plane, making them a ghost. If the spirit died angrily, it could become a gaki, or hungry spirit. There are holidays where food is left out for the gaki to appease them and ease their suffering. If people begin to venerate the gaki, it can become a malevolent kami.

On the reverse side, if the spirit is here but helps people, it could likewise become a protector or tutelary kami. In fact, numerous kami were once mortals that have been exalted for their extraordinary lives. Additionally, ancestor worship plays a big role in the faith as a whole.

As far as the martial arts, again you have a syncretism that can't be unwound. Many martial techniques stem from Zen mysticism that is now essentially Shinto mysticism. To give you an idea of how intermingled the two are, Shinto considered bodhisattvas of Zen kami and Zen acknowledges the kami as manifestations of the bodhisattvas.

If you want truly authentic practices for your character, attempting to separate the two would not only make your character less realistic, it is also essentially trying to take the eggs out of a cake once you've baked it. It's a whole product, with each ingredient lenfing its weight to the overall recipe.


Quick Reply
    Viewing this thread :: 0 registered and 1 guest
    No registered users viewing

    Beliefnet On Facebook