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6 years ago  ::  Mar 22, 2009 - 12:19PM #1
Mason17
Posts: 9

Shintoists, A new question- what do you believe happens after death (if anything)?

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6 years ago  ::  Mar 23, 2009 - 12:56PM #2
Katsuninken
Posts: 67

 


There's a common phrase that you may be familiar with: born Shinto, die Buddhist. While there's no one fixed view of what happens after we die, that seems to be the most popular one. There's a wide array of possibilities that could happen, depending on your specific branch of Shinto and how much Buddhism enfluences you, ranging from a realm that could be loosely translated as a hell where you must repay the debts of your life to being a gaki to being a guardian spirit to being reborn to ascending as Hachiman and Yoshitsune to Benkei have done.


As far as me personally, I can't know for sure what will happen to me once I pass on, but if I had to guess I'd say I will be reborn again. There's a long way I have to go before I am anything close to a bodhisattva, and I am hardly worthy of ascension. I have too great a love for serving the world to retire to paradise and be removed from the cycle of birth and death, so I am pretty sure I have chosen my fate without intending to do so.


I'm too interested in the world and its wonders and what I am doing with my life while living to get too hung up on what comes next. Besides, what happens happens. There is nothing I can do about it, and I know that whatever comes next is what I need and what is best in the grander scheme, regardless of whether it's pleasant or not. If it turns out that I do have debts to pay, I am happy to pay them and have the opportunity to have my honor restored.


I think the only unfortunate fate would be one where I would be in the world, but unable to serve any purpose. If I passed on and my spirit became trapped here, or if something tragic happened to me and I became an angry spirit or a gaki - to me those would be worse than any hell or punishment, and I pray that should that happen, someone would have the mercy to send my spirit on.


 

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4 years ago  ::  May 08, 2011 - 8:59AM #3
Belldandy
Posts: 34

i dont think any thing happen when you die - you die and life stops

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4 years ago  ::  May 17, 2011 - 7:22PM #4
XingYi
Posts: 60

I could be mistaken (someone please correct me if I am), but I believe that the primary concern of Shinto is what we do while we're alive.  After death, some spirits are placated if they are aggressive and some are revered if they led an exemplary or influential life.  However, much like Confucianism (and possibly because of its influence upon Shinto), what happens after death is not highly speculated upon because it is not generally within the purview of the religion.

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 07, 2011 - 2:27PM #5
Katsuninken
Posts: 67

May 17, 2011 -- 7:22PM, XingYi wrote:


I could be mistaken (someone please correct me if I am), but I believe that the primary concern of Shinto is what we do while we're alive.  After death, some spirits are placated if they are aggressive and some are revered if they led an exemplary or influential life.  However, much like Confucianism (and possibly because of its influence upon Shinto), what happens after death is not highly speculated upon because it is not generally within the purview of the religion.



 


You are exactly right about that. When people ask me about my religion, a question that always comes up is, "so what do you believe happens when you die?" and they are always surprised to learn that I am not really concerned with it. The cornerstone of Shinto is living being pleasing to the Kami, which is living as you were meant to live, which is living. In Western traditions, so much emphasis is placed on the Afterlife that it has pretty much become an alien concept to many of them to not think of life in terms of what's next. And that's not a criticism or anything of the sort, just an observation based on my experiences.


And you are also right about the influences of Tao on Shinto. It, like Zen, has its fingerprints all over Shinto, and considering the history of Japan and the period it had where it highly romanticisized China, this is to be expected. I tend to not split hairs about these things though, because it inevitably becomes a debate as to what is "authentic" or not.


As for me, I discuss the matters of death and the Afterlife as a means of trying to explain a religion that is not readily explainable. It's a faith with no holy books, writs or codification of any kind. The closest we get are the Nihongi, Kojiki and the Yengishiki. In order to make it relatable to others, you have to find common points and frames of reference, and for many the Afterlife can fit the bill.


I've had discussions with those of Abrahamic faiths, and to try to delineate the difference between all of the types of beings that Shinto recognizes is practically impossible. I've tried to explain the Tengu, which in English is considered a demon, but if you use that word you automatically frighten or offend the listener. Unfortunately, though, there's no other way to describe what the Tengu because there is no 1:1 English correlation. Discussing much of Shinto is this way, so you have to use what tools you can to try to communicate ideas that are not exactly easy to get across in the first place.


 

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 20, 2011 - 11:12PM #6
Belldandy
Posts: 34

i am nihonjin follow shinto


i thinkd deaths end of life for all


but i like shinto


 

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3 years ago  ::  Jun 27, 2011 - 10:43PM #7
astrogaijin
Posts: 7
I don't believe that anything happens when you die. You just die and that's it.
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