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Taoic Religions   >   Shinto   >   Books & Further Reading

   
 

Shinto Further Reading


If you would like to know more about Shinto, there are many books and websites with more information about it.

Here are some helpful websites about Shinto: Here some books about Shinto:

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The Essence of Shinto: Japan's Spiritual Heart
By Motohisa Yamakage

Kodansha
Released: 2012-09-07
Hardcover (232 pages)

The Essence of Shinto: Japan s Spiritual Heart
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In The Essence of Shinto, revered Shinto master Motohisa Yamakage explains the core values of Shinto and explores both basic tenets and its more esoteric points in terms readily accessible to the modern Western reader. He shows how the long history of Shintoism is deeply woven into the fabric of Japanese spirituality and mythology--indeed, it is regarded as Japan’s very spiritual roots--and discusses its role in modern Japan and the world. He also carefully analyzes the relationship of the spirit and the soul, which will provide informed and invaluable insight into how spirituality affects our daily existence. Through the author’s emphasis on the universality of Shinto and its prevalence in the natural world, the book will appeal to all readers with an appreciation of humanity’s place in nature and the individual’s role in the larger society.
Shinto the Kami Way
By Sokyo Ono Ph.D.

Brand: Tuttle Publishing
Released: 2004-04-15
Paperback (128 pages)

Shinto the Kami Way
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"An excellently rounded introduction by an eminent Shinto scholar."—Library Journal

Shinto, the indigenous faith of the Japanese people, continues to fascinate and mystify both the casual visitor to Japan and the long-time resident. Relatively unknown among the religions of the world, Shinto: The Kami Way provides an enlightening window into this Japanese faith.

In its general aspects, Shinto is more than a religious faith. It is an amalgam of attitudes, ideas, and ways of doing things that through two millennia and more have become an integral part of the manner of the Japanese people. Shinto is both a personal faith in the kami—objects of worship in Shinto and an honorific for noble, sacred spirits—and a communal way of life according to the mind of the kami. This introduction unveils Shinto's spiritual characteristics and discusses the architecture and function of Shinto shrines. Further examination of Shinto's lively festivals, worship, music, and sacred regalia illustrates Shinto's influence on all levels of Japanese life.

Fifteen photographs, numerous drawings and Dr. Ono's text introduce the reader to two millennia of indigenous Japanese belief in the kami and communal life.

Chapters include:
  • The Kami Way
  • Shrines
  • Worship and Festivals
  • Political and Social Characteristics
  • Some Spiritual Characteristics
Shinto: A History
By Helen Hardacre

Oxford University Press USA
Hardcover (720 pages)

Shinto: A History
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Distinguished scholar of Japanese religions and culture Helen Hardacre offers the first comprehensive history of Shinto, the ancient and vibrant tradition whose colorful rituals are still practiced today. Under the ideal of Shinto, a divinely descended emperor governs through rituals offered to deities called Kami. These rituals are practiced in innumerable shrines across the realm, so that local rites mirror the monarch's ceremonies. Through this theatre of state, it is thought, the human, natural, and supernatural worlds will align in harmony and prosper.

Often called "the indigenous religion of Japan," Shinto's institutions, rituals, and symbols are omnipresent throughout the island nation. But, perhaps surprisingly, both its religiosity and its Japanese origins have been questioned. Hardacre investigates the claims about Shinto as the embodiment of indigenous tradition, and about its rightful place in the public realm. Shinto has often been represented in the West as the engine that drove Japanese military aggression. To this day, it is considered provocative for members of the government to visit the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which honors the Japanese war dead, and this features as a source of strain in Japan's relations with China and Korea. The Yasukuni Shrine is a debated issue in Japanese national politics and foreign relations and reliably attracts intensive media coverage. Hardacre contends, controversially, that it was the Allied Occupation that created this stereotype of Shinto as the religion of war, when in fact virtually all branches of Japanese religions were cheerleaders for the war and imperialism.

The history and nature of Shinto are subjects of vital importance for understanding contemporary Japan, its politics, its international relations, and its society. Hardacre's magisterial work will stand as the definitive reference for years to come.
Shinto Norito: A Book of Prayers
By Ann Llewellyn Evans

Trafford Publishing
Released: 2006-07-06
Paperback (168 pages)

Shinto Norito: A Book of Prayers
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This book presents, for the first time, a collection of ancient Japanese Shinto prayers in a format where English speaking readers can both understand the deep meaning of the translated text and can also pronounce the original Japanese words.
Shinto is an ancient spiritual tradition, primarily practiced in Japan, which is now spreading its traditions to the western world. Its primordial rituals and traditions touch a deep chord within one's spiritual self. Shinto's focus on divinity of all beings and of all creation, on living with gratitude and humility, and on purification and lustration of one's self and environment will bring light and joy to any reader.
The purpose of prayer and ritual as practiced in the Shinto tradition, is to reinsert ourselves into a divine state of being, not as a new position, but as an acknowledgement and reinforcement of what already exists. Ritual restores sensitive awareness to our relationship to the universe. Through purification and removal of impurities and blockages, we return to our innate internal brightness and cultivate a demeanor of gratitude and joy.
Shinto rituals and prayers were created by ancient man over 2,000 years ago in a time when mankind was more intuitive about his relationship to this world. Because of this, the rites are archetypal and invoke deep emotion within the participants.
This book of prayers will introduce the western reader to the deep spirituality of Shinto, providing explanation of the spiritual tradition and practice and providing a collection of 22 prayers for use in personal meditation and devotions.

Order a coil bound version of Shinto Norito
Shinto Shrines: A Guide to the Sacred Sites of Japan’s Ancient Religion
By Joseph Cali

Latitude 20
Released: 2012-11-30
Paperback (328 pages)

Shinto Shrines: A Guide to the Sacred Sites of Japan’s Ancient Religion
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In recent years, there has been a significant surge in interest in spiritual matters, including a noticeable move toward Eastern religions such as Shintoism. Until now, however, there has been no resource in English providing extensive information about Shinto shrines for the many Westerners who travel to Japan to visit these sites.

With over 100 color photos, fifty black-and-white detailed illustrations, and maps, this handy guidebook showcases sixty-six major Shinto shrines, many of which are World Heritage Sites or National Treasures. In their opening section, the authors introduce both basic and fascinating aspects of this ancient religion, which remains intricately woven into the very fabric of Japanese culture. They discuss the history of Shintoism and its fundamental tenets; its relationship to Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and other Eastern belief systems; customs and rites; and types of festivals.

The Guide portion of the book is organized by region of the country. For each shrine, there is a comprehensive entry highlighting important spiritual features, physical features of the structure itself (architecture, design, and art), associated festivals, and enshrined gods. The authors also note the prayers offered, and the best times for travelers to visit. The comprehensive histories of each shrine, taken as a whole, provides a comprehensive look at Shinto and its connection to such aspects of Japanese culture as martial arts, samurai, pirates and poetry. An excellent jumping off point on a tour of Japan and its culture.
Shinto: The Way Home (Dimensions of Asian Spirituality)
By Thomas P. Kasulis

Brand: University of Hawaii Press
Released: 2004-08-31
Paperback (208 pages)

Shinto: The Way Home (Dimensions of Asian Spirituality)
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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.

Shinto: A celebration of Life
By Aidan Rankin

Obooks
Paperback (176 pages)

Shinto: A celebration of Life
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Shinto is an ancient faith of forests and snow-capped mountains. It sees the divine in rocks and streams, communing with spirit worlds through bamboo twigs and the evergreen sakaki tree. Yet it is also the manicured suburban garden and the blades of grass between cracks in city paving stones. Structured around ritual cleansing, Shinto contains no concept of sin. It reveres ancestors, but thinks little about the afterlife, asking us to live in, and improve, the present. Central to Shinto is Kannagara: intuitive acceptance of the divine power contained in all living things. Dai Shizen (Great Nature) is the life force with which we ally ourselves through spiritual practice and living simply. This is not asceticism, but an affirmation of all aspects of life. Musubi (organic growth) provides a model for reconciling ancient intuition with modern science, modern society with primal human needs. Shinto is an unbroken indigenous path that now reaches beyond its native Japan. It has special relevance to us a
Shinto: Origins, Rituals, Festivals, Spirits, Sacred Places
By C. Scott Littleton

Oxford University Press
Hardcover (112 pages)

Shinto: Origins, Rituals, Festivals, Spirits, Sacred Places
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In Japan, two religions predominate--Buddhism and Shintoism--and the Japanese people see no contradiction in practicing both: worshipping Buddha even as they revere the kami, the divine beings that populate the country and define the indigenous faith of Shintoism.
In Shintoism and the Religions of Japan, C. Scott Littleton illuminates this unusual spiritual pluralism and shows how it has fertilized a vast and varied religious landscape. Littleton describes the origins and development of Shinto (or Kami no Michi, "Way of the Gods"), the introduction of Buddhism a millennium and a half ago, the rise of various sects of Buddhism (some indigenous to Japan), and the role of the imperial court and the shogunate in the nation's religious life. Here too is a clear and succinct summary of Shintoism's teeming pantheon of spiritual figures, the holy writings of Shintoism, and the islands' landscape of holy sanctuaries. Littleton explains how Buddhism has been reinterpreted in light of Japan's indigenous traditions (some monumental statues of the Buddha are worshipped as manifestations of kami), and describes the "new religions" that flourished during the Meiji period of the late nineteenth century, after Japan once again opened up to the outside world. Writing with grace and clarity, he captures the essential features of Japanese religious life, including the countless local festivals and rituals, the importance of harmony and enlightenment, and concepts of death and salvation.
Lavishly illustrated with some thirty color photographs, sprinkled with boxed features that focus on fascinating issues, this volume offers a marvelous tour of Japan's distinctive spiritual experience.
A New History of Shinto
By John Breen

Wiley-Blackwell
Released: 2009-12-31
Paperback (280 pages)

A New History of Shinto
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This accessible guide to the development of Japan’sindigenous religion from ancient times to the present day offers anilluminating introduction to the myths, sites and rituals of kamiworship, and their role in Shinto’s enduring religiousidentity.
  • Offers a unique new approach to Shinto history that combinescritical analysis with original research
  • Examines key evolutionary moments in the long history ofShinto, including the Meiji Revolution of 1868, and provides thefirst critical history  in English or Japanese of the Hieshrine, one of the most important in all Japan
  • Traces the development of various shrines, myths, and ritualsthrough history as uniquely diverse phenomena, exploring how andwhen they merged into the modern notion of Shinto that exists inJapan today
  • Challenges the historic stereotype of Shinto as the unchanging,all-defining core of Japanese culture
Assembling Shinto: Buddhist Approaches to Kami Worship in Medieval Japan (Harvard East Asian Monographs)
By Anna Andreeva

Harvard University Asia Center
Hardcover (420 pages)

Assembling Shinto: Buddhist Approaches to Kami Worship in Medieval Japan (Harvard East Asian Monographs)
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During the late twelfth to fourteenth centuries, several precursors of what is now commonly known as Shinto came together for the first time. By focusing on Mt. Miwa in present-day Nara Prefecture and examining the worship of indigenous deities (kami) that emerged in its proximity, this book serves as a case study of the key stages of “assemblage” through which this formative process took shape. Previously unknown rituals, texts, and icons featuring kami, all of which were invented in medieval Japan under the strong influence of esoteric Buddhism, are evaluated using evidence from local and translocal ritual and pilgrimage networks, changing land ownership patterns, and a range of religious ideas and practices. These stages illuminate the medieval pedigree of Ryōbu Shintō (kami ritual worship based loosely on esoteric Buddhism’s Two Mandalas), a major precursor to modern Shinto.

In analyzing the key mechanisms for “assembling” medieval forms of kami worship, Andreeva challenges the twentieth-century master narrative of Shinto as an unbroken, monolithic tradition. By studying how and why groups of religious practitioners affiliated with different cultic sites and religious institutions responded to esoteric Buddhism’s teachings, this book demonstrates that kami worship in medieval Japan was a result of complex negotiations.



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