Can I mix Nichiren with Shinto? Isn't mixing practices bad?

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Queequeg
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Re: Can I mix Nichiren with Shinto? Isn't mixing practices bad?

Post by Queequeg » Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:04 pm

Yavana wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 3:32 am
Does a Westerner have to become a naturalized Japanese citizen in order to convert to Shinto?
This is what I'm trying to tell you... its not a religion like that. There are cults (in the neutral, academic sense of the word) and worship groups you can join, and depending on who they are, foreigners will or will not be welcome. Many will actively invite you, as a foreigner in (many are probably hurting for new blood; old people looking for someone to pass this stuff on to). They might even let you become a priest. There are some shrines that it makes absolutely no sense that a foreigner would want to have anything to do with. They might let you get married there and bless your marriage - this is how shrines make money and keep up their ancient buildings. But if you understand who that kami is, and the meaning and significance the kami has, it would be very very strange for a foreigner to patronize that kami.

Like I said, most people don't think that hard about any of this one way or the other. The context of this thread is how it fits in Nichiren buddhism. In this context, all that stuff matters and matters very deeply.

There is a system of imperial and other grand shrines - these are some of the biggest and most famous shrines that have to do with the imperial family, creation myths, and special identity with the Japanese people. These are the shrines that use the term Shinto for what they are. Shinto has also come to refer to the general sensibility, beliefs, and rituals, but this is a relatively modern phenomena. There wasn't a background to distinguish "Shinto". Its just the mountain. Its just the waterfall. Its just the reverence and rites of worship that are carried out to please and supplicate them.

Next time you are out and about, if you come across a big, old, remarkable tree, or a remarkably shaped or positioned boulder, a kami probably resides in it. Go up to the tree or rock with a mind of reverence, bow to the tree twice, clap twice, bow again, and be on your way. You've just practiced "Shinto".
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Queequeg
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Re: Can I mix Nichiren with Shinto? Isn't mixing practices bad?

Post by Queequeg » Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:39 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:04 pm
Yavana wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 3:32 am
Does a Westerner have to become a naturalized Japanese citizen in order to convert to Shinto?
This is what I'm trying to tell you... its not a religion like that. There are cults (in the neutral, academic sense of the word) and worship groups you can join, and depending on who they are, foreigners will or will not be welcome. Many will actively invite you, as a foreigner in (many are probably hurting for new blood; old people looking for someone to pass this stuff on to). They might even let you become a priest. There are some shrines that it makes absolutely no sense that a foreigner would want to have anything to do with. They might let you get married there and bless your marriage - this is how shrines make money and keep up their ancient buildings. But if you understand who that kami is, and the meaning and significance the kami has, it would be very very strange for a foreigner to patronize that kami.

Like I said, most people don't think that hard about any of this one way or the other. The context of this thread is how it fits in Nichiren buddhism. In this context, all that stuff matters and matters very deeply.

There is a system of imperial and other grand shrines - these are some of the biggest and most famous shrines that have to do with the imperial family, creation myths, and special identity with the Japanese people. These are the shrines that use the term Shinto for what they are. Shinto has also come to refer to the general sensibility, beliefs, and rituals, but this is a relatively modern phenomena. There wasn't a background to distinguish "Shinto". Its just the mountain. Its just the waterfall. Its just the reverence and rites of worship that are carried out to please and supplicate them.

Next time you are out and about, if you come across a big, old, remarkable tree, or a remarkably shaped or positioned boulder, a kami probably resides in it. Go up to the tree or rock with a mind of reverence, bow to the tree twice, clap twice, bow again, and be on your way. You've just practiced "Shinto".
I'm just thinking about how shrines are experienced in Japan.

As Westerners, I don't think with the overbearing monotheistic sensibility that we're inculcated with, we can really understand how an animistic sensibility like you find in Japan is lived. The only other place I've been that can compare is India.

Shrines are everywhere in Japan. I used to live in an area called Ebisu and in a neighborhood I used to go out at night, there was a little shrine, well kept and always lit up. The footprint was probably 30 m square. People passing on their way might quickly stop to pay their respects and go on. I don't think there was any consciousness "I'm practicing Shinto." They were just paying their respect to the kami who resides there. It just a matter of fact - the kami is there and must be acknowledged... the same way that in the old days, before all this digital media and you have to text before you call someone, if you were passing a friend's house, you might just stop by and knock on the door to say hi. The relationship with most local kami is familial and close that way for the people who live there.

Buddhism in Japan coexists with that sensibility because for the most part they don't need to interfere with each other. From a Nichiren perspective, though, if you prioritize a kami over the Buddha, that is a big mistake - amounting to adoption of a wrong view. Some forms of kami reverence actively reject Buddhism as a foreign pollution. This animated the Shinto that rose during the Meiji period and manifested as persecution of Buddhism.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Can I mix Nichiren with Shinto? Isn't mixing practices bad?

Post by Caoimhghín » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:34 am

Queequeg wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:55 pm
Coëmgenu wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:12 pm
Korean shamanism is like extroverted Shinto. Less slow moving in a circle and with a more intense drum beat. Less stately and more rowdy.

In fact, certain traditional Chinese religious currents are called "shendao", which I believe is the same word as Shinto, illustrating a religious sprachbund in East Asian animism and shamanism.
Its dying out now, but Japanese Shamanism is/was pretty rowdy. Very different than the formal stuff you find at major shrines.
The country preserves the memories that the city forgets.

歸命本覺心法身常住妙法心蓮臺本來莊嚴三身徳三十七尊住心
城遠離因果法然具普門塵數諸三昧無邊徳海本圓滿還我頂禮心諸佛

In reverence for the root gnosis of the heart, the dharmakāya,
for the ever present good law of the heart, the lotus terrace,
for the inborn adornment of the trikāya, the thirty-seven sages dwelling in the heart,
for that which is removed from seed and fruit, the upright key to the universal gate,
for all boundless concentrations, the sea of virtue, the root perfection,
I prostrate, bowing to the hearts of all Buddhas.

胎藏金剛菩提心義略問答鈔, Treatise on the teaching of the gnostic heart of the womb and the diamond, T2397.1.470c5-8

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Queequeg
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Re: Can I mix Nichiren with Shinto? Isn't mixing practices bad?

Post by Queequeg » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:33 pm

Yes, but what I'm talking about is different than that. Check out Carmen Blacker.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

hopefullotus
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Re: Can I mix Nichiren with Shinto? Isn't mixing practices bad?

Post by hopefullotus » Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:48 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Thu Jan 31, 2019 6:50 pm
Nyedrag Yeshe wrote:
Thu Jan 31, 2019 3:31 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:55 pm
The word "Shinto" as you point out has been around, but it didn't take on the meaning generally ascribed to it now until the Meiji period. Before that, Buddhism and kami worship were closely and almost seamlessly mixed. When they started using "Shinto" it was part of their deliberate effort to distinguish what was thought to be intrinsically Japanese compared to the foreign polluting influence of Buddhism.

If you understand what that word Shinto generally means NOW, post Meiji, its hard to reconcile it with Buddhist syncretism. Shinto stands for a deliberate rejection of syncretism, and Buddhism in particular.
As I said, Shinto teachings based on nativist beliefs is much older than the actual Meiji and post-meiji Shinto . It began taking shape in Medieval Times, by the 15th centy it was already fairly codified and using the word "shinto"
for self-referral!
http://eos.kokugakuin.ac.jp/modules/xwo ... ntryID=372
Friend, I don't know what your real life experience with Shinto is. At this time in Japan, Shinto is very much tied up with Japanese right wing nationalism. Please go to Ise and explain to the priests there how it is perfectly natural for non-Japanese to be able to participate in Shinto. Explain to them how Amaterasu is a guardian of the Lotus Sutra. You will be met with vehement denials. How do I know this? Because I personally know scholars who, with nothing but scholarly curiosity and earnestness have been ambushed and hounded out of conferences by so called Shinto Scholars for discussing the long intertwined history of temples and shrines. I know scholars who have been black listed because they dared to research and write about the deep connections and affiliation between shrines and temples throughout Japan's recorded history.

When we talk about Shinto, we are very much talking about politics and national identity in Japan. It doesn't matter what that word may have meant in the past. Right now, Shinto means Japanese nationalism.

As I stated in my first post - there is that phenomena, which is identified by its proponents as "Shinto", and the the broader, organic animism that I described as Kami Reverence. This is not a "religion" in the sense of having rites of initiation, though there are, under the umbrella of Kami Reverence various cults. Rather, its a sensibility that life permeates everywhere and in everything, and that it is all to be respected and revered. If you don't have an organic experience in it, its hard to understand.

Its a sensibility that each tree has a spirit. That each rock has a spirit. That an umbrella has a spirit. The computer through which we interact, and all those miles of fiber optic cable and satellites - all are animated with kami. These things are as alive as we are, and deserving of acknowledgment and respect.

If you want to include all that in the term "shinto" that's fine. I'm going to point out how that is a problematic use of the term.

That's all.
Nyedrag Yeshe wrote:
Thu Jan 31, 2019 3:23 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:55 pm
I am well aware of the place of kami in Nichiren Buddhism. I also know that kami are protectors. They are not Buddha. Very big mistake to confuse those two functions.

Like I said, people can do what they want. Chanting daimoku to kami does not fit in Nichiren's teachings.
Why? And can you elaborate please?
南無妙法蓮華経 - namu myoho renge kyo - "I declare refuge/reverence/devotion to the Sublime Dharma of the White Lotus Teaching"

Chanting Daimoku to a kami literally makes no sense.
Out of curiosity, Q, even though this is not about shinto, what about chanting daimoku to a statue of a buddha? I did so recently, seeing the oldest wooden buddha statue at an art museum. I did just 3 daimoku. Since the buddha is the buddha... would this be ok in Nichiren's eyes? Since it would not be confusing protectors for the buddha?

I also think, people should do what they want. If they want to follow Nichiren strictly then maybe they wouldn't chant daimoku to kami BUT I also don't think anyone needs to follow anyone strictly; I don't follow/believe 100% of what Nichiren says - but I try to ingrain his teachings by framing them in my own life and in the situation/capacity of the people around me.

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Re: Can I mix Nichiren with Shinto? Isn't mixing practices bad?

Post by Queequeg » Fri Feb 15, 2019 4:37 pm

hopefullotus wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:48 pm
Out of curiosity, Q, even though this is not about shinto, what about chanting daimoku to a statue of a buddha? I did so recently, seeing the oldest wooden buddha statue at an art museum. I did just 3 daimoku. Since the buddha is the buddha... would this be ok in Nichiren's eyes? Since it would not be confusing protectors for the buddha?

I also think, people should do what they want. If they want to follow Nichiren strictly then maybe they wouldn't chant daimoku to kami BUT I also don't think anyone needs to follow anyone strictly; I don't follow/believe 100% of what Nichiren says - but I try to ingrain his teachings by framing them in my own life and in the situation/capacity of the people around me.
Of course, people can do what they want. But as the saying goes, if you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there.

Nichiren was specific about the Sandaihiho - Three Great Secret Laws. They are, the Gohonzon, Kaidan, and Daimoku.

The Gohonzon is the Buddha and the Assembly at Mr. Grdhakuta described in the Essential Section of the Lotus Sutra, and specifically, its the moment of transmission of the Saddharma to the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. The Kaidan is the seat where the transmission is received. The Daimoku is the teaching that is transmitted.

If you wish to attain enlightenment, then you must receive the transmission of the Lotus Sutra from the Buddha.

When you chant to a Buddha statue, is this what you are participating in? If not, then you are practicing some other teaching.

That's the teaching. Up to people to carry it out.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Can I mix Nichiren with Shinto? Isn't mixing practices bad?

Post by narhwal90 » Fri Feb 15, 2019 5:22 pm

IIRC, but please correct me if I'm mistaken, but Nichiren did countenance statues as the object of devotion, which was part of the basis of the disagreement between Niko and Nikko.

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Queequeg
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Re: Can I mix Nichiren with Shinto? Isn't mixing practices bad?

Post by Queequeg » Fri Feb 15, 2019 5:23 pm

Tiantai described different types of lotuses. There is the authentic Lotus, which is not a flowering plant, but the Sublime Dharma itself. The flowering plant was called the Lotus because the way it flowers and fruits at the same time metaphorically demonstrates the nature of the Sublime Dharma.

The Buddha puts on all kinds of displays, contrives situations in which he can, through various means, cause beings to see and understand the Sublime Dharma. We provisionally enter these stories, internalize these stories and metaphors which has the effect of giving particular form to our minds which resemble the Buddha's enlightened view.

We are like the Lotus plant that grows from the muck of the swamp, up out of the water, and flower - unstained by the mud. Then the flower petals drop away revealing only the fruit, which in turn falls into the water and gives rise to other lotuses, until the whole pond is filled with lotuses.

These stories of transmission are both stories and true. Practice is about entering these stories and finding the Truth in them.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Queequeg
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Re: Can I mix Nichiren with Shinto? Isn't mixing practices bad?

Post by Queequeg » Fri Feb 15, 2019 5:30 pm

narhwal90 wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 5:22 pm
IIRC, but please correct me if I'm mistaken, but Nichiren did countenance statues as the object of devotion, which was part of the basis of the disagreement between Niko and Nikko.
That disagreement was because it was not clear that statue was the Eternal Shakyamuni and also Niko was accommodating the steward of the area who was patronizing Pure Land practitioners. Nikko was admonishing the steward that such patronage was incompatible with Nichiren's teachings. See Rissho Ankoku Ron for the basis of Nikko's admonishment. That disagreement about the statue was not about a statue, really. It was about the nature of Nichiren's teaching, about how one should view the Provisional and Essential, the Theoretical and the Actual. Its true the Fuji schools do not have anthropomorphic images of the Buddha as honzon. My understanding based on conversations with a priest in the Omosu lineage is that this is because statues can give rise to confusion among people who do not understand the underlying teachings. Better to just avoid that problem than trying to correct each person's mistaken views.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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