Religions of Japan

What are the religious beliefs of the Japanese people? How do these beliefs influence their daily lives? The two major religions in Japan today are Shinto and Buddhism. The symbol of Shinto is the Torii Gate. Almost everyone near Concord has seen statues of the seated, meditating Buddha.

The information in these pages comes from the book "Religions of the World" by Lewis M. Hopfe.

Shinto encompasses many different beliefs and practices, but is the religion most associated with Japanese patriotism. Its mythology describes the formation of Japan, its shrines commemorate Japan's great heroes. Shinto encourages the Japanese to appreciate the beauty of their land, and to remember their ancestors. The derivation of the word Shinto means "Way of the Gods"

Buddhism began in India in the sixth century B.C. Its founder was a man named Siddhartha. Its followers attempt to extinguish the cravings and desires of the human body, and achieve Nirvana when they are released from the bounds of their desires.

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