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TOP  >  What is Shinto?  >  4-g. On Afterdeath
Jinja Shinto (Shrine Shinto)

On Afterdeath

According to the Shinto faith, a human spirit is believed to remain forever like the spirit of Kami does. The spirit, however, is not conceived as a substantial existence. It is believed because of its work, and the places where the spirit dwells are often mentioned as the other world in the classics such as Kojiki (The Ancient Matters), Nihonshoki (the Chronicles of Japan), Manyoshu (Anthology of Poems), etc. In each other world, there live Kami. The most well known other world is 'the other world of Heaven' where the most venerable deities live, and then it comes to 'the other world of Yomi' where divine female parent who gave birth to the land of Japan live. This world is long considered to be underground, and it is believed to have the connection with the habit of burial of the dead. (But nowadays it is regarded that there is no academic base for this). The third other world is called 'Tokoyo; which is believed to exist somewhere beyond the sea. According to the folk faith which originates in agricultural culture, there is a belief of 'the other world in the mountains'. This faith has the connection with a fact that grave yards were on a hill which has a panoramic view over a village and also a fact that people often expressed their wish to watch their descendants even after their death. These other worlds, however, are not described a utopia nor as a hell. There is no difference at all from this world. It reflects a faith in the spirit of the dead who can visit this world if people make a ritual to revere the spirit, like the divine spirits visits this world whenever people show their reverence holding festivals. There is also a faith in that Kami and ancestral spirits protect their descendants as far as the descendants continue to hold festivals. It can be said that Shinto is not a religion which centralized its interests in the life after death, but in this world.

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神社と神道

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