Shintō Priests

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The local Shintō priests came down from the mountain shrine and performed a few traditional songs for the kids at the local elementary school today. Notes hanging in the air, soul reaching out and grabbing them from the silence. All sorts of interesting sounds. Pretty amazing to see in person.

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Shintō is viewed here as “the religion of Japan.”  It is believed to be comprised of rituals and a spirituality tied with nature in Japan that stretches back for thousands of years. Religion in Japan is something very different from the ways most of you view religion in the west. It really has absolutely nothing to do with a code of beliefs or even a set of conduct for how one should live ones life, and is simply just a set of rituals and traditions that unify the community together under a common identity. You will never hear an argument over religious beliefs in Japan, as most people do not have any. Even less so any beliefs that are in conflict with what those around the, believe in.

Shintoō is seen as uniquely Japanese and as the ancient heart of the people. Most of shintō is actually not very ancient, however, and was fabricated during the Meiji period to create a stronger national image of what it means to be Japanese. Shintō has very much mingled and blended with the imported religion of Buddhism over the years, so much so that it is impossible to draw clear lines of separation between them in japan. Almost every ritual and ritual element I saw today had some sort of tie with Tibetan Buddhism.

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With enough tiny pieces of bamboo, you can make a horn that sounds like a Tibetan conch horn. Such mind cutting sound. Slices through silence like a doughy fog.

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Dance that seemed to be a Japanese rendition of a Tibetan “Lama Dance.” Eery movements to our eyes, it is believed that the dances is also dancing in another realm with ghosts and otherworldly beings.

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The transmission of tradition.

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