Zen Buddhism. began in China and flourished (grew) in Japan. Much of Zen practice has to do with sitting silently, contemplating objects and events in nature. Zen strives for simplicity and truth2. Zen Buddhist lived by a strict schedule.
Handout 2: ZEN BUDDHISM/SHINTOISM
Active Reading Marks: (you are required to use each active reading mark at least 2 times on each handout.)
= main idea of a reading , underline the main idea then draw a triangle next to it
= I have a question about this topic, (also include the question on the handout)
= this was interesting
= I didn’t understand this word, (you can put this mark over the word like this monsoon )
Zen Buddhism began in China and flourished (grew) in Japan. Much of Zen practice has to do with sitting silently, contemplating objects and events in nature. Zen strives for simplicity and truth2. Zen Buddhist lived by a strict schedule. Zen monks in their monasteries slept little, only as a matter of fact if you were a Zen monk you would only get 4-6 hours of sleep a night. As a Zen monk you would also have to meditate like that (guy, or girl (. You would have to remain motionless, and go into deep thought, if you fell asleep a Zen master or master’s assistant would whack you with a stick. The goal of this meditation would be to reach enlightenment. Zen was hard, but to those who experienced the flash of enlightenment came inner peace.
Do you have what it takes to become a Zen Buddhist? _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ __
What type values should a follower of Zen Buddhism have? _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ __
2. Shinto What does Shinto mean? What do its followers believe? Shinto “means the way of the gods.” Shinto is an Ancient religion of Japan. It started at least as long ago as 1000 B.C.E. but is still practiced today by at least five million people. The followers of the Shinto believe that spiritual powers exist in the natural world. They believe that "spirits" called Kami live in natural places such as in animals, plants, stones, mountains, rivers, people and even the dead. Shinto teaches the importance of personal cleanliness and the sense of guilt if one has embarrassed their family. The mythology of Shintoism teaches that Japan and the Japanese people were brought into being by special divine creation and that their emperors were literally descendants of the Sun Goddess. In Japan a person may in good conscience be a Buddhist, a Confucian, and a member of a Shinto sect at the same time.
Shinto Proverbs: a. Even the wishes of an ant reach heaven b. Even in one leaf of a tree, the heavenly spirit presents itself c. Be charitable to all beings love is representative of God. d. Do not be sluggish in your work e. Do not become angry even though others become angry.
Do you have what it takes to be a Shinto? _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ __
Using the reading and quotes, What type values should a follower of Shinto have? _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ __
Key words: a. Kami= sacred spirits that are worshiped in the Shinto religion of Japan.
b. Torri gate, the symbol of a Shinto shrine is its gate. The Torri gates are a symbol that shows the separation of the everyday world and the spirit world.
Discussion between a Zen Buddhist and Shinto follower:
Zen Monk: “Hello and welcome, stranger. What brings you to our monastery garden?” asked the Buddhist monk of the Shinto priest.
Shinto Priest: “ I have come here hoping to learn about and understand your Buddhist beliefs,” replied the priest.
Zen Monk: “That may be very difficult. Our Buddhist religious beliefs are vastly different from those of you Shintoists.”
Shinto Priest: “Of course they’re different.” But that doesn’t mean that we can’t exchange ideas and learn from each other.”
Zen Monk: “Very well” “Guatama, the Buddha, founded our religioun in India many centuries ago. He taught us how to behave properly and how to live our lives. Who started Shinto? What great man or woman do you look up to?”
Shinto Priest: “No one person organized Shinto. Many people who lived a long time ago were responsible for our beliefs.”
Zen Monk: “Perhaps you Shintoists can get along without a great founder. But who are you gods? What do you believe in? What is your code of conduct? What do you want in this life and the afterlife?
Shinto Priest: “Our gods are in the objects we worship: the sun, the moon, the stars. We love them, we fear them, and we pray to them.”
Zen Monk: “I don’t understand you or your gods. How can you worship a stone, a bird, or a thunderbolt?”
Shinto Priest: “We worship an object in nature because a sacred spirit lives within it. This spirit is called the kami. It does not matter whether the thing is an animal, a tree, or a mountain. We admire and respect it because it is large, or mysterious, or strange. And, best of all, we treat the moon, or the mountain, or the stream as a living person.”
Zen Monk: “I am trying to understand” “ But we deny that anything mystical or supernatural exists. We don’t worship a great many gods, as do the Hindu people. And, as for the natural world, to us trees and hills are simply trees and hills. They do not contain spirits. And surely they are not gods!”
Shinto Priest: Can’t you see that we are standing in a beautiful garden? Can’t you look at a leaf or a flower and see that it is a thing to be admired, respected, and even loved? We think that everything in nature has beauty and deserves to be worshiped!”
Zen Monk: “ I think I am beginning to understand what you are telling me” “You Shintoists will help us understand and admire the world around us.”
Shinto Priest: “Yes, and you Buddhists will help us separate right from wrong, and show us how to become better persons in our world around us.”
Zen Monk: “The world is a large place. Perhaps there is enough room in it for both Buddhism and Shinto.”
Why do Shintoists worship objects in nature? _______________________________________________________________________ _________________________
How does Buddhism differ from Shintoism? _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ __
What have you learned about the relationship of Buddhism and Shintoism in Japan? _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ __ ----------------------- ?