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Response to yuiyoshida (Reply #25)

Mon Oct 14, 2013, 02:05 AM

27. Got it...

The Shintō pantheon of kami 神 (spirits) includes countless deities and innumerable supernatural creatures. The term KAMI can refer to gods, goddesses, ancestors, and all variety of spirits that inhabit the water, rocks, trees, grass, and other natural objects. These objects are not symbols of the spirits. Rather, they are the abodes in which the spirits reside. The abode of the kami is considered sacred and is usually encircled with a shimenawa (rope festooned with sacred white paper). The Japanese believe this world is inhabited by these myriad kami -- spirits that can do either good or evil. These spirits are constantly increasing in number, as expressed in the Japanese phrase Yaoyorozu no Kami 八百万神 -- literally "the eight million kami."

Kami are not necessarily benevolent. There are numerous Shintō spirits and demons that must be appeased to avoid calamity, but there is no absolute dichotomy between good and evil. All phenomena manifest "rough" and "gentle" characteristics. The noted Japanese scholar Motoori Norinaga 本居宣長1730-1801) defined kami as anything that was "superlatively awe-inspiring," either noble or base, good or evil, rough or gentle, strong or weak, lofty or submerged. There is no definitive standard of good and evil, there is no moral code. Things are as they are. Even the evil bloodsucking Kappa has some redeeming qualities -- i.e., when benevolent, the Kappa is a skilled teacher in the art of bone setting and other medical practices.



http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/shinto-deities.html



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