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The Japanese religions including Shintosim and Buddhism are rich and complex and it contains many condradictory trends which may puzzle a Westerner In the center of the tradition is Shinto the natural religion of Japan Also in the center is Buddhism the Indian religion that was brought to Japan in the sixth century from Korea and China Throughout the history of Japan it has been these two religions that have contributed most to the Japanese understanding of themselves and their surroundings and also to many important events Shinto meaning the way of the gods is the indigenous faith of the Japanese people It began around 2500-3000 years ago It has thirteen sects each with a different founder It has many scriptures including Kokiji The Record of Ancient Things Nikong Chronicles of Japan Yengishiki Institutes of the Yengi Period and the Collections of 10000 Leaves It has about 30 million adherents but most are also Buddhists But none of the scriptures are sacred as are the Sutras or the Bible The kami are the objects of worship in Shinto They are sacred spirits and they can take various forms such as natural elements like the sun mountains trees rocks and the wind or abstract things like fertility but also anscestors national heroes and protectors of family clans The Japanese adherence to Shinto is not surprising because various physical forces are often at work on the archipelago This shows the peoples early connection to nature There are many typhoons tsunami volcanoes and earthquakes that the Japanese worship as the unseen forces of nature that rule their lives Originally Shintoists would only worship the Kami in nature but now the Kami are worshipped in shrines Shintoists got the idea to use the shrines from the Buddhists These shrines are usually simple buildings surrounded by trees Here is an example of one Before they would arrive at the shrines the Shintoists would purify themselves by washing their
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