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Shinto Way of life

1) From Linear Mode to Cyclical Mode:

Modern society has been established on the belief that all creation, the earth itself and all shinto way of life.JPGliving creatures progress in a straight line, centered on the human race. Modern science has led to an increase in the rate of progress. Humans have allowed themselves to consume more and more natural resources in order to achieve the continued development of the human race.

When we think of reality, however, we can not say that such a linear view can support life in the 21st century. If we continue to consume resources at the present rate, we shall reach crisis point. The only way to avert this danger is to change our way of thinking from a linear mode to a cyclical mode.

Presently Japan is no exception to the rule of modern nations following the linear mode, but looking back at the Japanese traditional way of life, we can see it followed a cyclical mode. People had the view that all phenomena were cyclical in the way that day follows night, and the seasons rotate, and life follows death, it was even evident in the cycle of the soul. It might be advantageous, in this present age, to hold the same view and accept the ‘repetitiveness’ or eternally cyclical nature of all creation.

2) The Pace of the Modern Life

21st century life moves so fast. People in ancient times used to live at the pace of the universe. Was it not Ortega who said that “when a civilization becomes too peripheral and confused, we have to come back to primitive simplicity in order to re-start our life from there.” In this sense, it might be good to re-think about the pace of our life.

3) Spirit of Harmony

There is a spirit of harmony based on the Japanese way of thinking. The 17 Article Constitution of Prince Shôtoku (the first written Japanese constitution of 604) starts with an article which holds that “Harmony (or Wa in Japanese) is to be most respected.”
There is a saying “Regard the unknown as your enemy.” But, in general, Japanese still prefer to have amicable relationships with others. This is a very important attitude if co-existence and mutual profit are to be realized.

4) From the World of Competition to the World of Cooperation

We have reached a stage where we must ask ourselves, “Can we bypass cooperation, and still overcome violence and competition?”
We need a world of cooperation to replace that of competition.

5) From Control of Nature to Respect for Nature

There is a view that humans are not part of nature, but beyond nature. According to the traditional way of Shinto thinking, however, humans are not regarded as the lords of creation, but constitutive of it, all creation being inter-dependent.
We lose much when we follow human egoism. It is important to overcome that egoism, and to believe that human survival depends on the embrace of nature. Human desire is without limit. Spiritual satisfaction should be the basis of all human life.

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