Religion: divinity's vision-call

[continued from previous issue]


Shinto is Japan’s living and fond religion. It is also Japan’s national religion. Its origin nobody knows. No individual was its founder.

Worship, worship! Whom to worship? Ancestors. What to worship? Nature. Ancestors were great; therefore they must needs be worshipped. Nature is powerful; therefore it deserves human worship.

The followers of Shinto do not believe in idle theory. They have implicit faith in practice. What they want and what they get is reality’s practicality.

Shinto tells the world that Japan’s Emperor is much more than a human being; he is an illumining deity. He is at once an earthly and a heavenly ruler. He is humanity’s realisation-height and divinity’s manifestation-depth. He embodies earth’s cherished treasure: heart-cry, and Heaven’s cherished treasure: soul-smile.

What does Shinto want from a Shintoist? A clean life. What else? A pure heart. No body’s cleanliness means no divinity. No heart’s purity means no Immortality.

Shinto tells its votaries: serve, you will become. What will you become? Nation-soul, truth-illumination and oneness-perfection.

Shinto means the supernal way, the way that leads, the way that embodies, the way that is. It leads the Shintoist to the effulgence of the Light- world. It embodies the beauty of service-delight. It is a supreme recognition of divinity in humanity.

Buddhism came in. Shintoism vehemently protested. Buddhism was wise. It said to Shintoism: “All right, I shall not find fault with your ancestral worship. You follow your ancient faith, but what I am going to offer you is also of great importance. You will soon realise it. You will appreciate my heart of purity and wisdom before long.”

Shintoism said: “How strange! Yesterday I took you for my worst foe. Today I feel that you are my true friend. Let us live together.”

But unfortunately the two friends failed to live together peacefully, and they started fighting again. Buddhism won the fight. The victory of Buddhism over Shintoism lasted for some time. But the fight began again, and this time Shintoism won the victory; indeed, a decisive triumph.