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Sima Qian
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 7:09 am    Post subject: The "Strange Case" of Watarai Shinto - Defining a Reply with quote
In the year 1296, a great legal dispute between the Inner and Outer Shrines of Ise over the matter of adding "imperial" to a shrine's title, brought to light a previously unknown sophisticated theology of the Outer Shrine - something now defined as "Watarai Shinto," after the family that were the hereditary heirs of the Outer Shrine.

Apparently they had elevated the traditional god of the shrine, Toyouke, with a new identity that made him the equal of the sun goddess Amaterasu. Toyouke was no longer the servant of Ninigi, the imperial grandson of the first divine emperor, but declared their deity to be Ame no Minakanushi or Kuni no Tokotachi - an imperial ancestor, partner to the sun goddess, and essentially the #1 god of the pantheon as he was the "universal Great God of the Origin of all Existence."

Naturally, the priests of the Inner Shrine were shocked and appalled by these claims. Shocked

The "validation" for all of this apparently came from a number of Secret Books (Jingu Hiki), that were supposedly "the most ancient writings of the Shrines and the unequaled mysteries of the imperial house." They were ascribed to the forefathers of the Watarai clan of the 5th and 6th centuries, making the equally shocking claim that they were older than:

Shotoku Taishi's Sendai Kuji Hongi
The Kojiki (712)
The Nihon Shoki (720)

[Modern scholarship dates the oldest of these Secret Books, the Hoki Hongi, to around 1266 and the rest of them between the years of 1264-1288.]

I was wondering if anyone could shed a little more light on this matter? The references i see to Watarai Shinto seems to place it into opposition with the syncretist Ryobu Shinto, with its incorporation of Shingon and Tendai buddhist concepts, that dominated before the "revelation" of Watarai.

Lacking any knowledge of what Shinto was like prior to the coming of Buddhism to Japan, i have to wonder - could this be the very first explication of Shinto thought that "loosens" its ties to Buddhism?

Ex - Konton(chaos) and Kizen (non-being) are now considered to be the basic kami of the universe and regarded as the basis for all beings - Buddhas and Bodhisattvas included. (I have no idea how this squares away with the previous "Great God" statement).

Watarai Shinto even seems to have served as a source of legitimation for those who brought about the Shinbutsu Bunri "separation of Kami and Buddhas" in the 19th century. Although they might have just been "reading back" their nationalist tendencies onto Watarai theology.

Thoughts? Comments?
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JLBadgley
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Where are you finding this? It is some pretty neat stuff.

I can completely see where the Outer Shrine would raise its own profile, and how there could be conflicting traditions (again, look at the Nihongi, which really seems to draw on many different stories to compile the history).

Another thing to consider is how authoritative the Jingikan was during this period. I imagine that it started out as a strong centralized institution when it was set up, but likely other shrines did not maintain orthodoxy as the court began to turn inward. It seems similar to the way the provinces themselves began to fall more into the hands of local administrators as the provincial governors turned their attention inward.

However, I don't necessarily see where you are implying that this is the "first explication of Shinto thought that 'loosens' its ties to Buddhism." There had been conflict since the 6th century. I think this may have been an expression thereof, but I don't think it was the first.

Also, considering that the various shrines appear to have, early on, been centers of temporal as well as spiritual power for various families and clans, I don't find the claim all that remarkable in and of itself, though its late date of assertion is definitely of interest.

-Josh
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Sima Qian
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Hi JL,

Actually this was a friend of mine who answered and inquiry regarding the relationship between Shintoism and Buddhism. I think he took it from a volume entitled: "Watarai Shinto: An Intellectual History of the Outer Shrine in Ise."

Quote:
However, I don't necessarily see where you are implying that this is the "first explication of Shinto thought that 'loosens' its ties to Buddhism." There had been conflict since the 6th century. I think this may have been an expression thereof, but I don't think it was the first.


I definitely mangled that one. I was under the impression that this was the first "Shinto theological answer" to Buddhism, although apparently nationalist in the 19th century did eventually construe it as such.

Let me post the extracts i received - and tell us what you think! (And folks, don't let us have all the fun, join in!)

3 of the Secret Books speak of some sort of communication between someone from the royal household and Amaterasu and Toyouke.

The Three accounts are as follows.

From the Hoki Hongi

Quote:
Man is divine under Heaven. He must rain tranquility. The mind is the lord of the divine. Do not damage your mind-god (shin shin?). In performing divination you must give priority to prayer; to obtain protection you must make uprightness the basis. Everyone who relies on the vow will attain the Great Way, according to which the world is orderly and the sun and moon are bright. Wind and rain follow the seasons, the land is abundant, and the people are peaceful. A man of the gods (a priest) therefore preserves the original state of chaos and covers his breathe concerning Buddhism. He places the gods on an altar and reveres and worships them. He reposes in his mind of non-duality, and in this way he prays for the court. Thanks to him, Heaven and Earth are eternally in accord with the transformations of the dragon's image, the sun and the moon are eternally in accord with the calender of the phoenix. The world is peaceful and the people are affluent.


A further extract goes on

Quote:
In the Age of the Gods, the minds of men were sacred and firm, upright and correct; but now people of all lands under heaven, the latter descendants of the earthly gods, have darkened their mind-gods. Since man has distinguished between the names of being and non-being, he makes his mind run and knows no rest. The warehouse containing his mind is damaged and the god has disintegrated. When the god disintegrates, the body will perish. Man has received the spiritual essence of heaven and earth, but does not acknowledge the augustness of its workings, he depends upon the gods, but does not observe their taboos. Thus he roams in the netherworld, immersed in the eternal darkness of life and death.

The "True Man of the West" has therefore gone through great hardship, and, on behalf of the Imperial Gods, has given us his teaching and taught us to do good. Since he mankind in the law according to potentiality, the Great God has returned to his original residence and ceased to convey oracles.


The other two books, the Yamato-hime no Mikoto Seiki and the Gochinza Denki have much shorter reconfigurations of the above speech. Same schtick - man is divine, mind god must be preserved, act upright and..

"cover your breath concerning Buddhism."

The Yamato-hime's extract refers to the "transformation of the Five Elements" - definitely borrowed from Chinese cosmological theory.

I also found out there's a very old taboo against the use of Buddhist words in the Engishiki. He is also never to be mentioned by name, given the designation "The True Man of the West."

Any thoughts?
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JLBadgley
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
IIRC, there were, throughout the Heian period, restrictions against priests of Shinto or Buddhism practicing the rites of one another. I want to say there is a specific injunction against the Kamo and Ise shrine maidens practicing Buddhism (at least overtly). This was 'okay' because, at least according to Buddhism, they would be reborn in the next life and have a chance to attain enlightenment then. Or at least I think that was the justification given.

Unfortunately, the source is jumbled amongst several diaries, histories, etc. but there definitely were restrictions in place in mixing the two religions from an administrative point of view.

I do find it interesting, however, that the same speeches that are preaching against Shinto priests talking about Buddhism are mentioned the 'Great Way' (I assume that is either 'Do/Tao', 'Taido/Datao', or something similar?), which is very much a Chinese cosmological model. Likewise the dragon and the phoenix are both symbollically Chinese (and I think they are used in the standard imperial pairing here, rather than the directional Seiryu and Suzaku). Finally, the concept of upright living contributing to a harmonious universe smacks of Confucian thought.

Just some considerations in all of this, and a little more thought: Buddhism probably conflicted because it offered a new 'god' (Buddha, as well as the host of boddhisatvas, apsaras, and Sino-Indian pantheon) and a new political administration ('Shinto' priests could learn and incorporate Taoism and Confucianism, since it didn't really deny the gods from whom the clans descended and from whom they gained authority--plus, the priests could take that authority on themselves. Buddhist ordination required a separate structure, however, creating a separate political entity).

However, it is also of interest that Kasuga Grand Shrine and Kofuku Temple (iirc) were once under joint administration, and it wasn't until later periods (Edo or Meiji?) when they were fully divorced.

-Josh
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