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Difference Between Shinto and Buddhism

shinto_vs_buddhism_sShinto vs Buddhism

Shinto or kami-no-michi (the original traditional term) is the natural spiritual cult of Japan extensively followed by the Japanese people. Shinto or literally meaning the way of the Gods was originally adopted from the ancient Chinese inscriptions. The very word Shinto is the combination of the two terms, “shin” or ‘shen’ meaning gods or spirits and “tō” or “do” denoting an idealistic path of study or path of existence. On the other hand, Buddhism is a tradition envisaged as the ultimate path of salvation which is to be achieved through an imminent approach into the absolute nature of reality and existence.

Shinto essentially integrates the various religious practices consequent of the diverse regional and local prehistoric traditions that were practiced in ancient Japan. On the other hand Buddhism takes within its purview many diverse traditions, religious practices and spiritual beliefs which are majorly based on the teachings of the Siddhartha Gautama Buddha.

Shinto is a unique religion where the ritual practices, actions and rites are a lot more significant than the words or preaching. On the other hand, Buddhism is a religion that does not recognize many religious rites or practices. It primarily focuses on the relation and study of the words and philosophies of the Buddha and the paths of existence as showed by him.

Shinto exemplifies the worship of the abstract forces of nature, the ancestors, nature, polytheism, and animism. The central focus remains on ritual purity which revolves around the honoring and celebration of the existence of Kami which is the ultimate spirit of essence. In a differing way, the foundation of Buddhism lies on the performing of altruism and following the paths of ethical conduct. Some of the common practices of Buddhism are cultivation of wisdom through meditation and renunciation, invocating the bodhisattvas and studying the scriptures.

Buddhism has two main branches termed as Mahayana and Theravada. Mahayana includes the traditions of Pure Land, Nichiren Buddhism, Zen, Shingon, Tibetan Buddhism, Shinnyo-en and Tendai whereas Theravada centers on the thoughts from the earliest surviving School of Elders. But Shinto has no branches and exists as one single institution of ancient Japanese religion.

Summary:

1. Shinto is an ancient religion from Japan whereas Buddhism is a tradition envisaged in India by Siddhartha Gautama.
2. Shinto originated from ancient Chinese inscriptions, whereas Buddhism has its inception in the thoughts and teachings of Gautama Buddha.
3. Shinto lays importance to religious actions and rites rather than words and preaching whereas the foundation of Buddhism is the words and preaching of Buddha. Buddhism focuses on an altruistic life that leads to salvation.
4. Buddhism has religious branches in the form of Theravada and Mahayana whereas Shinto has no such religious sects.
5. Shinto worships the forces of nature, polytheism and animism whereas Buddhism is all about following an ethical code of conduct in one’s life and practice meditation and renunciation.


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