古神道とは What is Ko-Shinto?
KO-SHINTO (Ancient / Old Shinto) is the indigenous Japanese spirituality/belief since Jōmon period which peacefully lasted over ten thousand years, the longest in Japanese history without almost no archaeological excavation of war weapons or killing traces.
In short, Ko-Shinto is deeply in touch with nature/universe cycle, balancing in between physical and spiritual world, and rather shamanistic than Shrine Shinto which was formed along with the establishment of the nationwide expansion of rice agriculture, silk production, ironware after Yayoi period, as well as foreign origin religions after Buddhism introduction. Ko-Shinto is also the abbreviation of Fukko-Shinto which was advocated by Japanese classical scholars during Edo period, for reviving/returning to the spirituality of Ko-Shinto.
Ko-Shinto ceremony is conducted by Himorogi style in which Shinto clergy call down Kami to descend for a moment into a sacred tree, sacred rock, or evergreen branch, then release Kami to ascend at the end of the ceremony. Shinto clergies and attendees usually travel to the great nature sites outside of their daily life community, then follow the great nature cycle.
On the other hand, Shrine Shinto is by Chinza style which permanently enshrines Kami into Go-Shintai/divine body which is sitting inside of the Honden main shrine building. Majority of Shrine Shinto is Chinza style with some exceptions for those still are preserving the Ko-Shinto way based on their long shrine history. Chinza style shrines are mostly built in people's community.
In Ko-Shinto, Kami in great nature and mankind co-exist, being one side the other, live together in prosperity with no discrimination among people. While Shinto states the blood related matters being Kegare, being disabled person as Kuni-tsu-tsumi (earthy sin), and any actions against rice agriculture and silk production being Ama-tsu-tsumi (heavenly sin), Ko-Shinto does not have that aspect. Joumon period was mainly by hunting and gathering from great nature, treating disabled people equally that they had their role of being storyteller and taking care of children. The dog with the trace of broken bone healed being buried by people proves how Joumon people treated dogs as significant family rather than just the hunter for human and kill once their are unable to hunt.
Ko-Shinto concept of universe, spirit, life and death are based on the divine cycle of great nature.
In both Ko-Shinto and Shinto, there is no doctrine, founder, absolute God which can be seen in major world religions. Based on this tolerance, Shinto is often perceived more as a spirituality, belief, faith, rather than a religion.
Regardless the long history of Shinto, its idea/philosophy is very simple and can be roughly classified into two:
KANNAGARA-NO-MICHI - Deciding whether your actions present beauty or ugliness, based on minding that the SUN is always watching you.
NAKAIMA - Among the time flow from the ancestry, past - current - future, live the best at this moment given to you, to pass the best to the future generations.