古神道とは What is Ko-Shinto?

​​古神道とは、水田稲作農耕、養蚕、鉄器文化や、仏教を始めとする外来宗教の影響を受ける以前に存在していたとされる、日本古来の信仰のことを言います。

また、江戸時代の国学者により提唱された復古神道の略称でもあります。

日本文化の魂であり上古から続く神道は、森羅万象の霊性に神々を見出し、八百万の神々が信仰の対象です。

その礎・起源・源流は、日本史上1万数千年という最も長く続いた遥か古の縄文時代から存在していた古神道、「自然信仰・精霊信仰・祖霊信仰」にあります。

日本全土への稲作農耕が定着した弥生時代以降の神道とは違う精神や観念が、争いの形跡や武器が殆ど出土しなかった平和な縄文時代の古神道には仄見えます。

人間社会に近い社殿の御神体に神にお鎮まり頂く、鎮座式の神道。神奈備という大自然の依り代に、神職が神を降ろす​神籬式の古神道。

顕幽表裏の古神道では、ありのままの自然と人とが共存共生し、人と人とが差別なく暮らす。神道に垣間見られる天津罪・国津罪、血の穢れは古神道に無く、宇宙観・霊魂観・死生観においても、大いなる自然の摂理に則したものとなっています。

​神々を敬い畏れ拝む(おろがむ)という作法は信仰以外の何ものでもないながらも、古神道も神道もいわゆる世界宗教に見られる教理・経典・教祖、絶対神は存在しないという寛容性・包容力が特徴のため、宗教というよりは日本古来の信仰・精神性として捉えて頂ければと存じます。

「その理念とは何か」を大別しますと、実はとてもシンプルです。

「惟神(かんながら)の道」:行いの美醜は、「お天道様が見ている」ことを重んじ、自分自身で判断する。

「中今」:過去・現在・未来へと続く御先祖様・先人達からの歴史の流れの「中」で、【今日の生日足日】に生かされている「今」を精一杯に生き、後世に繋げる。

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.

 

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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.

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