Project #74813 - Reading respone

read the following posts and write a respond the on following question, around 300 words. You will need background knowledge of pre China Buddhism and how it transmit it's religion. 

Discuss some of the similarities and differences between Japanese village religion and pre-Buddhist Chinese religion.

Here are some example answers (do not copy but can take ideas):

1.One of the similarities between the Japanese village religion and pre-Buddhist Chinese religion was their locative properties. Around 6th century, there was not yet a single society you could identify as 'Japan'. With poor resources and numerous mountains, transportation between regions was extremely difficult, thus Japanese traditions at first naturally had to be locative, and village became the basic unit for such traditions. Also within a village each god (kami) had a specific place it was related to, whether that was the fields, rivers, or the mountains. Another common aspect was the focus on orthopraxy. As the early Chinese tradition emphasized correct rituals, the pre-Buddhism cosmology of Japan also stressed the importance of having rituals for the purpose of purification. However the Japanese notion of exorcism/purification being capable of cleansing everything also contributed to their lack of ethics.

A unique aspect of early Japanese traditions was the idea of kami. Kami are the gods, but there are an infinite number of them, and they are thought to be everywhere. Kami can include anything larger than life, like an old tree. This portrays a flat cosmology where gods, nature, and men are very close to one another rather than in a strict hierarchy as believed in early Chinese traditions. Another significant characteristic of Japanese village religion was that it was a corporate one, where an impurity of a single caused impurities to the group, village in most cases, as a whole. Such corporate responsibility is clearly shown in the tales of marebitos in which they will either reward or punish the entire family and the village depending on the action of a single man. Lastly, perhaps the greatest difference between the early traditions of China and Japan was regarding gender and lineage. In the case of China, a lineage was strictly in terms of males, and it was clearly a patriarchal society. Meanwhile in Japan, the lineage line was much more complicated due to its uxorilocal society. Properties were passed down mother to daughter, and the maternal line was of an extreme importance. As men would marry into his wives’ families and the children were brought up with their mothers, and with common exercise of polygamy (plus the lack of ethics), the Japanese lineage line tended to become very complex.  

2. Japanese village religion resembled pre-Buddhist Chinese religion in fundamental ways including the intensely localized nature of the topography in which their deities were located— the Japanese village was taken as the epicenter around which the different kami played roles relating to the functions of the village. This aspect of highly localized, village-specific religious tradition bears much in common with the pre-Buddhist situation in China.

Several other aspects that bear striking similarity to the Chinese traditions are the emphasis placed on the close bond between human beings and their environment; the unifying nature and importance placed on ritual; and the importance of local cults and traditional festivals as community participation in ritual.

Differences between Chinese and Japan traditional beliefs can be found in the Japanese emphasis on equality between the three aspects of life: gods, nature, and human beings and the lack of hierarchy within these worlds. Additionally, the word kami, which the Japanese use to designate the realm of the Gods is much more inclusive and undifferentiated than the Chinese understanding and stratification of different types of supernatural beings. The lack of specificity the term kami indicates is anathema to the intense categorization of the Chinese cosmology and rigid classification systems therein.

 

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Due By (Pacific Time) 06/24/2015 06:00 pm
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