Shinto: A Celebration of Life
Shinto is an ancient faith of forests and snow capped mountains. It sees the divine in rocks and streams communing with spirit worlds through bamboo twigs and the evergreen sakaki tree. Yet it is also the manicured suburban garden and the blades of grass between cracks in city paving stones.
Structured around ritual cleansing Shinto contains no concept of sin. It reveres ancestors but thinks little about the afterlife, asking us to live in and improve the present. Central to Shinto is Kannagara or the intuitive acceptance of the divine power contained in all living things. Dai Shizen (Great Nature) is the life force with which we ally ourselves through spiritual practice and living simply.
This is not asceticism but an affirmation of all aspects of life. Musubi (organic growth) provides a model for reconciling ancient intuition with modern science and modern society with primal human needs. Shinto is an unbroken indigenous path that now reaches beyond its native Japan. It has special relevance to us as we seek a more balanced and fulfilled way of life.