Essay on Religions and Japanese Culture

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Religions and Japanese Culture

Many religions are popular within the Japanese culture. Two of the most influential religions, Shinto and Buddhism that help shaped a lot of Japanese values are Shinto and Buddhism, played a large role in shaping Japanese values. Numerous similarities and differences run between these two religions; nonetheless, the Japanese often believe in more than one religion at the same time. This is possible due to the polytheistic nature of most popular religions in Japan. It is not hard to say that religion is a big part of Japanese culture because a lot of religious beliefs can still be seen in their everyday lives. Shinto is a polytheistic native Japanese religion. Followers believe that much of nature
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Later on, the Japanese adapted another religion, Buddhism. Like Shinto, Buddhism is also a polytheistic religion. Moreover, because Shinto does not explain the afterlife while Buddhism does, these two religions co-existed in Japanese culture. Many people adapt to both religions' belief system at the same time. Zen Buddhism became widely adapted by the samurais later on during the Warrior Period. Zen Buddhism focuses on the discipline of individuals, one of the many reasons why samurais are seen as very refined warriors. They are often portrayed as being able to sense an enemy's attacks before they actually happen. This is an exaggeration of a samurai's ability to concentrate and focus on a goal. The samurais often use a Zen Buddhism technique called "Za Zen" to help clear their mind. A practical religion, Zen Buddhism helps to enhance self-discipline and improve one's self-concentration. One of the teachings of Zen Buddhism is "Bushin," meaning the clarification of the mind. A cleared mind allows the samurais to concentrate better on the task at hand and respond faster to enemies' attacks, make Zen Buddhism a very attractive religion to these warriors. Martial arts in Japan today also stress the importance of concentration. However, Bushin no longer applies to solely concentration in combat, but to all forms of concentration. For example, practicing martial arts is said to effective for improving one's performance at work due to better concentration

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