Dr. Hiroko Shiota: “Shinto, Mythology, & Ecology: Remembering the Sacred”
California Institute of Integral Studies

One of the ecological problems today is the notion that the earth is devoid of the sacred nature. When desacralized, the earth may become a mere resource for human use. To help enact a shift from this anthropocentric view to a “mutually enhancing relationship” (Thomas Berry) between humanity and the earth, I explore how Shinto, a Japanese indigenous spirituality, can reawaken a sense of the sacred nature of the earth and ourselves so that we can become participants and contributors to the thriving earth community filled with intrinsic values. Japanese myths, as the Shinto’s guiding force and inspiration, reveal to us how the Japanese psyche seeks to create balance and harmony among the opposing elements while appreciating multiple and diverse expressions of the sacred. These myths and Shinto spirituality can remind us of the deep connection we have with all of existence, heal the wound of separation and alienation from it, and inspire us to live astonished by the awesomeness of the sacred phenomenal world. When grateful celebration of sacred existence becomes a foundation of new ecological and spiritual sensitivities, we may experience a more intimate and caring relationship with the enchanted world.

World Religions: Shinto
Rev. Lisa Uzunoe
Pearson/Blue Chalk Media

In this film, one of sixteen in the series, we learn more about the Shinto religion. With a focus on on the worship of the forces of nature, the Shinto faith encourages self-reflection on what we can do to make the world a more harmonious place for all.

Shinto: Nature, Gods, and Man in Japan
Directed by David Westphal

Conveys some idea of the religious feeling which infuses the Japanese contemplation of nature and the gods (or ‘kami’) they detect in landscapes, trees and waterfalls. Explores what prompts them to build simple Shinto or more complex, Buddhist-influenced shrines marked by a balance between natural and man-made space. Includes many views of the Japanese landscape, forests and woods, some rituals of purification, shrine carpenters, rice festivals and Shinto priests and Japanese people at their worship. The following shrines are depicted: Ise Grand Shrine, Izumo Grand Shrine, Kasuga Grand Shrine, Kitano Temmangu, Kumano Hyatama, Kumano Nachi, Munakata Shrine, Nishna Shinmei and Omiwa Shrine.

DIG: A History Podcast
May 20, 2018
Trees that Fight Back: Shinto & the Environment in Japan