Executive Pagan

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Commonplace book #27

Posted by Erik on April 2, 2010

The ancient Japanese considered anything which manifested awesome potency to be a kami. No distinction was made between kami that were “good” or “bad”, noble or mean, strong or weak. The early Japanese thought of myriad kami that were dispersed among natural objects and human beings. But, it is significant that the kami of manifest being were more fundamental than kami of concealed being, and that auspicious kami were more fundamental than the inauspicious. – Muraoka Tsunetsugu, as quoted in H. Byron Earhart, Shinto and New Japanese Religions

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5 Responses to “Commonplace book #27”

  1. Courtney said

    This is interesting to me. I’ve been thinking about this kind of thing recently, in terms of the physical world versus the spiritual world. Is one more real than the other? Sometimes one seems more concrete and sometimes the other one does. I guess what I think right now is that they’re both equally real and important – kind of like how you wouldn’t say one of the seasons was more important or necessary than the others(well, at least I wouldn’t say that). You need it all… everything has its place.

    I also think it’s interesting that the ancient Japanese made no distinctions between the kami. I think that makes sense sometimes, but then other times you really need to make distinctions. You might be able to tell that balance is a major thing, maybe the most major thing, in my life. :)

  2. executivepagan said

    in terms of the physical world versus the spiritual world. Is one more real than the other?

    I don’t believe one can truly separate them, at least not fully. It seems to me that these realms that we consider as separate, are actually just different aspects of What Is; and even if I’m wrong about that, then at the very least they interpenetrate to such a degree that I certainly can’t say where one ends and the other begins…

    I also think it’s interesting that the ancient Japanese made no distinctions between the kami. I think that makes sense sometimes, but then other times you really need to make distinctions

    Well, even Muraoka modified that thought before the end of the paragraph, noting that manifest kami were considered more fundamental than concealed kami… but I think what he’s mainly saying is that they considered all kami to be of the same basic nature, much as evil and noble people are all still people. Some you might not want to be around *g*, but there is no fundamental difference in our natures.

  3. Courtney said

    but I think what he’s mainly saying is that they considered all kami to be of the same basic nature, much as evil and noble people are all still people.

    Hmm, yeah, I agree with that. The question for me is, can evil be eradicated? Or it is just part of the makeup of the world; like, we can fight it but it will never disappear? I lean toward the latter, but I’m not really sure.

  4. executivepagan said

    I’m afraid I have to agree that it’s part of the system. A bug, perhaps, but still there.

  5. Feral Boy said

    We perceive our world through contrast, of figure and ground.
    We’re blind in complete darkness, or complete light.
    Our reality is manifested through us in pairs of opposites.

    — Feral Boy

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