Suika Shinto

Doctrines Suika ('Grace and Protection') Shinto was synthesis of various Neo-Confucian and Shinto ideas. The concept of suika itself was derived from a Watarai Shinto treatise which stated that to receive the divine grace and protection of the deities prayer and uprightness were necessary. Yamazaki identified uprightness with the Neo-Confucian concept of 'reverence' or scrupluous propriety and taught that this should be the basis of all human behaviour, stressing particularly the divinity and uniqueness of the Japanese imperial line and the priority of the ruler-subject relationship over that of father-son. Like Watarai Shinto theologians, he saw the relationship between kami and man as something established through the underlying unity of ri, the cosmic principle of order. His own summary of his ideas was 'devotion within, righteousness without'.

History The founder of Suika Shinto, Yamazaki Ansai (1619-1682), was a Buddhist monk turned Neo-Confucian. He was greatly influenced by the writings of the Chinese Neo-Confucian Chu Hsi and studied with a number of eminent Shinto thinkers. In later life he was drawn to religious devotion to the kami, particularly Amaterasu, the deity of Ise. He reverenced her under the name of Ohirumemuchi from whom flowed all divine blessings and protection (suika). Yamazaki attracted thousands of followers who spread his teachings after he died. As a result, his ideas were influential in the development, during the Tokugawa period, of the growing idea of the emperor as a divinity. It was this idea which led eventually to the overthrow of the shogunate, though Yamazaki's overall system of thought was rejected by later kokugaku scholars as being too Confucian.

Symbols The tradition has no distinctive symbol system.

Adherents No contemporary adherents

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