Week 4: Nothingness

I was walking to Tisch during sunset and noticed how the snow-covered President’s lawn was sparkling in the fading sunlight.

setting sun
crisp frozen ground
twinkling snow

In class we talked about whether common Japanese practices, such as the Coming of Age Day for young Japanese women, are considered religious even if practitioners don’t realize the religious connotations. In my mind I don’t think it is religious; the Japanese strictly structure their space and choose to blend spiritual beliefs into this space. In order for Buddhism, and animism, to gain followers in Japan, society had to render “abstract, scriptural practice into concrete ritual practice” (Inouye 58). This created events such as the Coming of Age Day as well as art rituals that were “not simply manifestations or symbolic representations or religious belief” but they were rather “intimately associated with the contemplative intuition of a fundamental truth”  (Merton 89). These spiritual values build up to a “fundamental truth” that I think is larger than a single religion. If these rituals were more symbolic then I think it could be considered religious. However since these values and practices permeate every aspect of Japanese life, even the lives of the samurai as seen in Atsumori, they lose the distinct religious qualities as they blend into everything else. Just because some rituals have religious roots and remnants doesn’t make the entire ritual religious. When we bake a cake we no longer refer to the cake as an ‘egg’ or ‘flour’. For that reason I believe that these practices are no longer religious, but simply Japanese.
This entry was posted in Week 4: Nothingness. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Week 4: Nothingness

  1. Avatar of jsilva12 jsilva12 says:

    I like your analogy to making a cake. It’s a good way to show the big picture of how while some of their practices might be religious, it doesn’t mean all the parts that make up Japanese spirituality. Also, how you mention their spirituality as actions of a fundamental truth that permeates their society.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>