The difference between shrines and temples

The difference between shrines and temples

When visiting Japan, not only shrines but also temples may be visited, but do you understand the difference between shrines and temples? There are many distinct differences between these two. If you read this article, you can have a better understanding of the facilities when visiting one. First of all, a significant definition of the temple is that a place where practiced Buddhism and a shrine is a place where practiced Shintoism.

What is a shrine

As introduced in the previous article, the origin of the shrine is to worship the gods originating from Japanese mythology. The Supreme God is the Amaterasu, and certain people, animals, and various things that exist in nature are worshiped as gods. This religion originated in Japan is called Shinto.
Actually, there is no unified god or scripture in Shinto, where various things consecrated. In major religions like Christianity and Islam, scriptures tell believers about their gods and precepts, and they practice teachings in the scriptures as a source of living. The uniqueness of Shintoism is that it doesn’t have clear teaching as a whole.
Another big difference between a shrine and a temple is that the entrance of a shrine has a torii gate in order to represent the boundary of the area of God and people. By going through a torii gate to enter a property of a shrine, one will feel to worship with more strict emotions.

What is a temple

The temple was initially established based on the teachings of Buddhism to enshrine Buddha as a particular object, and it is entirely different from the concept of Shinto. Buddhism is a religion that originated in India and is one of the three major religions in the world, along with Christianity and Islam. It is said that it was introduced to Japan through the Korean Peninsula about 1500 years ago during the Asuka era.
In Buddhism, it is said that the highest rank is Amitabha, but there are various ranks as well. This ranking influences the name of the temple. Buddha statues usually can be seen at many temples while praying, but it is infrequent to see the enshrined deities at shrines.
Buddhism has unique values. It has a teaching that one can get out of the circle of reincarnation by practicing in this world, and it says that what one does now will reflect the future. This karma is an essential idea in Buddhism. Many Japanese funerals follow the practice in Buddhism, and graves are often built in temples.

As introduced above, there are some differences between shrines and temples. It helps to understand the perspective and the practice of the Japanese religion.

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