Japanese -The Most Religious People in the World 世界で最も信心深い人々――日本人

(Hiragana Times article editted to be more reader friendly)
During my first year in Tokyo, I was frustrated and bemused at the wall of silence I crashed into every time I asked a Japanese person about religion or indeed anything 'mysterious.'
I walked around the cosmeticised Japanese women that wandered aimlessly around department stores, and made quick and lazy judgments.
私は目的も無くデパートをさまよう化粧し た日本人女 性の間を歩き、はやとちりをしてしまった。
However, after spending three years here, I now understand that I was completely mistaken.
I now understand that the Japanese are the most religious people I have ever met.
日本人はこれまで私が出会ったどんな人 々より信仰心が厚いことが分かったのである。
My first mistake was to apply western notions of what it means to be religious, to the Japanese lifestyle.
私の最初の間違いは日本人のライフスタイルに対 し、宗教的になるとはいかなるものかという西洋的な考えを当てはめたことだ。
In the West, we endlessly try to explain and justify our beliefs and spiritual feelings.
For the Japanese however, 'mystery' is an every day fact that should be silently experienced and appreciated rather than categorised and judged by the empty cleverness of cultural commentators.
しかし ながら、日本人にとって「神秘」とは、日常の中で静かに体験され、感謝されるもので、文化人の浅はかな知恵に基づいた分類や判断によるものではない。
In Japan, I have discovered the integrity of silence.
私は 日本で沈黙の中の高潔さを見出した。
Japan has a culture that is rightfully skeptical of using words to communicate spiritual truths.
日本にはスピリチュアルな真相を伝える言葉を使うことに 疑問を持つ文化がある。
In the English language we have separate words, and thus separate concepts for 'mind' and 'spirit.'
In Christian theology, arguments concerning the difference between mind and spirit have been raging for 2000 years.
クリスチャンの神学ではマインドとスピリットの違いに関 するホットな議論が、2000年も続いている。
In the Japanese language, however, there is a single word 'Seishin,' which can be translated both as mind or as spirit.
一方、日本語には「マインド」とも「スピリット」とも訳せる「精神」という単語がある。その意味はあいまい だ。
The exact meaning is ambiguous because for Japanese, to distinguish linguistically between western notions of spirit and mind is simply not necessary.
In Shinto, the indigenous religion of Japan, there is no official set of doctrines, nor sacred scriptures.
The "word" has no place in this religion.
Unlike Buddhism, Christianity and Islam, Shinto has no founder such as Guatama the Enlightened One, Jesus the Messiah, or Muhammad the Prophet.
仏教やキリスト教、イスラム教と違い、神道には悟りを開いた仏陀、救いの 御 子キリスト、預言者モハメッドのような創始者がいない。
Instead, Shinto is concerned with natural energies and invisible agents called 'Kami,' which dwell in any phenomena that generate a feeling of awe and mystery: mountains, flowers, rocks ... the list is endless.
そのかわり、神道は自然の力や畏怖や神秘の感覚を生み出すすべての「モノ」のなかに存在する、 「神」と呼ばれる目に見えない媒介と関わっている。それらは、山であり、花であり、岩である…数えたらきりがない。
Significantly, there is no distinction made between the 'object' and the 'spirit' within the object.
The spirit in the mountain and the mountain itself are one and the same.
Japanese neither think of the Kami conceptually nor theologically, but are aware of the Kami intuitively, dwelling in the depths of their "being."
日本人は神を概念的にも神学的 にも 考えていないが、存在するものの奥深くに潜む神を直感的に意識している。
According to Shinto scholars, the world of Kami does not transcend the world of humans and daily life is to be regarded as "service to the Kami."
神道学者によると、神の世界は人間の世界を超越することはない。日常生活は神への 奉仕と考えられている。
Thus, the Japanese can experience awe and mystery in objects of everyday life - the world is not divided into the sacred and secular.
Japanese people will travel across the entire country to see a mountain, or a flower that blossoms for just for one week every year.
When the cherry blossoms bloom, they hold parties and family ceremonies.
They don't identify these activities as being religious in the western sense, it is simply a way of life.
With the religious fanaticism we are currently witnessing around the word, it is surely refreshing to experience the purity of spiritual feelings that something as simple as a cherry blossom can embody.


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