Monday, December 12, 2011

religion in Japan

It's an old article, but I saw it for the first time today -- a piece that sketches trends in Japanese spiritual life.

One 35-year-old woman said, "Buddhist temples . . . are for sightseeing. They have no commitment to the modern world, and their teachings are outdated. As for Shinto, I couldn't find any reasonable explanation for what it does. It was just ritual and not applicable outside Japan."

And a professor opined, "The biggest change that the new religions introduced was to make (the spiritual) world accessible to the average person instead of knowledge belonging to a religious elite."

"Elite," "no commitment to the modern world," "outdated" -- was there ever a spiritual persuasion that did not fall prey to such observations? Things start out bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed and dissolve like an utterly predictable Hollywood love story into a same-ol' same-ol' conclusion... thus making way for some new and improved and peppy off-spring. What teenager introduced to the delights and confusions of sex ever stops to think that in order for him to be so delighted, his parents must have gotten laid?

In spiritual adventure as in the rest of life, the issues are always the same, but pep and wow dwindles over time.

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