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Cosmic Consciousness by Ali Nomad


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The early religion of Japan, before the advent of Buddhism, was extremely simple.

It consists of the postulate that there was but one God, _Kami_, from him all things came, and to him all things shall return. As has been stated previously, the chief injunction of Shintoism is: "Keep your body and your mind clean, and trust _Kami_."

Shintoism literally translated, means "the way to God," and includes the belief that all persons ultimately reach the place where God dwells, and become "one with Him."

In present day interpretations and descriptions of Shintoism, we read of the "heathen" belief that _Kami_ himself dwells in person, in the "inner temple" or sacred place of Shinto temples.

This idea doubtless exists as a reality among the very ignorant superstitious devotees, much as among the ignorant Catholics we find the unquestioned belief that the actual body and blood of Jesus the Christ is contained in the Eucharist.

The Shinto temple always contains an "inner or sacred shrine," which is equivalent to the "holy of holies," of the Mystic Brotherhoods, and typifies the fact that _within_ and not _without_, will be found the God in man, by finding which, man reaches liberation, or cessation from the cycle of births and deaths.

A Shinto funeral is an occasion for rejoicing, because the departed one may be a step farther on the way to God, and since his ancestors were directly responsible, as a favor, for his occasion to become reborn, thus fulfilling the law of _karma_, the Shintoist pays much respect to his ancestors.

The advent of Buddhism into Japan was made possible by the simple fact that the people were becoming somewhat disgruntled with Shintoism, because of its emphasis upon the never-to-be questioned postulate that the Mikado and his progeny was the direct gift of _Kami_ to his people, to be obeyed without demur, and to be adored as divine.

Several generations of Mikados who did not fulfil the ideal of Deity--an ideal to which even savages attach the qualities of justice and mercy--left the masses ready and eager to grasp at a religion that gave them some other personified god, than the Mikado, much as a drowning man clutches at a straw.

The Lord Buddha was a prince, therefore worship of him would not be an absolutely impossible step--an unforgivable breach of contract with the Mikado, and as he exhibited the qualities of humility and mercy and tolerance, he was welcomed. The religion of Japan is to-day regarded as Buddhistic, although the Imperial family, and consequently the army and the navy are to all outward appearance, Shintoists.

Coming, then, to a consideration of the varying sects of Buddhism in Japan, and the corresponding sects in India, we find that there have been nine different incarnations of God, and that another, and, it is believed the final one, is expected.

The intelligent and open minded seeker after truth of whatever race or color, will find in the instructions given man by each and every great teacher, whether we believe in them as especially "divine" or as mere humans who have attained to the realization of their godhood (_avatars,_) a complete unity of _purpose_, and if these teachers differ in _method of attainment_, it is only because of the immutable fact that there can be no _one and only_ way of attainment.

Methods and systems are established consistently with the age and character of those whom they are designed to assist in finding the way.

And again we must emphasize the fact that by the phrase "the way," we mean the way to a realization of the godhood within the inner temple of man's threefold nature.

Thus, the intelligent, unprejudiced student of the religions and philosophies of all times and all races, will find that, while there are many and diverse paths to the goal of "salvation," the goal itself means unity with the Causeless Cause, wherein exists perfection.