The Religions of Japan From the Dawn of History to the Era of Meiji
William Elliot Griffis author
"THE KOJIKI" AND ITS TEACHINGS
"The Kojiki" mid its Myths of Cosmogony.
As to the origin of the "Kojiki," we have in the closing sentences of the author's preface the sole documentary authority explaining its scope and certifying to its authenticity. Briefly the statement is this: The "Heavenly Sovereign" or Mikado, Temmu (A.D. 673-686), lamenting that the records possessed by the chief families were "mostly amplified by empty falsehoods," and fearing that "the grand foundation of the monarchy" would be destroyed, resolved to preserve the truth. He therefore had the records carefully examined, compared, and their errors eliminated. There happened to be in his household a man of marvellous memory, named Hiyéda Aré, who could repeat, without mistake, the contents of any document he had ever seen, and never forgot anything which he had heard. This person was duly instructed in the genuine traditions and old language of former ages, and made to repeat them until he had the whole by heart. "Before the undertaking was completed," which probably means before it could be committed to writing, "the emperor died, and for twenty-five years Aré's memory was the sole depository of what afterwards received the title of 'Kojiki.' ... At the end of this interval the Empress Gemmi[=o] ordered Yasumar[=o] to write it down from the mouth of Aré, which accounts for the completion of the manuscript in so short a time as four months and a half,"1 in A.D. 712.
It is from the "Kojiki" that we obtain most of our ideas of ancient life and thought. The "Nihongi," or Chronicles of Japan, expressed very largely in Chinese phrases and with Chinese technical and philosophical terms, further assists us to get a measurably correct idea of what is called The Divine Age. Of the two books, however, the "Kojiki" is much more valuable as a true record, because, though rude in style and exceedingly naïve in expression, and by no means free from Chinese thoughts and phrases, it is marked by a genuinely Japanese cast of thought and method of composition. Instead of the terse, carefully measured, balanced, and antithetical sentences of correct Chinese, those of the "Kojiki" are long and involved, and without much logical connection. The "Kojiki" contains the real notions, feelings, and beliefs of Japanese who lived before the eighth century.
Remembering that prefaces are, like porticos, usually added last of all, we find that in the beginning all things were in chaos. Heaven and earth were not separated. The world substance floated in the cosmic mass, like oil on water or a fish in the sea. Motion in some way began. The ethereal portions sublimed and formed the heavens; the heavier residuum became the present earth. In the plain of high heaven, when the heaven and earth began, were born three kami who "hid their bodies," that is, passed away or died. Out of the warm mould of the earth a germ sprouted, and from this were born two kami, who also were born alone, and died. After these heavenly kami came forth what are called the seven divine generations, or line of seven kami.2
To express the opening lines of the "Kojiki" in terms of our own speech and in the moulds of Western thought, we may say that matter existed before mind and the gods came forth, as it were, by spontaneous evolution. The first thing that appeared out of the warm earth-muck was like a rush-sprout, and this became a kami, or god. From this being came forth others, which also produced beings, until there were perfect bodies, sex and differentiation of powers. The "Nihongi," however, not only gives a different view of this evolution basing it upon the dualism of Chinese philosophy—that is, of the active and passive principles—and uses Chinese technical terminology, but gives lists of kami that differ notably from those in the "Kojiki." This latter fact seems to have escaped the attention of those who write freely about what they imagine to be the early religion of the Japanese.3
After this introduction, in which "Dualities, Trinities, and Supreme Deities" have been discovered by writers unfamiliar with the genius of the Japanese language, there follows an account of the creation of the habitable earth by Izanami and Izanagi, whose names mean the Male-Who-Invites and the Female-Who-Invites. The heavenly kami commanded these two gods to consolidate and give birth to the drifting land. Standing on the floating bridge of heaven, the male plunged his jewel-spear into the unstable waters beneath, stirring them until they gurgled and congealed. When he drew forth the spear, the drops trickling from its point formed an island, ever afterward called Onokoro-jima, or the Island of the Congealed Drop. Upon this island they descended. The creative pair, or divine man and woman, now separated to make a journey round the island, the male to the left, the female to the right. At their meeting the female spoke first: "How joyful to meet a lovely man!" The male, offended that the woman had spoken first, required the circuit to be repeated. On their second meeting, the man cried out: "How joyful to meet a lovely woman!" This island on which they had descended was the first of several which they brought into being. In poetry it is the Island of the Congealed Drop. In common geography it is identified as Awaji, at the entrance of the Inland Sea. Thence followed the creation of the other visible objects in nature.
Izanagi's Visit to Hades and Results.
After the birth of the god of fire, which nearly destroyed the mother's life, Izanami fled to the land of roots or of darkness, that is into Hades. Izanagi, like a true Orpheus, followed his Eurydice and beseeched her to come back to earth to complete with him the work of creation. She parleyed so long with the gods of the underworld that her consort, breaking off a tooth of his comb, lighted it as a torch and rushed in. He found her putrefied body, out of which had been born the eight gods of thunder. Horrified at the awful foulness which he found in the underworld, he rushed up and out, pursued by the Ugly-Female-of-Hades. By artifices that bear a wonderful resemblance to those in Teutonic fairy tales, he blocked up the way. His head-dress, thrown at his pursuer, turned into grapes which she stopped to eat. The teeth of his comb sprouted into a bamboo forest, which detained her. The three peaches were used as projectiles; his staff which stuck up in the ground became a gate, and a mighty rock was used to block up the narrow pass through the mountains. Each of these objects has its relation to place-names in Idzumo or to superstitions that are still extant. The peaches and the rocks became gods, and on this incident, by which the beings in Hades were prevented from advance and successful mischief on earth, is founded one of the norito which Mr. Satow gives in condensed form. The names of the three gods,4 Youth and Maiden of the Many Road-forkings, and Come-no-further Gate, are expressed and invoked in the praises bestowed on them in connection with the offerings.
He (the priest) says: I declare in the presence of the sovran gods, who like innumerable piles of rocks sit closing up the way in the multitudinous road-forkings.... I fulfil your praises by declaring your NAMES, Youth and Maiden of the Many Road-forkings and Come-no-further Gate, and say: for the OFFERINGS set up that you may prevent [the servants of the monarch] from being poisoned by and agreeing with the things which shall come roughly-acting and hating from the Root-country, the Bottom-country, that you may guard the bottom (of the gate) when they come from the bottom, guard the top when they come from the top, guarding with nightly guard and with daily guard, and may praise them—peacefully take the great OFFERINGS which are set up by piling them up like a range of hills, that is to say, providing bright cloth, etc., ... and sitting closing-up the way like innumerable piles of rock in the multitudinous road-forkings, deign to praise the sovran GRANDCHILD'S augustness eternally and unchangingly, and to bless his age as a luxuriant AGE.
Retreating to another part of the world—that is, into southwestern Japan—Izanami purified himself by bathing in a stream. While washing himself,5 many kami were borne from the rinsings of his person, one of them, from the left eye (the left in Japanese is always the honorable side), being the far-shining or heaven-illuminating kami, whose name, Amatéras[)u], or Heaven-shiner, is usually translated "The Sun-goddess." This personage is the centre of the system of Shint[=o]. The creation of gods by a process of cleansing has had a powerful effect on the Japanese, who usually associate cleanliness of the body (less moral, than physical) with godliness.
It is not necessary to detail further the various stories which make up the Japanese mythology. Some of these are lovely and beautiful, but others are horrible and disgusting, while the dominant note throughout is abundant filthiness.
Professor Basil Hall Chamberlain, who has done the world such good service in translating into English the whole of the Kojiki, and furnishing it with learned commentary and notes, has well said:
"The shocking obscenity of word and act to which the 'Records' bear witness is another ugly feature which must not quite be passed over in silence. It is true that decency, as we understand it, is a very modern product, and it is not to be looked for in any society in the barbarous stage. At the same time, the whole range of literature might perhaps be ransacked for a parallel to the naïve filthiness of the passage forming Sec. IV. of the following translation, or to the extraordinary topic which the hero Yamato-Také and his mistress Miyadz[)u] are made to select as the theme of poetical repartee. One passage likewise would lead us to suppose that the most beastly crimes were commonly committed."6
Indeed, it happens in several instances that the thread by which the marvellous patchwork of unrelated and varying local myths is joined together, is an indecent love story.
A thousand years after the traditions of the Kojiki had been committed to writing, and orthodox Shint[=o] commentators had learned science from the Dutch at Nagasaki, the stirring of the world mud by Izanagi's spear7 was gravely asserted to be the cause of the diurnal revolution of the earth upon its axis, the point of the axis being still the jewel spear.8 Onogoro-jima, or the Island of the Congealed Drop, was formerly at the north pole,9 but subsequently removed to its present position. How this happened is not told.
Life in Japan During the Divine Age.
Now that the Kojiki is in English and all may read it, we can clearly see who and what were the Japanese in the ages before letters and Chinese civilization; for these stories of the kami are but legendary and mythical accounts of men and women. One could scarcely recognize in the islanders of eleven or twelve hundred years ago, the polished, brilliant, and interesting people of to-day. Yet truth compels us to say that social morals in Dai Nippon, even with telegraphs and railways, are still more like those of ancient days than readers of rhapsodies by summer tourists might suppose. These early Japanese, indeed, were possibly in a stage of civilization somewhat above that of the most advanced of the American Indians when first met by Europeans, for they had a rude system of agriculture and knew the art of fashioning iron into tools and weapons. Still, they were very barbarous, certainly as much so as our Germanic "forbears." They lived in huts. They were without writing or commerce, and were able to count only to ten.10 Their cruelty was as revolting as that of the savage tribes of America. The family was in its most rudimentary stage, with little or no restraint upon the passions of men. Children of the same father, but not of the same mother, could intermarry. The instances of men marrying their sisters or aunts were very common. There was no art, unless the making of clay images, to take the place of the living human victims buried up to their necks in earth and left to starve on the death of their masters,11 may be designated as such.
The Magatama, or curved jewels, being made of ground and polished stone may be called jewelry; but since some of these prehistoric ornaments dug up from the ground are found to be of jade, a mineral which does not occur in Japan, it is evident that some of these tokens of culture came from the continent. Many other things produced by more or less skilled mechanics, the origin of which is poetically recounted in the story of the dancing of Uzumé before the cave in which the Sun-goddess had hid herself,12 were of continental origin. Evidently these men of the god-way had passed the "stone age," and, probably without going through the intermediate bronze age, were artificers of iron and skilled in its use. Most of the names of metals and of many other substances, and the terms used in the arts and sciences, betray by their tell-tale etymology their Chinese origin. Indeed, it is evident that some of the leading kami were born in Korea or Tartary.
Then as now the people in Japan loved nature, and were quickly sensitive to her beauty and profoundly in sympathy with her varied phenomena. In the mediæval ages, Japanese Wordsworths are not unknown.13 Sincerely they loved nature, and in some respects they seemed to understand the character of their country far better than the alien does or can. Though a land of wonderful beauty, the Country of Peaceful Shores is enfolded in powers of awful destructiveness. With the earthquake and volcano, the typhoon and the tidal wave, beauty and horror alternate with a swiftness that is amazing.
Probably in no portion of the earth are the people and the land more like each other or apparently better acquainted with each other. Nowhere are thought and speech more reflective of the features of the landscape. Even after ten centuries, the Japanese are, in temperament, what the Kojiki reveals them to have been in their early simplicity. Indeed, just as the modern Frenchman, down beneath his outward environments and his habiliments cut and fitted yesterday, is intrinsically the same Gaul whom Julius Cæsar described eighteen hundred years ago, so the gentleman of T[=o]ki[=o] or Ki[=o]to is, in his mental make-up, wonderfully like his ancestors described by the first Japanese Stanley, who shed the light of letters upon the night of unlettered Japan and darkest Dai Nippon.
The Kojiki reveals to us, likewise, the childlike religious ideas of the islanders. Heaven lay, not about but above them in their infancy, yet not far away. Although in the "Notices," it is "the high plain of heaven," yet it is just over their heads, and once a single pillar joined it and the earth. Later, the idea was, that it was held up by the pillar-gods of the wind, and to them norito were recited. "The great plain of the blue sea" and "the land of luxuriant reeds" form "the world"—which means Japan. The gods are only men of prowess or renown. A kami is anything wonderful—god or man, rock or stream, bird or snake, whatever is surprising, sensational, or phenomenal, as in the little child's world of to-day. There is no sharp line dividing gods from men, the natural from the supernatural, even as with the normal uneducated Japanese of to-day. As for the kami or gods, they have all sorts of characters; some of them being rude and ill-mannered, many of them beastly and filthy, while others are noble and benevolent. The attributes of moral purity, wisdom and holiness, cannot be, and in the original writings are not, ascribed to them; but they were strong and had power. In so far as they had power they were called kami or gods, whether celestial or terrestrial. Among the kami—the one term under which they are all included—there were heavenly bodies, mountains, rivers, trees, rocks and animals, because those also were supposed to possess force, or at least some kind of influence for good or evil. Even peaches, as we have seen, when transformed into rocks, became gods.14
That there was worship with awe, reverence, and fear, and that the festivals and sacrifices had two purposes, one of propitiating the offended Kami and the other of purifying the worshipper, may be seen in the norito or liturgies, some of which are exceedingly beautiful.15 In them the feelings of the gods are often referred to. Sometimes their characters are described. Yet one looks in vain in either the "Notices," poems, or liturgies for anything definite in regard to these deities, or concerning morals or doctrines to be held as dogmas. The first gods come into existence after evolution of the matter of which they are composed has taken place. The later gods are sometimes able to tell who are their progenitors, sometimes not. They live and fight, eat and drink, and give vent to their appetites and passions, and then they die; but exactly what becomes of them after they die, the record does not state. Some are in heaven, some on the earth, some in Hades. The underworld of the first cycle of tradition is by no means that of the second.16 Some of the kami are in the water, or on the water, or in the air. As for man, there is no clear statement as to whether he is to have any future life or what is to become of him, though the custom or jun-shi, or dying with the master, points to a sort of immortality such as the early Greeks and the Iroquois believed in.
It would task the keenest and ablest Shint[=o]ist to deduce or construct a system of theology, or of ethics, or of anthropology from the mass of tradition so full of gaps and discord as that found in the Kojiki, and none has done it. Nor do the inaccurate, distorted, and often almost wholly factitious translations, so-called, of French and other writers, who make versions which hit the taste of their occidental readers far better than they express the truth, yield the desired information. Like the end strands of a new spider's web, the lines of information on most vital points are still "in the air."
The Ethics of the God-way.
There are no codes of morals inculcated in the god-way, for even its modern revivalists and exponents consider that morals are the invention of wicked people like the Chinese; while the ancient Japanese were pure in thought and act. They revered the gods and obeyed the Mikado, and that was the chief end of man, in those ancient times when Japan was the world and Heaven was just above the earth. Not exactly on Paul's principle of "where there is no law there is no transgression," but utterly scouting the idea that formulated ethics were necessary for these pure-minded people, the modern revivalists of Shint[=o] teach that all that is "of faith" now is to revere the gods, keep the heart pure, and follow its dictates.17 The naïveté of the representatives of Shint[=o] at Chicago in A.D. 1893, was almost as great as that of the revivalists who wrote when Japan was a hermit nation.
The very fact that there was no moral commandments, not even of loyalty or obedience such as Confucianism afterward promulgated and formulated, is proof to the modern Shint[=o]ist that the primeval Japanese were pure and holy; they did right, naturally, and hence he does not hesitate to call Japan, the Land of the Gods, the Country of the Holy Spirits, the Region Between Heaven and Earth, the Island of the Congealed Drop, the Sun's Nest, the Princess Country, the Land of Great Peace, the Land of Great Gentleness, the Mikado's Empire, the Country ruled by a Theocratic Dynasty. He considers that only with the vice brought over from the Continent of Asia were ethics both imported and made necessary.18
All this has been solemnly taught by famous Shint[=o] scholars of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and is still practically promulgated in the polemic Shint[=o] literature of to-day, even after the Kojiki has been studied and translated into European languages. The Kojiki shows that whatever the men may have been or done, the gods were abominably obscene, and both in word and deed were foul and revolting, utterly opposed in act to those reserves of modesty or standards of shame that exist even among the cultivated Japanese to-day.19 Even among the Ainos, whom the Japanese look upon as savages, there is still much of the obscenity of speech which belongs to all society20 in a state of barbarism; but it has been proved that genuine modesty is a characteristic of the Aino women.21 A literal English translation of the Kojiki, however, requires an abundant use of Latin in order to protect it from the grasp of the law in English-speaking Christendom. In Chamberlain's version, the numerous cesspools are thus filled up with a dead language, and the road is constructed for the reader, who likes the language of Edmund Spencer, of William Tyndale and of John Ruskin kept unsoiled.
The cruelty which marks this early stage shows that though moral codes did not exist, the Buddhist and Confucian missionary were for Japan necessities of the first order. Comparing the result to-day with the state of things in the early times, one must award high praise to Buddhism that it has made the Japanese gentle, and to Confucianism that it has taught the proprieties of life, so that the polished Japanese gentleman, as to courtesy, is in many respects the peer and at some external points the superior, of his European confrère.
Another fact, made repulsively clear, about life in ancient Japan, is that the high ideals of truth and honor, characteristic at least of the Samurai of modern times, were utterly unknown in the days of the kami. Treachery was common. Instances multiply on the pages of the Kojiki where friend betrayed friend. The most sacred relations of life were violated. Altogether these were the darkest ages of Japan, though, as among the red men of America, there were not wanting many noble examples of stoical endurance, of courage, and of power nobly exerted for the benefit of others.
The Rise of Mikadoism.
Nevertheless we must not forget that the men of the early age of the Kami no Michi conquered the aborigines by superior dogmas and fetiches, as well as by superior weapons. The entrance of these heroes, invaders from the highlands of the Asian continent, by way of Korea, was relatively a very influential factor of progress, though not so important as was the Aryan descent upon India, or the Norman invasion of England, for the aboriginal tribes were vastly lower in the scale of humanity than their subduers. Where they found savagery they introduced barbarism, which, though unlettered and based on the sword, was a vast improvement over what may be called the geological state of man, in which he is but slightly raised above the brutes.
For the proofs from the shell heaps, combined with the reflected evidences of folk-lore, show, that cannibalism22 was common in the early ages, and that among the aboriginal hill tribes it lingered after the inhabitants of the plain and shore had been subdued. The conquerors, who made themselves paramount over the other tribes and who developed the Kami religion, abolished this relic of savagery, and gave order where there had been chronic war. Another thing that impresses us because of its abundant illustrations, is the prevalence of human sacrifices. The very ancient folk-lore shows that beautiful maidens were demanded by the "sea-gods" in propitiation, or were devoured by the "dragons." These human victims were either chosen or voluntarily offered, and in some instances were rescued from their fate by chivalrous heroes23 from among the invaders.
These gods of the sea, who anciently were propitiated by the sacrifice of human beings, are the same to whom Japanese sailors still pray, despite their Buddhism. The title of the efficient victims was hitoga-shira, or human pillars. Instances of this ceremony, where men were lowered into the water and drowned in order to make the sure foundation for bridges, piers or sea-walls, or where they were buried alive in the earth in order to lay the right bases for walls or castles, are quite numerous, and most of the local histories contain specific traditions.24 These traditions, now transfigured, still survive in customs that are as beautiful as they are harmless. To reformers of pre-Buddhistic days, belongs the credit of the abolition of jun-shi, or dying with the master by burial alive, as well as of the sacrifice to dragons and sea-gods.
Strange as it may seem, before Buddhism captured and made use of Shint[=o] for its own purposes (just as it stands ready to-day to absorb Christianity by making Jesus one of the Palestinian avatars of the Buddha), the house or tribe of Yamato, with its claim to descent from the heavenly gods, and with its Mikado or god-ruler, had given to the Buddhists a precedent and potent example. Shint[=o], as a state religion or union of politics and piety, with its system of shrines and festivals, and in short the whole Kami no Michi, or Shint[=o] as we know it, from the sixth to the eighth century, was in itself (in part at least), a case of the absorption of one religion by another.
In short, the Mikado tribe or Yamato clan did, in reality, capture the aboriginal religion, and turn it into a great political machine. They attempted syncretism and succeeded in their scheme. They added to their own stock of dogma and fetich that of the natives. Only, while recognizing the (earth) gods of the aborigines they proclaimed the superiority of the Mikado as representative and vicegerent of Heaven, and demanded that even the gods of the earth, mountain, river, wind, and thunder and lightning should obey him. Not content, however, with absorbing and corrupting for political purposes the primitive faith of the aborigines, the invaders corrupted their own religion by carrying the dogma of the divinity and infallibility of the Mikado too far. Stopping short of no absurdity, they declared their chief greater even than the heavenly gods, and made their religion centre in him rather than in his alleged heavenly ancestors, or "heaven." In the interest of politics and conquest, and for the sake of maintaining the prestige of their tribe and clan, these "Mikado-reverencers" of early ages advanced from dogma to dogma, until their leader was virtually chief god in a great pantheon.
A critical native Japanese, student of the Kojiki and of the early writings, Professor Kumi, formerly of the Imperial University in T[=o]ki[=o], has brought to light abundant evidence to show that the aboriginal religion found by the Yamato conquerors was markedly different at many vital points, from that which was long afterward called Shint[=o].
If the view of recent students of anthropology be correct, that the elements dominating the population in ancient Japan were in the south, Malay; in the north, Aino; and in the central region, or that occupied by the Yamato men, Korean; then, these continental invaders may have been worshippers of Heaven and have possessed a religion closely akin to that of ancient China with its monotheism. It is very probable also that they came into contact with tribes or colonies of their fellow-continentals from Asia. These tribes, hunters, fishermen, or rude agriculturists—who had previously reached Japan—practised many rites and ceremonies which were much like those of the new invaders. It is certain also, as we have seen, that the Yamato men made ultimate conquest and unification of all the islanders, not merely by the superiority of their valor and of their weapons of iron, but also by their dogmas. After success in battle, and the first beginnings of rude government, they taught their conquered subjects or over-awed vassals, that they were the descendants of the heavenly gods; that their ancestors had come down from heaven; find that their chief or Mikado was a god. According to the same dogmatics, the aborigines were descendants of the earth-born gods, and as such must obey the descendants of the heavenly gods, and their vicegerent upon the earth, the Mikado.
Purification of Offences.
These heaven-descended Yamato people were in the main agriculturists, though of a rude order, while the outlying tribes were mostly hunters and fishermen; and many of the rituals show the class of crimes which nomads, or men of unsettled life, would naturally commit against their neighbors living in comparatively settled order. It is to be noted that in the god-way the origin of evil is to be ascribed to evil gods. These kami pollute, and pollution is iniquity. From this iniquity the people are to be purged by the gods of purification, to whom offerings are duly made.
He who would understand the passion for cleanliness which characterizes the Japanese must look for its source in their ancient religion. The root idea of the word tsumi, which Mr. Satow translated as "offence," is that of pollution. On this basis, of things pure and things defiling, the ancient teachers of Shint[=o] made their classification of what was good and what was bad. From the impression of what was repulsive arose the idea of guilt.
In rituals translated by Mr. Satow, the list of offences is given and the defilements are to be removed to the nether world, or, in common fact, the polluted objects and the expiatory sacrifices are to be thrown into the rivers and thence carried to the sea, where they fall to the bottom of the earth. The following norito clearly shows this. Furthermore, as Mr. Satow, the translator, points out, this ritual contains the germ of criminal law, a whole code of which might have been evolved and formulated under Shint[=o], had not Buddhism arrested its growth.
Amongst the various sorts of offences which may be committed in ignorance or out of negligence by heaven's increasing people, who shall come into being in the country, which the Sovran GRANDCHILD'S augustness, hiding in the fresh RESIDENCE, built by stoutly planting the HOUSE-pillars on the bottom-most rocks, and exalting the cross-beams to the plain of high heaven, as his SHADE from the heavens and SHADE from the sun, shall tranquilly ruin as a peaceful country, namely, the country of great Yamato, where the sun is soon on high, which he fixed upon as a peaceful country, as the centre of the countries of the four quarters thus bestowed upon him—breaking the ridges, filling up water-courses, opening sluices, double-sowing, planting stakes, flaying alive, flaying backwards, and dunging; many of such offences are distinguished as heavenly offences, and as earthly offences; cutting living flesh, cutting dead flesh, leprosy, proud-flesh, ... calamities of crawling worms, calamities of a god on high, calamities of birds on high, the offences of killing beasts and using incantations; many of such offences may be disclosed.
When he has thus repeated it, the heavenly gods will push open heaven's eternal gates, and cleaving a path with might through the manifold clouds of heaven, will hear; and the country gods, ascending to the tops of the high mountains, and to the tops of the low hills, and tearing asunder the mists of the high mountains and the mists of the low hills, will hear.
And when they have thus heard, the Maiden-of-Descent-into-the-Current, who dwells in the current of the swift stream which boils down the ravines from the tops of the high mountains, and the tops of the low hills, shall carry out to the great sea plain the offences which are cleared away and purified, so that there be no remaining offence; like as Shinato's wind blows apart the manifold clouds of heaven, as the morning wind and the evening wind blow away the morning mist and the evening mist, as the great ships which lie on the shore of a great port loosen their prows, and loosen their sterns to push out into the great sea-plain; as the trunks of the forest trees, far and near, are cleared away by the sharp sickle, the sickle forged with fire: so that there ceased to be any offence called an offence in the court of the Sovran GRANDCHILD'S augustness to begin with, and in the countries of the four quarters of the region under heaven.
And when she thus carries them out and away, the deity called the Maiden-of-the-Swift-cleansing, who dwells in the multitudinous meetings of the sea waters, the multitudinous currents of rough sea-waters shall gulp them down.
And when she has thus gulped them down, the lord of the Breath-blowing-place, who dwells in the Breath-blowing-place, shall utterly blow them away with his breath to the Root-country, the Bottom-country.
And when he has thus blown them away, the deity called the Maiden-of-Swift-Banishment, who dwells in the Root-country, the Bottom-country, shall completely banish them, and get rid of them.
And when they have thus been got rid of, there shall from this day onwards be no offence which is called offence, with regard to the men of the offices who serve in the court of the Sovran, nor in the four quarters of the region under heaven.
Then the high priest says:
Hear all of you how he leads forth the horse, as a thing that erects its ears towards the plain of high heaven, and deigns to sweep away and purify with the general purification, as the evening sun goes down on the last day of the watery moon of this year.
O diviners of the four countries, take (the sacrifices) away out to the river highway, and sweep them away.
Mikadoism Usurps the Primitive God-way.
A further proof of the transformation of the primitive god-way in the interest of practical politics, is shown by Professor Kumi in the fact that some of the festivals now directly connected with the Mikado's house, and even in his honor, were originally festivals with which he had nothing to do, except as leader of the worship, for the honor was paid to Heaven, and not to his ancestors. Professor Kumi maintains that the thanksgivings of the court were originally to Heaven itself, and not in honor of Amatéras[)u], the sun-goddess, as is now popularly believed. It is related in the Kojiki that Amatéras[)u] herself celebrated the feast of Niinamé. So also, the temple of Isé, the Mecca of Shint[=o], and the Holy shrine in the imperial palace were originally temples for the worship of Heaven. The inferior gods of earthly origin form no part of primitive Shint[=o].
Not one of the first Mikados was deified after death, the deification of emperors dating from the corruption which Shint[=o] underwent after the introduction of Buddhism. Only by degrees was the ruler of the country given a place in the worship, and this connection was made by attributing to him descent from Heaven. In a word, the contention of Professor Kumi is, that the ancient religion of at least a portion of the Japanese and especially of those in central Japan, was a rude sort of monotheism, coupled, as in ancient China, with the worship of subordinate spirits.
It is needless to say that such applications of the higher criticism to the ancient sacred documents proved to be no safer for the applier than if he had lived in the United States of America. The orthodox Shint[=o]ists were roused to wrath and charged the learned critic with "degrading Shint[=o] to a mere branch of Christianity." The government, which, despite its Constitution and Diet, is in the eyes of the people really based on the myths of the Kojiki, quickly put the professor on the retired list.25
It is probably correct to say that the arguments adduced by Professor Kumi, confirm our theory of the substitution in the simple god-way, of Mikadoism, the centre of the primitive worship being the sun and nature rather than Heaven.
Between the ancient Chinese religion with its abstract idea of Heaven and its personal term for God, and the more poetic and childlike system of the god-way, there seems to be as much difference as there is racially between the people of the Middle Kingdom and those of the Land Where the Day Begins. Indeed, the entrance of Chinese philosophical and abstract ideas seemed to paralyze the Japanese imagination. Not only did myth-making, on its purely æsthetic and non-utilitarian side cease almost at once, but such myths as were formed were for direct business purposes and with a transparent tendency. Henceforth, in the domain of imagination the Japanese intellect busied itself with assimilating or re-working the abundant material imported by Buddhism.
Ancient Customs and Usages.
In the ancient god-way the temple or shrine was called a miya. After the advent of Buddhism the keepers of the shrine were called kannushi, that is, shrine keepers or wardens of the god. These men were usually descendants of the god in whose honor the temples were built. The gods being nothing more than human founders of families, reverence was paid to them as ancestors, and so the basis of Shint[=o] is ancestor worship. The model of the miya, in modern as in ancient times, is the primitive hut as it was before Buddhism introduced Indian and Chinese architecture. The posts, stuck in the ground, and not laid upon stones as in after times, supported the walls and roof, the latter being of thatch. The rafters, crossed at the top, were tied along the ridge-pole with the fibres of creepers or wistaria vines. No paint, lacquer, gilding, or ornaments of any sort existed in the ancient shrine, and even to-day the modern Shint[=o] temple must be of pure hinoki or sun-wood, and thatched, while the use of metal is as far as possible avoided. To the gods, as the norito show, offerings of various kinds were made, consisting of the fruits of the soil, the products of the sea, and the fabrics of the loom.
Inside modern temples one often sees a mirror, in which foreigners with lively imaginations read a great deal that is only the shadow of their own mind, but which probably was never known in Shint[=o] temples until after Buddhist times. They also see in front of the unpainted wooden closets or casements, wands or sticks of wood from which depend masses or strips of white paper, cut and notched in a particular way. Foreigners, whose fancy is nimble, have read in these the symbols of lightning, the abode of the spirits and various forthshadowings unknown either to the Japanese or the ancient writings. In reality these gohei, or honorable offerings, are nothing more than the paper representatives of the ancient offerings of cloth which were woven, as the arts progressed, of bark, of hemp and of silk.
The chief Shint[=o] ministers of religion and shrine-keepers belonged to particular families, which were often honored with titles and offices by the emperor. In ordinary life they dressed like others of their own rank or station, but when engaged in their sacred office were robed in white or in a special official costume, wearing upon their heads the éboshi or peculiar cap which we associate with Japanese archæology. They knew nothing of celibacy; but married, reared families and kept their scalps free from the razor, though some of the lower order of shrine-keepers dressed their hair in ordinary style, that is, with shaven poll and topknot. At some of the more important shrines, like those at Isé, there were virgin priestesses who acted as custodians both of the shrines and of the relics.26
In front of the miyas stood what we should suppose on first seeing was a gateway. This was the torii or bird-perch, and anciently was made only of unpainted wood. Two upright tree-trunks held crosswise on a smooth tree-trunk the ends of which projected somewhat over the supports, while under this was a smaller beam inserted between the two uprights. On the torii, the birds, generally barn-yard fowls which were sacred to the gods, roosted. These creatures were not offered up as sacrifices, but were chanticleers to give notice of day-break and the rising of the sun. The cock holds a prominent place in Japanese myth, legend, art and symbolism. How this feature of pure Japanese architecture, the torii, afterward lost its meaning, we shall show in our lecture on Riy[=o]bu or mixed Buddhism.
Shint[=o]'s Emphasis on Cleanliness.
One of the most remarkable features of Shint[=o] was the emphasis laid on cleanliness. Pollution was calamity, defilement was sin, and physical purity at least, was holiness. Everything that could in any way soil the body or the clothing was looked upon with abhorrence and detestation. Disease, wounds and death were defiling, and the feeling of disgust prevailed over that of either sympathy or pity. Birth and death were especially polluting. Anciently there were huts built both for the mother about to give birth to a child, or for the man who was dying or sure to die of disease or wounds. After the birth of the infant or the death of the patient these houses were burned. Cruel as this system was to the woman at a time when she needed most care and comfort, and brutal as it seems in regard to the sick and dying, yet this ancient custom was continued in a few remote places in Japan as late as the year 1878.27 In modern days with equal knowledge of danger and defilement, tenderness and compassion temper the feeling of disgust, and prevail over it. Horror of uncleanliness was so great that the priests bathed and put on clean garments before making the sacred offerings or chanting the liturgies, and were accustomed to bind a slip of paper over their mouths lest their breath should pollute the offering. Numerous were the special festivals, observed simply for purification. Salt also was commonly used to sprinkle over the ground, and those who attended a funeral must free themselves from contamination by the use of salt.28 Purification by water was habitual and in varied forms. The ancient emperors and priests actually performed the ablution of the people or made public lustration in their behalf.
Afterwards, and probably because population increased and towns sprang up, we find it was customary at the festivals of purification to perform public ablution, vicariously, as it were, by means of paper mannikins instead of making applications of water to the human cuticle. Twice a year paper figures representing the people were thrown into the river, the typical meaning of which was that the nation was thereby cleansed from the sins, that is, the defilements, of the previous half-year. Still later, the Mikado made the chief minister of religion at Ki[=o]to his deputy to perform the symbolical act for the people of the whole country.
Prayers to Myriads of Gods.
In prayer, the worshipper, approaching the temple but not entering it, pulls a rope usually made of white material and attached to a peculiar-shaped bell hung over the shrine, calling the attention of the deity to his devotions. Having washed his hands and rinsed out his mouth, he places his hands reverently together and offers his petition.
Concerning the method and words of prayer, Hirata, a famous exponent of Shint[=o], thus writes:
As the number of the gods who possess different functions is so great, it will be convenient to worship by name only the most important and to include the rest in a general petition. Those whose daily affairs are so multitudinous that they have not time to go through the whole of the following morning prayers, may content themselves with adoring the residence of the emperor, the domestic kami-dana, the spirits of their ancestors, their local patron god and the deity of their particular calling in life.
In praying to the gods the blessings which each has it in his power to bestow are to be mentioned in a few words, and they are not to be annoyed with greedy petitions, for the Mikado in his palace offers up petitions daily on behalf of his people, which are far more effectual than those of his subjects.
Rising early in the morning, wash your face and hands, rinse out the mouth and cleanse the body. Then turn toward the province of Yamato, strike the palms of the hands together twice, and worship, bowing the head to the ground. The proper posture is that of kneeling on the heels, which is ordinarily assumed in saluting a superior.
From a distance I reverently worship with awe before Amé no Mi-hashira (Heaven-pillar) and Kuni no Mi-hashira (Country-pillar), also called Shinatsu-hiko no kami and Shinatsu-himé no kami, to whom is consecrated the Palace built with stout pillars at Tatsuta no Tachinu in the department of Héguri in the province of Yamato.
I say with awe, deign to bless me by correcting the unwitting faults which, seen and heard by you, I have committed, by blowing off and clearing away the calamities which evil gods might inflict, by causing me to live long like the hard and lasting rock, and by repeating to the gods of heavenly origin and to the gods of earthly origin the petitions which I present every day, along with your breath, that they may hear with the sharp-earedness of the forth-galloping colt.
To the common people the sun is actually a god, as none can doubt who sees them worshipping it morning and evening. The writer can never forget one of many similar scenes in T[=o]ki[=o], when late one afternoon after O Tent[=o] Sama (the sun-Lord of Heaven), which had been hidden behind clouds for a fortnight, shone out on the muddy streets. In a moment, as with the promptness of a military drill, scores of people rushed out of their houses and with faces westward, kneeling, squatting, began prayer and worship before the great luminary. Besides all the gods, supreme, subordinate and local, there is in nearly every house the Kami-dana or god-shelf. This is usually over the door inside. It contains images with little paper-covered wooden tablets having the god's name on them. Offerings are made by day and a little lamp is lighted at night. The following is one of several prayers which are addressed to this kami-dana.
Reverently adoring the great god of the two palaces of Isé, in the first place, the eight hundred myriads of celestial gods, the eight hundred myriads of terrestrial gods, all the fifteen hundred myriads of gods to whom are consecrated the great and small temples in all provinces, all islands and all places of the Great Land of Eight Islands, the fifteen hundreds of myriads of gods whom they cause to serve them, and the gods of branch palaces and branch temples, and Sohodo no kami, whom I have invited to the shrine set up on this divine shelf, and to whom I offer praises day by day, I pray with awe that they will deign to correct the unwitting faults, which, heard and seen by them, I have committed, and blessing and favoring me according to the powers which they severally wield, cause me to follow the divine example, and to perform good works in the Way.
Shint[=o] Left in a State of Arrested Development.
Thus from the emperor to the humblest believer, the god-way is founded on ancestor worship, and has had grafted upon its ritual system nature worship, even to phallicism.29 In one sense it is a self-made religion of the Japanese. Its leading characteristics are seen in the traits of the normal Japanese character of to-day. Its power for good and evil may be traced in the education of the Japanese through many centuries. Knowing Shint[=o], we to a large degree know the Japanese, their virtues and their failings.
What Shint[=o] might have become in its full evolution had it been left alone, we cannot tell. Whether in the growth of the nation and without the pressure of Buddhism, Confucianism or other powerful influences from outside, the scattered and fragmentary mythology might have become organized into a harmonious system, or codes of ethics have been formulated, or the doctrines of a future life and the idea of a Supreme Being with personal attributes have been conceived and perfected, are questions the discussion of which may seem to be vain. History, however, gives no uncertain answer as to what actually did take place. We do but state what is unchallenged fact, when we say, that after commitment to writing of the myths, poems and liturgies which may be called the basis of Shint[=o], there came a great flood of Chinese and Buddhistic literature and a tremendous expansion of Buddhist missionary activity, which checked further literary growth of the kami system. These prepared the way for the absorption of the indigenous into the foreign cultus under the form called by an enthusiastic emperor, Riy[=o]bu Shint[=o], or the "two-fold divine doctrine." Of this, we shall speak in another lecture.
Suffice it here to say that by the scheme of syncretism propounded by K[=o]b[=o] in the ninth century, Shint[=o] was practically overlaid by the new faith from India, and largely forgotten as a distinct religion by the Japanese people. As late as A.D. 927, there were three thousand one hundred and thirty-two enumerated metropolitan and provincial temples, besides many more unenumerated village and hamlet shrines of Shint[=o]. These are referred to in the revised codes of ceremonial law set forth by imperial authority early in the tenth century. Probably by the twelfth century the pure rites of the god-way were celebrated, and the unmixed traditions maintained, in families and temples, so few as to be counted on the fingers. The ancient language in which the archaic forms had been preserved was so nearly lost and buried, that out of the ooze of centuries of oblivion, it had to be rescued by the skilled divers of the seventeenth century. Mabuchi, Motöri and the other revivalists of pure Shint[=o], like the plungers after orient pearls, persevered until they had first recovered much that had been supposed irretrievably lost. These scholars deciphered and interpreted the ancient scriptures, poetry, prose, history, law and ritual, and once more set forth the ancient faith, as they believed, in its purity.
Whether, however, men can exactly reproduce and think for themselves the thoughts of others who have been dead for a millennium, is an open question. The new system is apt to be transparent. Just as it is nearly impossible for us to restore the religious life, thoughts and orthodoxy of the men who lived before the flood, so in the writings of the revivalists of pure Shint[=o] we detect the thoughts of Dutchmen, of Chinese, and of very modern Japanese. Unconsciously, those who would breathe into the dry bones of dead Shint[=o] the breath of the nineteenth century, find themselves compelled to use an oxygen and nitrogen generator made in Holland and mounted with Chinese apparatus; withal, lacquered and decorated with the art of to-day. To change from metaphor to matter of fact, modern "pure Shint[=o]" is mainly a mass of speculation and philosophy, with a tendency of which the ancient god-way knew nothing.
The Modern Revivalists of Kami no Michi.
Passing by further mention of the fifteen or more corrupt sects of Shint[=o]ists, we name with honor the native scholars of the seventeenth century, who followed the illustrious example of Iyéyas[)u], the political unifier of Japan. They ransacked the country and purchased from temples, mansions and farmhouses, old manuscripts and books, and forming libraries began anew the study of ancient language and history. Kéichu (1640-1701), a Buddhist priest, explored and illumined the poems of the Many[=o]shu. Kada Adzumar[=o], born in 1669 near Ki[=o]to, the son of a shrine-keeper at Inari, attempted the mastery of the whole archaic native language and literature. He made a grand beginning. He is unquestionably the founder of the school of Pure Shint[=o]. He died in 1736. His successor and pupil was Mabuchi (1697-1769), who claimed direct descent from that god which in the form of a colossal crow had guided the first chief of the Yamato tribe as he led his invaders through the country to found the line of Mikados. After Mabuchi came Motoöri (1730-1801) a remarkable scholar and critic, who, with erudition and acuteness, analyzed the ancient literature and showed what were Chinese or imported elements and what was of native origin. He summarized the principles of the ancient religion, reasserted and illuminated with amazing learning and voluminous commentary the archaic documents, expounded and defended the ancient cosmogony, and in the usual style of Japanese polemics preached anew the doctrines of Shint[=o]. With wonderful naïveté and enthusiasm, Motoöri taught that Japan was the first part of the earth created, and that it is therefore The Land of the Gods, the Country of the Holy Spirits. The stars were created from the muck which fell from the spear of Izanagi as he thrust it into the warm earth, while the other countries were formed by the spontaneous consolidation of the foam of the sea. Morals were invented by the Chinese because they were an immoral people, but in Japan there is no necessity for any system of morals, as every Japanese acts aright if he only consults his own heart. The duty of a good Japanese consists in obeying the Mikado, without questioning whether his commands are right or wrong. The Mikado is god and vicar of all the gods, hence government and religion are the same, the Mikado being the centre of Church and State, which are one. Did the foreign nations know their duty they would at once hasten to pay tribute to the Son of Heaven in Ki[=o]to.
It is needless here to dwell upon the tremendous power of Shint[=o] as a political system, especially when wedded with the forces, generated in the minds of the educated Japanese by modern Confucianism. The Chinese ethical system, expanded into a philosophy as fascinating as the English materialistic school of to-day, entered Japan contemporaneously with the revival of the Way of the Gods and of native learning. In full rampancy of their vigor, in the seventeenth century these two systems began that generation of national energy, which in the eighteenth century was consolidated and which in the nineteenth century, though unknown and unsuspected by Europeans or Americans, was all ready for phenomenal manifestation and tremendous eruption, even while Perry's fleet was bearing the olive branch to Japan. As we all know, this consolidation of forces from the inside, on meeting, not with collision but with union, the exterior forces of western civilization, formed a resultant in the energies which have made New Japan.
The Great Purification of 1870.
In 1870, with the Sh[=o]gun of Yedo deposed, the dual system abolished, feudalism in its last gasp and Shint[=o] in full political power, with the ancient council of the gods (Jin Gi Kuan) once more established, and purified Shint[=o] again the religion of state, thousands of Riy[=o]bu Shint[=o] temples were at once purged of all their Buddhist ornaments, furniture, ritual, and everything that might remind the Japanese of foreign elements. Then began, logically and actually, the persecution of those Christians, who through all the centuries of repression and prohibition had continued their existence, and kept their faith however mixed and clouded. Theoretically, ancient belief was re-established, yet it was both physically and morally impossible to return wholly to the baldness and austere simplicity of those early ages, in which art and literature were unknown. For a while it seemed as though the miracle would be performed, of turning back the dial of the ages and of plunging Japan into the fountain of her own youth. Propaganda was instituted, and the attempts made to convert all the Japanese to Shint[=o] tenets and practice were for a while more lively than edifying; but the scheme was on the whole a splendid failure, and bitter disappointment succeeded the first exultation of victory. Confronted by modern problems of society and government, the Mikado's ministers found themselves unable, if indeed willing, to entomb politics in religion, as in the ancient ages. For a little while, in 1868, the Jin Gi Kuan, or Council of the Gods of Heaven and Earth, held equal authority with the Dai J[=o] Kuan, or Great Council of the Government. Pretty soon the first step downward was taken, and from a supreme council it was made one of the ten departments of the government. In less than a year followed another retrograde movement and the department was called a board. Finally, in 1877, the board became a bureau. Now, it is hard to tell what rank the Shint[=o] cultus occupies in the government, except as a system of guardianship over the imperial tombs, a mode of official etiquette, and as one of the acknowledged religions of the country.
Nevertheless, as an element in that amalgam of religions which forms the creed of most Japanese, Shint[=o] is a living force, and shares with Buddhism the arena against advancing Christianity, still supplying much of the spring and motive to patriotism.
The Shint[=o] lecturers with unblushing plagiarism rifled the storehouses of Chinese ethics. They enforced their lessons from the Confucian classics. Indeed, most of their homiletical and illustrative material is still derived directly therefrom. Their three main official theses and commandments were:
1. Thou shalt honor the Gods and love thy country.
2. Thou shalt clearly understand the principles of Heaven, and the duty of man.
3. Thou shalt revere the Emperor as thy sovereign and obey the will of his Court.
For nearly twenty years this deliverance of the Japanese Government, which still finds its strongest support in the national traditions and the reverence of the people for the throne, sufficed for the necessities of the case. Then the copious infusion of foreign ideas, the disintegration of the old framework of society, and the weakening of the old ties of obedience and loyalty, with the flood of shallow knowledge and education which gave especially children and young people just enough of foreign ideas to make them dangerous, brought about a condition of affairs which alarmed the conservative and patriotic. Like fungus upon a dead tree strange growths had appeared, among others that of a class of violently patriotic and half-educated young men and boys, called Soshí. These hot-headed youths took it upon themselves to dictate national policy to cabinet ministers, and to reconstruct society, religion and politics. Something like a mania broke out all over the country which, in certain respects, reminds us of the Children's Crusade, that once afflicted Europe and the children themselves. Even Christianity did not escape the craze for reconstruction. Some of the young believers and pupils of the missionaries seemed determined to make Christianity all over so as to suit themselves. This phase of brain-swelling is not yet wholly over. One could not tell but that something like the Tai Ping rebellion, which disturbed and devastated China, might break out.
These portentous signs on the social horizon called forth, in 1892, from the government an Imperial Rescript, which required that the emperor's photograph be exhibited in every school, and saluted by all teachers and scholars whatever their religious tenets and scruples might be. Most Christians as well as Buddhists, saw nothing in this at which to scruple. A few, however, finding in it an offence to conscience, resigned their positions. They considered the mandate an unwarrantable interference with their rights as conferred by the constitution of 1889, which in theory is the gift of the emperor to his people.
The radical Shint[=o]ist, to this day, believes that all political rights which Japanese enjoy or can enjoy are by virtue of the Mikado's grace and benevolence. It is certain that all Japanese, whatever may be their religious convictions, consider that the constitution depends for its safeguards and its validity largely upon the oath which the Mikado swore at the shrine of his heavenly ancestors, that he would himself be obedient to it and preserve its provisions inviolate. For this solemn ceremony a special norito or liturgy was composed and recited.
Summary of Shint[=o].
Of Shint[=o] as a system we have long ago given our opinion. In its higher forms, "Shint[=o] is simply a cultured and intellectual atheism; in its lower forms it is blind obedience to governmental and priestly dictates." "Shint[=o]," says Mr. Ernest Satow, "as expounded by Motoöri is nothing more than an engine for reducing the people to a condition of mental slavery." Japan being a country of very striking natural phenomena, the very soil and air lend themselves to support in the native mind this system of worship of heroes and of the forces of nature. In spite, however, of the conservative power of the ancestral influences, the patriotic incentives and the easy morals of Shint[=o] under which lying and licentiousness shelter themselves, it is doubtful whether with the pressure of Buddhism, and the spread of popular education and Christianity, Shint[=o] can retain its hold upon the Japanese people. Yet although this is our opinion, it is but fair, and it is our duty, to judge every religion by its ideals and not by its failings. The ideal of Shint[=o] is to make people pure and clean in all their personal and household arrangements; it is to help them to live simply, honestly and with mutual good will; it is to make the Japanese love their country, honor their imperial house and obey their emperor. Narrow and local as this religion is, it has had grand exemplars in noble lives and winning characters.
So far as Shint[=o] is a religion, Christianity meets it not as destroyer but fulfiller, for it too believes that cleanliness is not only next to godliness but a part of it. Jesus as perfect man and patriot, Captain of our salvation and Prince of peace, would not destroy the Yamato damashii—the spirit of unconquerable Japan—but rather enlarge, broaden, and deepen it, making it love for all humanity. Reverence for ancestral virtue and example, so far from being weakened, is strengthened, and as for devotion to king and ruler, law and society, Christianity lends nobler motives and grander sanctions, while showing clearly, not indeed the way of the eight million or more gods, but the way to God—the one living, only and true, even through Him who said "I am the Way."
"Things being investigated, knowledge became complete; knowledge being complete, thoughts were sincere; thoughts being sincere, hearts were rectified; hearts being rectified, persons were cultivated; persons being cultivated, families were regulated; families being regulated, states were rightly governed; states being rightly governed, the whole nation was made tranquil and happy."
"When you know a thing to hold that you know it; and when you do not know a thing to allow that you do not know it; this is knowledge."
"Old age sometimes becomes second childhood; why should not filial piety become parental love?"
"The superior man accords with the course of the mean. Though he may be all unknown, unregarded by the world, he feels no regret. He is only the sage who is able for this."—Sayings of Confucius.
"There is, in a word, no bringing down of God to men in Confucianism in order to lift them up to Him. Their moral shortcomings, when brought home to them, may produce a feeling of shame, but hardly a conviction of guilt."—James Legge.
"Do not to others what you would not have them do to you."—The Silver Rule.
"All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them."—The Golden Rule.
"In respect to revenging injury done to master or father, it is granted by the wise and virtuous (Confucius) that you and the injurer cannot live together under the canopy of heaven."—Legacy of Iyéyas[)u], Cap. iii, Lowder's translation.
"But I say unto you forgive your enemies."—Jesus.
"Thou, O Lord, art our father, our redeemer, thy name is from everlasting."—Isaiah.