I now know why I came here ~

Sometimes you don’t know why you do something until you’ve done it.

I came to Japan to research the practices of Ninja.

I now realise I came to Japan to discover Shinto.

Shinto is a uniquely Japanese religion that many say is not a religion at all, because at its essence there is no founder -no Buddha or Jesus or Mohammed – there’s no Bible or Koran or Vedas or Bhagavad Gita.

It’s an ancient religion that’s the closest thing I’ve found to the New Age movement,

it’s not monotheist but pantheistic, and nature based.

It doesn’t believe in sin.

It doesn’t believe you have to suffer to achieve salvation.

It believes in the inherent perfection of each individual soul.

It believes that Kami – the universal god force – is not only all that is, but is also within each of us and we can achieve union with that god force through right thought and action and purification.

Shinto speaks of the horizontal nature of life and death, whereas Christianity and many other religions speak of the vertical nature of life and death.

The vertical view is that there is a heaven above us and a hell below us, metaphorically, and we have to rise to reach God. And if we don’t we fall into the fiery pits of hell.

The horizontal view is that heaven is all around us, in different realms, and God is within us.

What does all this have to do with Ninja?

At their core, all Japanese martial arts are spiritually based. That’s what I came to Japan to research. The underlying spirituality of Ninja. Because in my writing, that’s the wellspring of character.

Many of you who follow this blog might think there is a disconnect between my work on intuition, expressed in my movie PGS, and my work on modern day witchcraft, expressed in my Palace of Fires thriller trilogy, the first book of which is to be published by Penguin Random House in January.

They are different aspects of the same themes I’m exploring.

One informs the other.

And they will appeal to different people, different age groups, different sensibilities.

But at their essence, they’re exploring the same stuff.

In future posts I’ll write more about Shinto, which I find fascinating, and which I’ve just briefly touched on here. And I’ll also write more about the inter-connectedness of PGS and Palace of Fires.

If you’re interested in learning more about Shinto, a good starter is The Essence of Shinto, by Motohisa Yamakage.

I leave Japan later today to resume normal duties getting PGS out to the world.

And now I know why I came here.

15 thoughts on “I now know why I came here ~

  1. Dear Bill,

    I have this book on my book shelf, and I love the Shinto way – the Kami, the deep understanding of the nature realms, the recognition of the spirits of nature and all the spirits who share our earthly realm. I am so, so happy for you that you have encountered this profound ‘way’. Raphael, who, by the way, studies ninjitsu, can’t wait to hear about anything you discover on the ninjas!

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  2. How very fascinating… maybe I should look into this… I love the nature based aspect…
    Light and Love Ingrid

    p.s. ok this has nothing to do with the blog, however you have known me now (most of you) since 2013 and some of you know I have a bit of a thespian in me… my latest performance (and it is truly my swan song on this monologue) in the Vagina Monologues is now posted on youtube. Intro to my monologue starts 10 minutes in…. it’s your 1 chance to see me on stage. https://youtu.be/LFwuuzdsfo8

    Bill feel free to delete this. Hugs

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  3. So, Bill, it’s not enough with Buddhism, PGS and the many aspects of intuition that you’ve introduced us to … now we also need to delve into Shinto and Kami with you … at least you’re never boring as a friend!! Love and hugs and hope whatever the court system says here in Sydney, we can meet up soon 🙂

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  4. I’ve always felt drawn to Shinto, but I’ve never known why. It just pulls at my heart in that peculiar way that some things do. Unfortunately I’ve never given in to that pull and studied it, possibly because it’s called a religion – and I just don’t «do» religion. Other people may do as they please, but I’m firmly anti-religious and even more pro-spirituality. It needs to be personal and true and come from the heart, anything else feels false. It’s far from easy, but it is very rewarding. And now I need that book…

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  5. Shinto speaks of the horizontal nature of life and death, whereas Christianity and many other religions speak of the vertical nature of life and death

    I think that both religions speak of these things both horizontally and vertically, but in a somewhat different manner that you allude to here.

    Shinto and Christianity are probably the closest to each other in their Spirituality between the major Eastern and Western religions — but you’re right, Bill, about the deep horizontality of Shinto in relation to the material perception of reality in comparison to most Western Spiritual or philosophical beliefs.

    Death in Shinto is essentially social, whereas in Christianity it is fundamentally personal.

    You’ve put it very well by defining this as a dichotomy of the vertical vs horizontal.

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