The Religions of Japan
A thousand years of training in the ethics of Confucius... have so tinged and colored every conception of the Japanese mind, so dominated their avenues of understanding and shaped their modes of thought, that to-day, notwithstanding the recent marvellous development of their language... it is impossible with perfect accuracy to translate into English the ordinary Japanese terms which are congregated under the general idea of Kun-shin. -from "The Chinese Ethical System in Japan" Abroad in Japan in the early 1870s, American educator and theologian William Elliot Griffis explored the nation's monasteries, temples, and shrines and steeped himself in the landscape's rich heritage of myth and legend, and while he was studying Shinto and Buddhism, he was also introducing his new Japanese friends and students to Christianity. This lyrical work of cross-cultural investigation, first published in 1895, discusses the history of spirituality in Japan-from ancient magic and mythical monsters to the modern faiths that rule the culture-but it is as valuable today for its illumination of the Western mind encountering the then-newly opened East as it is for its erudition. Also available from Cosimo Classics: Griffis's Sunny Memories of Three Pastorates. American author WILLIAM ELLIOT GRIFFIS (1843-1912) was born in Philadelphia. He is also the author of Welsh Fairy Tales, The Firefly's Lovers, The Unmannerly Tiger, Brave Little Holland, and Bonnie Scotland.
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