Page:Occult Japan - Lovell.djvu/38

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The Japanese thus conceive themselves the great-grandchildren of their own gods. Their Mikado they look upon as the lineal descendant of Niniginomikoto, the first God Emperor of Japan. And the gods live in heaven much as men, their children, do on earth. The concrete quality of the Japanese mind has barred abstractions on the subject. The gods have never so much as laid down a moral code. "Obey the Mikado," and otherwise "follow your own heart" is the sum of their commands; as parental injunctions as could well be framed. So is the attitude of the Japanese toward their gods filially familiar, an attitude which shocks more teleologic faiths, but in which they themselves see nothing irreverent. In the same way their conception of a future life is that of a definite immaterial extension of the present one.

To foreign students in consequence, Shintō has seemed little better than the ghost of a belief, far too insubstantial a body of faith to hold a heart. To ticket its gods and pigeon-hole its folk-lore has appeared to be the end of a study of its cult.

Nor is its outward appearance less unin-