Women Status And Eastern Religions Essay

1864 words - 8 pages

Women Status and Eastern Religions

The Eastern religions are a major part of the world religions. They have a significant influence on the women status. We will try to examine Korea’s Shamanism, Japan’s Shintoism, and India’s Buddhism and attempt to see how women status be change throughout the course of the time.

Since two thousand five hundred BCE, Shamanism is an indigenous religion in Korea. Shaman is a medium between the physical and spiritual worlds. Typically, Shamans are mostly women. They are responsible to contact spirits, to obtain wisdom, guidance, future knowledge, healing cures, and good fortune. In order to becoming a Shaman, there are three steps. First, ...view middle of the document...

A typical ritual is divided into three segments. Different spirits will speak in each segment. The Mountain God/Mother Goddess speaks first. Ancestral spirits will be second. The warriors and officials (civic leaders from the past) will speak last. Mostly, the Shaman will pray for fertility and the children’s health. After each segments, the Shaman will change her cloth that will represent different spirit. In ancient times, Shamans were respected but in modern times they are looked at suspicion and discrimination. It is because this was traditionally an “outcast” (chonmin) profession requiring women to sing and dance in other people’s houses like courtesans and dancing girls, embarrassing their kin and compromising their children’s and grandchildren’s future marriage prospects (Marcos, 96). The physical, emotional, and economic demands of shamanship are a reason for resistance. Accepting a divine calling requires a total life commitment, and shamans who break their relationship with their spirit risk illness and serious misfortune, afflicting both themselves and their families (Marcos, 97). Also the modern science thinks the shaman and shamanism is unscientific and superstition. The Korean women status steadily decline throughout the course of the history. Recently, Korean Shamanism is making a comeback as a treasured national cultural phenomenon and is taught in universities. The modern feminist movement has promoted female roles outside the home. It helps accepting female shamans.

Shinto is an indigenous religion of Japan. The essence of Shino is a communion with the Divine energies of Nature. Japanese call their divine energies are Kami. It means gods. Shinto means the way of the gods or Kami. In beautiful settings in nature, a space is marked out – purify space stones, rectangular shapes, carpet space with pebbles. At each corner, pillars are put up, ropes connecting pillars, pieces of rice paper placed on rapes. These things will purify the space. Over the course of time, shrine or torii may be built at the purified space. In the earliest shrine, it is a very simple construction thatched roof or pillars. Inside the shrine, alter mirror represents an invisible Kami. Water stream or basin is outside of the shrine. Using the water to wash the hands and mouth, it is a part of purification rituals. When people go in and out of the shrine, they will need to bow and clap. These gestures notify the Kami in the shrine that the people are coming or leaving of the shrine. The Shinto priests are a communion with the nature spirits, and the clan deities or deceased ancestors – guardian spirits of family. In the early times, there is lot more of female priests in Japan. Each clan has their own priest. The position of the priest is hereditary. Shinto believes the divine energies – hundred of Kami – will help the planet growth, change the seasons, create the water ways and earthquakes, and control all in nature. ...

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