"Kami" and God

In Doukun, Seigan and so on, the word "kami", "hotoke" are used. These are difficult words to understand because the concept of them are not familiar to European people.The author of this site would like to give some explanation about these words. The explanation below is not an official explanation of WSKO. Shorinji Kempo organization is not responsible for any of the following explanations.
For more explanation, ask the author of this site.


Buddha and kami

First, Buddha is not a god. It is a name to call a person who achieved spiritual enlightenment. Siddhartha was the first Buddha in the history. He was a man born in India and thought deeply about saving himself out of suffering. He sought the enlightenment to save himself, not necessarily to save others. At last he achieved spiritual enlightenment which could release him from all the worldly desires and worries.

But he did not left commandment by which ordinary people can emancipate themselves from them. His way of getting enlightenment was so difficult for ordinary people. According to his teaching, one has to be enlightened through ones effort, deep self reflection and knowledge of the truth. Very few man can be enlightened by this way.

On the other hand there were some people who were thinking of saving others or to be saved by superior power other than themselves. Some of those people began to think that they might be saved by worshipping Buddha as a Kami. Kami is not the creator but is thought to be a spiritual entity and to have super power. With Buddha's super power they wanted to be saved.

This teaching, "you will be saved if you believe in Buddha", was so strong that it prevailed all over the eastern world. Thus, Buddha became one of kami.


Hotoke and human

Buddha is a name to name a person who achieved spiritual enlightenment. This means that everyone has a chance to be a Buddha. Therefore it is said that everyone has the mind same to that of Buddha in deep core of ones heart. "Our soul is the same to Buddha's in nature"in Doukun comes from this background.

"Hotoke" is a Japanese term to call Buddha, but it has wider meaning to cover. For example, "Hotoke" is used not only to name Buddha himself but also name a spiritually clean and extremely self established person. (Of course there are some school which do not tolerate to call such person "Hotoke".)

And sometimes "Hotoke"means a person wise enough to raise himself to the state of spiritual enlightenment. In Seiku, "Hotoke" is used in this sense.


Kami and God

Kami is sometimes translated into English word "god". But as is explained above, Kami is not the creator, it is a conceptual existence which is believed to have some super power. It may be similar to Grecian gods.

In the modern monotheistic religion, God is the only one entity who has the super power to create all the things existing in the world, or even the world itself.

On the other hand, there are many kamis. This may be unacceptable to those who believe in the monotheistic religion. However, Shorinji Kempo or Kongo zen is basically stand on original Buddhism, therefore it does not force to believe in only one God. But at the same time it does not force its learners to abandon believing in only one God.


(C)Copy right, K.Hayashi. This site was written and developed by Keijiro Hayashi in 1998. The same Keijiro Hayashi maintained and improved this site during the years: 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 continues to do so, and reserves all rights associated with the structure of this site and the information available on this site.