Comparison chart

Hinduism versus Shinto comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartHinduismShinto
Place of worship Temple (Mandir) Shrines.
Place of origin Indian Subcontinent Japan
Practices Meditation, yoga, contemplation, yagna (communal worship), offerings in the temple. Visit to shrines to pay homage to Shinto deities; Shamanism, etc.
Use of statues and pictures Common Permitted.
Belief of God Many gods, but realize that they all come from Atman. Numerous deities.
Goal of religion To break the cycle of birth, death and reincarnation, and attain salvation. To serve the Shinto deities, or Kami, as they are known.
Life after death A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached. Yomi
Clergy No official clergy. Gurus, Yogis, Rishis, Brahmins, Pundits, priests, priestesses, monks, and nuns. Priests, miko, etc.
Founder Not credited to a particular founder. No founder.
Literal Meaning The followers of Vedas are called as Arya, noble person. Arya is not a dynasty, ethnicity or race. Anyone who follows the teachings of Vedas is considered Arya. The Way of the gods.
Scriptures Vedas, Upanishad, Puranas, Gita. Smrti and Sruti are oral scriptures. Kojiki, Nihon Shoki
Means of salvation Reaching enlightenment by the Path of Knowledge, the Path of devotion, or the Path of Good Deeds. By serving the Kami.
View of the Buddha Some Hindu sects claim Buddha was an avatar of Vishnu. Others believe he was a holy man. Buddha is followed by many Shintoists.
Original Language(s) Sanskrit Japanese
Geographical distribution and predominance Mainly in India, Nepal and Mauritius. Has significant population in Fiji, Bhutan, UAE, etc. Shinto has influenced Japan for several millenia, with the height appearing before World War 2
Belief Diverse beliefs depending on sects. Shinto is both a religion and way of life of Japan. Numerous kami (gods/goddesses/spirits).
Followers Hindus. Shintoists.
Marriage Man may marry one woman. However, kings in mythology often married more than one woman. Between one man and one woman.
Confessing sins Repentance for unintentional sins are prescribed, but intentional sins have to be repaid through karmic consequences. Shinto has harae (purifying rites), which can be performed with water, salt, or a stick with paper dangling from its end.
About Devotion to the various gods & goddesses of Hinduism. Refers to the indigenous religion of Japan. With Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism entering into Japan, the Japanese wanted to ensure that their older religious traditions were preserved, so they named it, and made it the official religion of Japan.
Religious Law Dharma shastras N/A
Second coming of Jesus N/A. N/A.
Definition The word Hindu has geographical significance and was used originally for those people who lived beyond the river Sindhu or the region watered by the river Indus. Hindus themselves, call their religion "Sanatana Dharma, " meaning "Eternal Law." Way of the gods.
Status of women Women can become priestesses or nuns. Women are given equal rights as men. Women may become priestesses. But are still seen as less than men
Concept of God God is in everything and everything is God. Numerous deities.
Symbols Om, Swastika, etc. The Torii gate reliligous symbol, mark the entrance to sacred space. Representing the transition between the finite world and the infinite world of the gods.
View of Oriental religions Buddhism and Jainism were considered sister religions by traditional Hindu schools. Buddhists do not consider Buddha an avatar of Vishnu and believe that Hindu priests made that claim to stem the spread of Buddhism, which threatened Hinduism. Although Shinto became organized, in order to prevent being overtaken by Buddhism or any other religion, it sees no contradiction in belonging to any other religion.
Day of worship Orthodox schools prescribe three prayer times a day: at dawn, noon and dusk. N/A
Prophets No prophets, but Rishis could be considered equivalent in Vedic times. Avataras of Vedic God are different from human reincarnations, but could be considered equivalent to Christian idea of God in flesh. N/A
Position of Abraham N/A. N/A.
Angels The concept of angels does not apply in Hinduism. Some mythological stories include rishis, who sometimes serve as the messengers of God. Shintoists worship numerous spirits, called Kami.
Principle To follow dharma, i.e. eternal laws The essence of Shinto is the Japanese devotion to invisible spiritual beings and powers called kami, to shrines, and to various rituals.
View of Dharmic religions Believe that Buddhism, Jainism, & Sikhism should reunite with Hinduism. Buddhism is practiced by most Shintoists.
Population 1 Billion. From 4 Million to 110 Million, debated. Most people that practice Shinto also practice Buddhism.
Views on Other Religions Some scriptures say the path they describe is the only path to God and salvation. Other scriptures are more philosophical than religious. Beliefs vary. Some believe that all spiritual paths lead to the same God. Shintoists usually follow Buddhism or another religion too.
Time of origin circa 3000 B.C.E Approx. 700 B.C.
Holy days/Official Holidays Diwali, Holi, Janmashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi, etc. The Japanese national holidays, as well as local shrine festivals (matsuri).
Branches Shaivism and Vaishnavism State Shinto, Religious Shinto, and Folk Shinto.
Can atheists partake in this religion's practices? Yes. No.
Rites Some Hindus believe in a "thread ceremony" for men. Shamanism.
Use of statues, images Common. Permitted.
Religion which atheists may still be adherents of Charvakas and Sankyas are atheistic groups in Hinduism. Hinduism is the only religion which accepts atheism. Yes: Shinto does not require belief to be necessary for a practitioner.
Place and Time of origin Indian Subcontinent, beginning with the Vedic civilization circa 3000 BC Approx. 2,700 years ago in Japan
Use of statues Allowed, but not compulsory Permitted.
Virtue(s) in which religion is based upon Follow dharma (righteouness), eternal law. Cleanliness/ Purity, Respect.
Geographical predominance India, Nepal Japan, Hawaii

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