Xu Wenfung wrote:
He was a shinto devotee, not buddhist as far as I know.
Saying he is buddhist may be like saying the Pope is an Anglican and the archbishop of Cantebury is a Catholic. This being the closest analogy I can come out at the moment.
This is probably something for the "spirituality" section, but oh well.
Xu, you're kind of
right. Oomoto kyo, the sect that O-sensei was a part of is probably best classified as Shinto-Buddhist syncretism, that is, it combines elements of both, but is not really one or the other. But this could also be said about most Japanese religion. According to the CIA World Fact Book
84% of Japanese people observe both shinto and buddhism. So basically, Japanese religion works differently than Christianity in that you can be both Buddhist and Shinto at the same time. So this could not only apply to O-sensei, but to many of the founding figures of aikido, and to Japanese aikidoka today. So yes, he was Shinto, and yes he was Buddhist. If the pope were japanese he could be both the pope and the archbishop of canturbury.
Just kidding .
But I should also mention, that the doctrine of "no-self" is probably more important in Buddhist doctrine and exegesis than when it comes to the day-to-day Buddhism of Japanese people. So maybe my point is really pointless.