Shinto Shrines

Situated as they are on the famous, earthquake-prone "ring of fire," namely the geologically unstable volcanic rim of the Pacific Ocean, the islands of Japan offer terrain quite unsuited to the monumental kind of lofty religious structures of masonry that Christians and Muslims have so spectacularly raised in their native lands.

    In a manner resistant to the damage of frequent earthquakes, Japanese religious architects - the architects of Shinto - have traditionally constructed many of their most important structures of wood and other such highly perishable materials, while emphasizing the harmonious blending of relatively low-rise religious buildings into the beauty of natural surroundings that are, precisely because of their striking natural beauty, conceived to be allodynamically potent.

    Thus, while the traditions of Christianity and Islam have been to build imperishably of stone and then simply to maintain what has been so built, the architectural tradition of Shinto has been to build many deliberately less permanent structures of such materials as wood, rope, and paper, but then periodically to renew them at some appropriate interval of years. The net effect of these two quite different approaches to providing architectural facilities for access to allodynes is however very similar: Shinto's shrines, no less than the masonry churches and mosques of Christianity and Islam, have endured the passage of many centuries with great conservatism in regard to both their form and function as loci of human communion with allodynes.
    In the lower portion of this aerial photograph of the Shinto shrine at Ise - the Ise-jingu on southern Honshu Island - in its recurring vicesimal year, the entire compound including its fence is being exactly replicated, after which the old structures seen above it in the photograph will be removed. The same procedure has been carried out traditionally every twentieth year for many centuries, all the structures of the shrine and its four-fold fence being recreated once again on the same ground where it stood two decades earlier, five times in a century.


Examples of Architecture for Access to Allodynes . . .
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