(5/2/17) --- I always find amazing The Legend of Zelda, it’s always fascinating to see the inspirations that were taken from the real world and implemented in the game.
Within Breath of the Wild, the game imagery has been fully expanded and the players can see the parallelism between the different beliefs systems' around Hyrule and how they reflect the ones that are on our planet.
We can see the Hylians are under the inspiration of some form of Christianity symbolism, mostly is reflected on their architecture in which the Temple of Time is incredibly similar to a medieval church, at least we can see it on the remains of the edification but also if we go to the different regions we can notice other influence such as the Zora's being inspired by some form of Hellenic architecture, Gerudos being inspired by the Manazan just to name a few, but what it got my attention is the influence of Edo architecture and Buddhist mythology that is seen within the Sheikah's but there is still the polytheistic tones towards the Golden Goddesses and Hylia as a central figure.
The function of the Shrines has a parallel to Buddhism in which is a holy resting place, but also is the location in which the saints were placed to die to create a sacred barrier that would help the champion.
What is fascinating is how the Sheikahs beyond their approach to technology and magic, where also focused on the esoteric aspect that conforms the religious mythos of Hyrule in which there were 120 Arhats that devoted their lives to serve the Goddess Hylia and her reincarnation Zelda.
|Inside the Shrine|
What is fascinating about the general religion of Hyrule is that follows a mix between Buddhism, but is difficult to determine which branch follows as well some elements of Christianity; is good to notice that reincarnation is revered and is seen towards the different ages, in which it had developed a cult like type that seems the Sheikahs act as the guardians of the different avatars of the Goddess Hylian, but over the eons the cult extended and Sheikahs were bestowed abilities of sight as well to create a holy ground after their passing, much as if it was a requirement to achieve sainthood.
The gift of sight that many of the Sheikah saints profess to have, thanks to a blessing by the Hylia is a common theme within certain Dharmic spiritual traditions, such as Buddhism and Hinduism in which is related to the realms of a higher conscious in which the person who is trying to achieve sainthood of Buddhahood gains a form of spiritual perception that is linked towards their surroundings.
We as players we must notice one component of the story behind the shrines and the monks, they were placed there to die, much as their real-life counterparts. We should imagine that the shrines are extremely humid places and lack some oxygen in which a body won't decompose fully but rather would mummify if any natural component such as sand was used previously.
Even so, if we see it from a further perspective, the monks were placed there to die as there are no exit from their chambers. They were placed there as the ultimate sacrifice in the name of their dearest Goddess and their beliefs for a peaceful tomorrow all in the expense of their own lives. It is quite dramatic to mention it that way but there aren't reference in-game about the construction or formation of the shrines, but it gives a clue based on how the game lore mimics some of the real-world ones.