In tune with lively places

  • Chi Hsu

Taoist Temples in Formosa | 你家大門附近的廟

吉客鏈:道教信仰 X 寺廟文化 X 吉客台灣


People's belief systems are influenced by religions. The main religions in the world are Judaism, Christianity (Christianity, Catholicism, Orthodox and Protestant), Brahmanism, Islam, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism and Shinto.


During this pandemic I stayed in Taiwan, which was called 'Formosa' in the Age of Navigation by Portugal, and learned more local history and visited old areas. Temples are always there.


One time, I took my 10-year-old nephew to Taipei's Confucius Temple and he said: The old street was formed initially because a temple was built there. Whoa! Seems like he is a good student on the culture subject at school.



What kind of the temple? Taoism


The more temples I see, the more questions I have. By searching google, I realized that the major religion in Formosa is Taoism (Note 1).so most of temples are Taoist.


I'm also found a 'business chart' (Note 2) with a clear explanation of the polytheist structure of Taoist gods and goddesses. Could you believe how many deities we have here? Temple services and activities are becoming the significant culture reference point and now a unique tourist attraction in Taiwan.



The Fourth Place in Daily Life


In Taiwan, the temple seems to become the fourth place to visit by local people after home, office (school) and leisure/shopping center. For me, not so often! But every now and then.


(From the chart at Note 2) God as CEO - the Jade Emperor


The 9th day of Lunar New Year is its birthday. My parents always visit his temple for prayer. In the recent years, I'v liked to stay at my parents' house until Jade Emperor's birthday. To accompany my parents to worship it is as a part of my CNY's celebrating.


(Photo Credit | Chi Hsu @ 靈霄寶殿(天公廟), Tsoying, Kaohsiung)


Doesn't the scene feel harmonious as to see the Jade Emperor looking down on his people and listening to people's prayers?


There are the other two types of temple that my family often visit: the Temple of Wenchang Dijun and Tudigong. Those are in the subsidiary system of Taoist polytheism.


The God of Culture and Literature - Wenchang Dijun (文昌帝君)


It is a very helpfull god for students. The goal of its encouragement, is to have a Wenchang brush. To have the prize one has to assure its permission by tossed the divinative blocks. My sis-in-law Arwen helped her kids to worship with the Wenchang Dijun.


(Photo Credit | Chi Hsu @ 啟明堂, Tsoying, Kaohsiung)



Lord of the Soil and the Ground - Tudigong(土地公)


TuiDiGong ranked as the Lord of the Soil and the Ground. Simply, it settled in people's neighbourhood. You passed its shrine and worshipped it for the business and safety and healthy. The walking distance is just like the visit to grandpa's house. The most close and friendly god with the ordinary people.


(Photo Credit | Chi Hsu @ Greater Taipei)



What to Worship in Taoism


Worship is an act of religious devotion usually directed towards a deity. An act of worship may be performed individually, in an informal or formal group. Such acts may involve honoring. (Source: WIKI)


Most people nowadays have already simplified the thank offerings at taoist temples. People prepare some spirit money, joss paper and blessing fruits such as: apple (safety), pineapple (prosperity), orange (good fortune),banana (welcome) etc..


(Photo Credit | Chi Hsu @ 靈霄寶殿(天公廟), Tsoying, Kaohsiung)


However, if a formal group worships, the thank offerings would be some bakery-made turtle and peach buns. Those shaped bakery items would require a specialist to do them. I met a couple who carried on this business. Also, I heard of a local design studio inspired by the temple elements to create very funky items at my hometown - Tsoying.


(Photo Credit | Yenchi Wu)



A Blessed Harmony


The temple is a religious place to make people de-stressed and also a cultural space to stimulate people with ideas.


I enjoy being in tune with lively temple and its related events. My mum is a very devoted taoist. While we went to worship the gods together, she gave a small donation and took some of bracelets to bless them.


(Photo Credit | Chi Hsu)


I had one of those to wear. Somehow I could feel the supporting and harmonious spirit from inside of me.


Note 1: (Source: Wiki) Taoism (/ˈtaʊ-/), or Daoism (/ˈdaʊɪzəm/, /ˈdaʊ-/), is a philosophical tradition of Chinese origin which emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao (Chinese: ; pinyin: Dào; lit. 'Way', or Dao). The Tao is a fundamental idea in most Chinese philosophical schools; in Taoism, however, it denotes the principle that is the source, pattern and substance of everything that exists. Taoism differs from Confucianism by not emphasizing rigid rituals and social order, but is similar in the sense that it is a teaching about the various disciplines for achieving "perfection" by becoming one with the unplanned rhythms of the universe called "the way" or "tao."


Note 2: (Source | Google search, English note by Chi Hsu)




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