Thursday, May 15, 2014

Taoist Festivals

Taoism using the term "birthday" of gods and immortals as festivals. The ninth day of the first lunar month of every year is considered as the "birthday" of the Jade Emperor of Heaven, the nineteenth day of the first lunar month is considered as the "birthday" of Qiu Chuji and the eighteenth day of the fourth month is considered as the "birthday" of Lord Bixia, etc.

On those dates, the Fasting and Sacrificial Ceremonies are held and the alter is set up for Taoists to chant sutras. When the "birthday" of Lord Bixia arrives, there are multitudes of pilgrims who come to Tai Mountain to offer incense and to pledge a vow. On the twenty-eighth day of the third lunar month, the "birthday" of the Great Emperor of Tai Mountain, a large-scale temple festival is recognized. This special Taoist ceremony has been recognized ever since the Song and Yuan Dynasties.


Taoist Philosophy

Although some similarities between Taoist philosophy and psychology, one feature becomes very likely when comparing Taoist and psychological approaches to the idea of self-transformation. Many psychological techniques, such as psychoanalysis, rely completely as a methodology.

This aversion to language as a tool for self-expression, Taoists learned to use other methods of self-expression. The art of calligraphy, for instance, seeks to express certain qualities using written symbols and exactly what is said is not the only important factor. The true beauty in calligraphy is found in the lettering itself.


Generally, the ideas of Taoism have been expressed in painting, poetry, fables, legends, and even in medicine and the martial arts. Since it is an inherent truth of Taoism that nothing very bold can ever be said about it.Taoist ideas have assumed a covert and ambiguous character over the centuries.



Religious Taoism came in time to have its own chapel of Taoist gods who are worshipped to this day in temples by the various Taoist faiths. These gods may be described as correlatives of human and natural attributes and there are various different rituals and ceremonies attached to the different goddess. Many of these goddess and rituals attached to them are also linked to the group religions and practices of China with a chapel of group goddess of their own.

Some of the major goddess in religious Taoism include
Yu-huang, or the Jade Emperor, who is considered to be the great High God of the Taoists. Yu-huang is marked as the ruler of Heaven. He is also considered to be the ruler of all the other gods who in turn must report to him.

The Taoist pantheon also includes gods who seem to come in hand with the Three Pure Ones, the Three Official Gods, and the Eight Immortals come easily to mind. Three Pure Ones include Yu-ch'ing or Pure Jade, Shang-ching, the Most Pure, and T'ai-ching, the Great Pure One.

The Three Official Gods are T'ien-kuan, the ruler of heaven, Ti-kuan, Ruler of the earth, and Shui-kuan who rules the water. Each of the three have, in addition certain roles to play in the lives of humans. T'ien-kuan grants happiness and prosperity, Ti-kuan forgives humans of their sins, and Shui-kuan grants protection from evil.

The most popular Taoist goddess are the pa-hsien or
Eight Immortals who were once historical human characters who became gods. The only feminine goddess among the eight is Ho-hsien ku the patron saint of women.

Sunday, May 4, 2014


All pictures are from google images.

The Cultural Survival of the Tao

Orchid Island - Nuclear Waste and the Yami

Orchid Island's high peaks are densely forested and covered with the flower that gives it its name. The island is only 15 km². The Yami tribe, less than 3,000 in number, live on Orchid Island, harvesting sweet potatoes and taro, raising pigs and goats and fishing the waters of the Pacific.

During the Japanese occupation of Taiwan, anthropologists from Japan purposely isolated Orchid Island's Yami from any modern influences, setting up a kind of living museum of stone-age culture.

For the past few decades contemporary problems have come to the island. Now, humankind's most potentially horrifying creations, nuclear power and its accompanying waste, are threatening to turn the Yami's paradise into a nightmare.

Migrations of the Tao

The Yami ethnic group which lives on Lanyu (Orchid Island) off Taiwan's east coast numbers around 2,700 people and has an oceanic island culture very different from those of indigenous groups living on Taiwan proper. They do not make alcohol or practice head-hunting, taro is their staple crop, and their culture is centered on flying fish, which migrate annually through the waters off eastern Taiwan. Distinctive features of traditional Yami culture include the worship of anito (ancestral spirits), ceremonies to summon flying fish, semi-subterranean homes, richly-carved fishing boats, belief in evil spirits, and the hair-swinging dance, as well as a genetic and cultural relationship to the inhabitants of the Batanes Islands of the Philippines.

Yami People

Neighbors of the Tao

When living in society, we have to interact with other people. Traditional Chinese culture emphasizes virtue and ethics in balancing our interpersonal relationships, including relationships with their neighbors. In ancient China, people believed that treating others compassionately is one of society’s basic principles and that those who do good deeds will receive good returns. Stories about the kind and altruistic deeds of many famous, noble people in China have been passed down through the ages.

The Tao and neighbors celebrating their 30th anniversary.