Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Beijing: Taoist Temple

I had never been to a Taoist Temple, nor did I really know anything about Taoism before coming to China.  I went to this temple alone on my first day exploring the city.  I'm glad I went right away because it made me aware of so many things that are Tao in China.  Taoism is deeply rooted in Chinese Customs.  It originated in China over 2,000 years ago. 
The Tao is considered, "The Way."  It is a religion of unity and opposites - like the yin and the yang.  Tao is not a thing, nor is there a God that is worshipped.  There are many Taoist deities that are worshipped in temples.  The deities are a part of the universe and depend, like everything, on the Tao.
Tao practices include meditation, feng shui, fortune telling, and reading and chanting of scriptures.
Modern vs. Traditional
There were several little room they called, "departments."  The picture below is showing the many departments.  Each department meant something else like, bad debt, fertility, etc...  I am assuming you go to that department and pray if that is what you are looking for help with.  There were also larger halls like the one above.  There, the people burn incense before going in to pray to a larger deity.
The next two pictures are the department for evil spirits.
These are vows.  I'm not sure, but I'm assuming people purchase these vows and hang them at the temple as a promise of commitment to their vow.
I am really new to the understanding of Tao.  So I hope I have understood this information correctly.  If not, please let me know so that I can change it.

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