"A (wo)man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of (her)his life in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of beautiful God has implanted in the human soul."- Goethe

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Lung Shan Temple

So, the best place of all in Taiwan has to be the Lung Shan Temple in Taipei. It is the largest and oldest Daoist temple in Taiwan, so I hear, and it is gorgeous! Prepare to have your mind blown:

This is an active temple that is frequented by thousands (only a guess) of worshipers each day, and they let people who aren't Daoist in, which was lucky for me. Although, if I'm being honest, it was a little uncomfortable to wander around someone else's holy place. However, I tried to be considerate, and I'm grateful for the experience. Well, I got a crash course in Daoism, and I'd love to share, because I found many similarities between Daoism and the Christianity (Mormonism) that I practice.

Daoism has many god(desse)s, focused on different aspects of life: health, education, the Mother of God, pregnancy/ childbirth, marriage, business, and 3 main gods that make up something along the lines of a trinity. If a worshiper has a specific area in her or his life that needs prayers, a prayer can be offered up to the god(dess) that has jurisdiction over that specific request. It reminded me of Christian saints, in a way.

Items, such as food or gifts, can be placed out on tables in the main courtyard to receive blessings, much like how we pray before meals, or how things (and people) receive blessings directed at them.

People can place their names inside the vestibule of a specific god(dess), and thereby also receive blessings each time a worshiper prays to that divine being. In our temples, we also write down names of specific people to receive blessings from the people worshiping.

A service includes a large group prayer/ chant/ song, which I was told increased the power of the prayers. We also believe that praying or fasting together as a group for the same purpose makes a prayer more powerful.

In gratitude for answered prayers, worshipers bring gifts (like gorgeous flower arrangements) and address them to the deity who answered those prayers. We don't give literal gifts for answered prayers, but we do give our hearts as a gift and many people worship with the purpose of thanksgiving instead of asking for something.

There are also some other interesting religious practices, but I'd like to stick with similarities. I totally got goosebumps while I was there, and I could feel such a strong spiritual presence that was made entirely of love. So good. I wish I could have sat there for hours.

I know that there are incredible differences among cultures, but I always love it when I find common ground with people. This was one of those moments for me. 

Have you ever had an experience like that? I'm sure we'd all love to hear, so please share!


  1. I'm glad you were respectful of their holy place. We went to a Buddhist temple in Hawaii. It was very beautiful, and I too, was honored to be allowed in their holy place. There was one particular area where there was a sign saying to please remove shoes before entering this particular room. There was a giant Buddha statue and some incense burning in that particular room. I don't actually know the full significance of that room, but I dutifully removed my shoes. Another man was entering about the same time as me. He scoffed at the sign and said something like, "They won't get me to take my shoes off."

    There didn't happen to be anyone else around to hear him, other than his wife and my wife, but I was sad that he had so little respect for a place that was considered holy. To me it was just a very pretty statue, but I still felt like we should honor something that is considered sacred by someone else.

    1. Totally agreed. That's a great story, Jeff. Thanks for sharing.