Apr 14, 2009

Religion in Taiwan (General Ideas) 宗教在台灣(概述)

Religion in Taiwan (General Ideas)

1. Why are there so many different religions in Taiwan?

There are so many different religions in Taiwan because of its multicultural history and religion freedom entitled by the constitution of the Republic of China (Taiwan)

2. What are the countries which brought different religions into Taiwan? And what religions are they?

Taiwanese aborigines practice nature worship. In 1624, the Dutch missionaries introduced Protestant Christianity to Taiwanese people. The first converts were the aborigines. In 1626, the Spanish introduced Catholicism to Taiwan. In 1895, the Japanese brought Shinto into Taiwan. Chinese migrants introduced Buddhism and Taoism to Taiwan. Moreover, in the last 50 years, Taiwan has been a haven for Falun Gong and Yi Guan Dao, which are banned in People’s Republic of China.

3. What are the top 5 religions in Taiwan?

According to the statistics provided by Ministry of the Interior in 2005, the top 5 religions in Taiwan are Buddhism (including Tantric Buddhism), Taoism, Yi Guan Dao, Protestantism, and Roman Catholic.

4. Tell me something about the mixture of Buddhism, Taoism, and folk religion in Taiwan.

Most Taiwanese people blend elements from Buddhism, Taoism and folk religion together, while some practice Buddhism exclusively. Longshan Temple in Taipei City is one of the examples of the mixture. It worships a mixture of Buddhist, Taoist and folk deities. In addition to big temples, small outdoor and indoor shrines of local deities are common. For good luck before taking a test, students may visit a shrine of the Learning god. A small shrine of the Kitchen god can be found in some restaurants.

If you have certain knowledge about Greek mythology, you know that there are several deities in it, such as Artemis (the goddess of hunting and the moon), Aphrodite (the goddess of love and beauty), Poseidon (the god of the sea) and Apollo (the god of the sun, medicine, poetry, music and prophecy). They take up different positions, so do the deities in Buddhism, Taoism, and folk religion.

5. What are the characteristics of a Taoist temple?

A Taoist temple is extremely decorative. The roof is decorated with colorfully tiled dragon sculptures and other legendary creatures. Besides, a Taoist temple is usually full of statues of different gods and semi-theistic historical figures. Festivities are often held at Taoist temples.
6. When was Buddhism introduced to Taiwan?

Buddhism was brought into Taiwan in the late 1500s by Chinese immigrants.

7. What are the most famous Buddhist organizations in Taiwan?

The most famous Buddhist organizations in Taiwan are Dharma Drum Mountain founded by Master Sheng Yen, Buddha’s Light International founded by Master Hsing Yun, and the Tzu Chi Foundation founded by Master Cheng Yen. All of them have branches overseas/in other countries. Besides opening Tzu Chi University, hospitals, schools and community centers, Tzu Chi is widely known for their dedication to charity work and international humanitarian aid.
台灣最有名的佛教團體為聖嚴法師創立的法鼓山、星雲法師創立的佛光山,和證嚴法師創立的慈濟基金會。他們在海外(在其他國家)都有分會。 除了開辦慈濟大學、醫院、學校和社區中心,慈濟對慈善工作和國際救援的盡心盡力也廣為人知。

無極無上門氣功修練中心 Wu Ji Wu Sang Men Qi-Gong Center, Taiwan

By 林育華/Lin, Yu-Hua/Monica

Tuesday, April 14, 2009