Visiting the temple

Proxy pilgrims are the dummies inside the cart– they are sent by people who can’t come themselves to tour the country and visit gods in different temples. They are wearing the shadows of the lanterns leading to the temple.

The market outside the temple.

Chatting in front of the temple by the fireworks cage.

Once we got inside, and asked if it was okay for me to be a shutterbug inside the temple, I kind of went a little nuts…

Paper money for blessings and fortune-telling sticks.

Politics even inside the temple– UN for Taiwan which is kind of a funny slogan, considering the UN isn’t, unfortunately, for Taiwan.

Guard costumes to be worn during festivals and parades.  (They must be REALLY hot inside on hot days!)

There were about four or five floors within the temple, each hosting about three shrines to deities with their acolytes.

I’m guessing the moral of this story is that one should study properly?

Anyone know what this is depicting?  He’s getting a tattoo or some characters brushed onto his back for a reason, right?

The very important and fair Judge.

I think this is one of the Matsu representatives.

I had never seen the multi-armed deities in a Taiwanese temple before, but these three were sitting on the top floor (if my memory serves me correctly, and lining the side walls were…

These guys are to be paid off (there’s a slot in front of each of them for real money.  You find your zodiac sign and Chinese year of birth– the labels under each one show your cartoon sign, and then pay them to protect you from evil during an unlucky year (or is it to pay them so they don’t mess you up?  I’m not sure I remember properly).  There is a notice saying you’re on camera to prevent anyone from stealing anything from the room.

If I remember correctly, these relatives of Garfield are supposed to be protection from bad spirits.

In an interesting fusion of beliefs– the zodiac tissue vending machine inside the temple. People do often ask about one’s sign here in the course of an introductory chat. I’m a Sagittarius, though I never did do well in archery.

Footprints walking away from the temple…


2 Responses to “Visiting the temple”

  1. June 12, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    The whole tattoo thing is from a story of the Song Dynasty Yue Fei (岳飛). Basically, the story goes that before Yue Fei went off to serve in the army, his mother tattooed four words on his back, 盡忠報國, to remind him to keep his loyalty to his nation/country (or perhaps more accurately described with the word ‘state’?). Here’s a Wikipedia stub on him :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yue_Fei

    Of course, you’re free to interpret the story (or myth?) however you would like.. but I do wonder about the meaning behind the word ‘國’. Or, maybe it’s just my overly sensitive self concerned with the technicalities of words. ^^;;

  2. June 14, 2008 at 11:53 am

    Carrie tells me that 盡 means “reserve nothing” 忠 means “loyalty” 報 means “reward or pay back” 國 means “country.” So the words are supposed to mean give all your loyalty in return for your country.

    Thanks for sharing the story with me!

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Free Rice

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