First Bai Bai in LongSan temple

When you enter a Taiwanese temple like LongSan temple, you will see people offering incense to the Gods. There is incense burning right in front of each God's image or statue. People hold the incensee and pray, then put the incense in the incense burners.

In Taiwanese temples, have you noticed that at the first incense burner, there is no God sitting in front of it? But you still see people holding the incense and praying, and still offering the incense in the burner.

The believers are actually offering their incense to the God of the universe. The God of the universe is everywhere, so there is no God statue in front of the burner. From this image, it explains that Daoism could be described as atheistic. The God of the universe is everwhere, Dao is also everywhere. So, as soon as we enter the Daoist temple, the first incense burner without a God statue already shows the philosopy of Daoism.

The God of the universe is called "天公" Tiāngōng in Chinese. The first character, Tian, means upper part of the universe, the oppoise of Tian is Di, which is the lower part of universe. The first incense is actually offered to "天地" Tian and Di. Tian Di is the word or symbol for the universe for Chinese. Di and Tian are also symbolize Yin and Yang, which links them to Taiqi and the notion of circularity.

(The photos here are taken at another temple, similar to LongSan temple)





Photos by Peter Dwyer

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