Nuo folk religion
Nuo folk religion, or extendedly Chinese popular exorcistic religion, is a variant of Chinese folk religion with its own system of temples, orders of priests and gods, interethnic and practiced across central and southern China but is intimately connected to the Tujia people. It arose as an exorcistic religious movement, the original meaning of nuó, it spread outside the boundaries of China exporting such practices in Japan and Korea, it has strong influences from Taoism. One of the most distinguishing characters of Nuo folk religion is its iconographic style, which represents the gods as wooden masks or heads; this is related to its own mythology, which traces the origin of Nuo to the two first humans, who were unjustly killed by beheading and are since worshipped as responsive divine ancestors. Nuo rituals began as efficacious methods to Lady Nuo. Since the 1980s Nuo folk religion has undergone a revitalisation in China, today is a folk religion endorsed by the central government. Nuo priests are classified as 巫 wu and their historical precursors were the 方相氏 fangxiangshi.
Nuo cosmology is based on a yin and yang theory represented in mythology, otherwise explainable as a world in which potentiality and actuality and nature, form a complementary and dialectical duality, the order of the universe. Man is an active participant within this order, interplaying with the world of divinity in a creative manner. Nuo mythology tells of a highest goddess,Tiānxiān, directly involved since the origin of humanity in triggering this dialogue between the spiritual and the material; the primary form of dialogue is the worship of ancestors, this is reflected in the patriarchal structure of Tujia society. The highest deities in the Nuo pantheon are Lord Nuo and Lady Nuo, the two ancestors of humanity, according to mythology, whose sacrifice gave origin to Nuo practices; when a Nuo ceremony is performed, the ancestral couple is represented by carved wooden statues erected in front of the temple, while all lesser gods are placed behind them. In simpler rituals, they are seen as embodiments of all the other gods.
Right below the ancestral couple of Nuogong and Nuopo come the Three Pure Ones. These are the main trinity of Taoist theology, were introduced among the Tujia by Han Chinese who moved to their areas. Apart from the trinity and some elaborate ritual styles, Nuo folk religion has not acquired the philosophical contents of Taoism, as the purpose of Nuo practices is to "nourish" Nuo gods. Directly below the Three Pure Ones there is the Jade Deity, another deity from Taoist theology, invoked by Nuo priests by blowing into a peculiar ritual instrument, an ox horn; the Jade Deity is conceived as the commander of all lesser gods, so in order to communicate with them it is necessary to call upon him first. Below the Jade Deity come the Deities of the Three Worlds and the Deities of the Five Directions, both groups common to pre-Taoist Chinese religion; the triplet is formed by the patron of earth and the patron of humanity. The other group is formed by the Yellow Deity of the centre of the cosmos, the Green or Blue Deity of the east, the Red Deity of the south, the White Deity of the east, the Black Deity of the north.
As in Chinese religion they have a cosmological significance corresponding to various aspects of nature and are believed to have been incarnated in historical personages. Below the Three Patrons and the Five Deities there is the Enthroned Deity, considered to be incarnated in the present time; the most prominent contemporary government figure of China is believed to be the Enthroned God. In Nuo shrines there is a tablet with the inscription "a long life to the god on the throne"; every order of Nuo priests has its own founders. The ancestors of the order are invoked during every ritual performance and in the divine hierarchy they come right below the Enthroned Deity; the three earliest Nuo ritualists common to nearly all the orders are Yan Sanlang, Liu Wulang and Huang Wanlang. There are a variety of gods of nature and of human affairs, such as the Door Gods, the Well God, the Hearth God, the Land God and the Wealth God, which are those with an immediate relationship with people despite their lower rank in the Nuo pantheon.
The setting of Nuo activities are private altars. The main task of Nuo practices is to strengthen the power of gods as much as possible so that they can exorcise malevolent beings. Nuo ceremonies can involve dance performance, songs and the Nuo opera. During the Heian period, the Japanese adopted into Shinto many Tang dynasty Chinese customs, including the fangxiangshi known in Japanese as hōsōshi 方相氏 who would lead a funeral procession and exorcise demons from a burial mound; this practice was merged with traditional Japanese exorcistic rites such as the Shinto ofuda. The earliest record was the Shoku Nihongi history, which mentions a hōsōshi exorcist officiating at the burial ceremonies for Emperor Shōmu, Emperor Kōnin, Emperor Kanmu; the Kyōgen actor Nomura Mannojō noted that Chinese nuo 儺 practices were the 8th-century source for the Japanese tsuina 追儺 or setsubun ("rit
Taichung known as Taichung City, is a special municipality located in central Taiwan. Taichung has a population of 2.81 million people and is Taiwan's second most populous city, overtaking Kaohsiung in July 2017. It serves as the core of the Taichung–Changhua metropolitan area, the second largest metropolitan area in Taiwan; the current city was formed when Taichung County merged with the original provincial Taichung City to form the special municipality on 25 December 2010. Located in the Taichung Basin, the city was named under Japanese rule, became a major economic and cultural hub. Composed of several scattered hamlets, the city of Taichung was planned and developed by the Japanese, it was called "the Kyoto of Formosa" in Japanese era because of its beauty. The city is home to the National Museum of Natural Science, the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, the National Taichung Theater, the National Library of Public Information, the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, as well as many cultural sites, including the historic Taichung Park, the Lin Family Gardens, many temples.
The Atayal Taiwanese aborigines as well as several Taiwanese Plains Aboriginal tribes populated the plains that make up modern Taichung. They were hunter gatherers who lived by cultivating millet and taro. In the 17th century, the Papora, Babuza and Hoanya established the Kingdom of Middag, occupying the western part of present-day Taichung. In 1682, the Qing dynasty wrested control of western Taiwan from the Cheng family. In 1684, Zhuluo County was established, encompassing the underdeveloped northern two-thirds of Taiwan. Modern-day Taichung traces its beginnings to a settlement named Toatun in 1705. To strengthen Qing control, a garrison was established in 1721 near the site of present-day Taichung Park by Lan Ting-chen. North of the city, on the Dajia River, an aboriginal revolt broke out in 1731 after Chinese officials moved in and compelled them to provide labor; the revolt spread through the city as far south as Changhua County in May 1732 before the rebels were chased into the mountains by Qing forces.
In 1786, another rebellion against the Qing, known as the Lin Shuangwen rebellion, began as an attempt to overthrow the government and restore the Ming dynasty. As the rebels moved northward, they turned to slaughter and looting, they were defeated by a coalition of Qing forces, Quanzhou Fujianese descendants, aboriginal volunteers. When Taiwan Province was declared an independent province in 1887, the government intended to construct its capital city at the centrally located Toatun, designated as the seat of Taiwan Prefecture, thus the city took the title of "Taiwan-fu", meaning "capital city of Taiwan", from modern-day Tainan, which had held the title for more than 200 years. Qing official Liu Ming-chuan received permission to oversee development of the area, which included constructing a railway through the city. However, the provincial capital was moved to Taipei. After China lost the Sino-Japanese War in 1895, Taiwan was ceded to Japan by the Treaty of Shimonoseki, the name of the city was changed to Taichū.
The Japanese sought to develop the city to make it the first “modern” area of Taiwan and invested in roads and levees. In 1901, Taichū Chō was established as one of twenty local administrative districts on the island. In 1904, the town of Taichū had a population of 6,423, Taichū District had more than 207,000. Taichū Park was completed in 1903. A tower marking the old north gate was moved to the new park; the first market in Taichū was built in 1908, along Jiguang Road between the Zhongzheng and Chenggong Roads and it is still in use today. The Japanese undertook a north-south island railway project. Taichū Train Station was completed and began operation in 1917, still operates today. Taichū City was declared by Japanese Imperial authorities in 1920, Taichū City Hall was completed in 1924 after eleven years of construction. Kōkan Airport, now known as Taichung Airport, was constructed during Japanese rule. Taichū Middle School was founded in 1915 by elite members of local gentry, including Lin Hsien-tang and his brother Lin Lieh-tang, two wealthy Taiwanese intellectuals of the era.
This was in an effort to teach children the culture of Taiwan and to foster the spirit of the Taiwanese localization movement. The Taiwanese Cultural Association, founded in 1921 in Taipei by Lin Hsien-tang, was moved to Taichū in 1927. Most of the members of this association were from Taichū and the surrounding area; the city became a center of Taiwanese nationalism. From 1926 to 1945, Taichū Prefecture covered modern-day Taichung as well as Changhua County and Nantou County. At the end of the war, Japan handed over control of Taiwan. In 1947 the first Mayor of Taichung County was Lai Tien Shen; the position was appointed by the government to rule during the interim period. Both Taichung areas were declared a provincial city and county in 1949. Since the city has grown as a center of higher education and culture, where 70% of employees worked in service industries; the surrounding county developed manufacturing, which employed 48% of the workforce, focused so on precision machinery, from machine tools to bicycles, that it was nicknamed the “Mechanical Kingdom.”
On 25 December 20
Xian ling is the notion of a numinous, sacred presence of a god or gods in the Chinese traditional religion. The term can be variously translated as "divine efficacy", "divine virtue", or "efficacious response". Within the context of traditional cosmology, the interaction of these energies constitutes the universe, their proper cultivation upholds the human world order; the relationship between men and gods is one of reciprocal exchange of energy and the cultivation of godly energy. Through rituals of worship and proper conduct, people acquire and maintain a sense of stable world order and balance. Violating the rule of reciprocity may undermine the balance and invite chaos; the attitudes of the people towards their deities is one of apprehension. Through devotional practices, a person strives to secure balance and protect himself and the world in which he is located from the power of unfavorable forces. In this sense, the traditional Chinese view of human life is not fatalistic, but is one in which one is the master of his own life through his relationship with the divine energies.
Within temples it is common to see banners bearing the phrase: "If the heart is sincere, god will reveal his power". This implies the belief that gods respond to the entreaties of the believer if his or her religious fervor is sincere. If a person sincerely believes in the gods' powers and accumulates the energy of piety, the gods are confident in his faith and reveal their efficacious powers. At the same time, for faith to strengthen in the devotee's heart, the deity must prove his or her efficacy. Worship consists of the display of reverence or respect for the gods, honoring them through the fulfillment of vows. In most of the cases, vow-fulfillment is expressed in material form, for example jingxiang offering rituals. Many people repay vows to the gods by contributing incense, oil and money. Religious devotion may be expressed in the form of performance troupes involving stilt walkers, lion dancers, martial arts masters, yangge dancers, story-tellers; some gods are considered carnivorous, for example river deities, or the Longwang.
A deity may require, in exchange for his or her help through divine effervescence, that people act morally and perform good works, virtuous deeds, practice self-cultivation. To this end, some forms of local religion develop prescriptions for believers, such as detailed lists of meritorious and sinful deeds in the form of "books of virtue" and "ledgers of merit". Involvement in the affairs of communal or intra-village temples are perceived by believers as ways of accumulating merit. "Doing good deeds to accumulate virtue" is a common formula for religious practice. Virtue is believed to accumulate in one's heart, seen as the energetic center of the human body; the term xian ling may be interpreted as the god revealing his divine presence in a particular area and temple, through events perceived as extraordinary and filling the place of their ling qi. Divine power manifests in public. Scholar Zavidovskaya studied the ways the incentive of temple restoration since the 1980s in northern China was triggered by numerous instances of gods becoming "active" and "returning", claiming back their temples and places in society.
She cites a Chenghuang Temple in Yulin, Shaanxi Province that, during the Cultural Revolution, was turned into a granary. This event was recognized as a sign from the god Chenghuang to empty his residence of grain and let him back in; the língqì（simplified Chinese: 灵气. Temples with a long history are considered holier than newly built ones, which still need to be filled by divine energy. Zavidovskaya cited an example of the cult of the god Zhenwu in Congluoyu Town, Shanxi Province; the temples were in ruins and the cult was inactive until the mid-1990s, when a man with terminal cancer prayed to Zhenwu. The man began to recover, after a year he was healed. To thank the god, he organized an opera performance in his honor. A temporary altar with a statue of Zhenwu and a stage for performances were set up in an open space at the foot of a mountain. While the opera was being performed, white snakes appeared.
An ancestral shrine, hall or temple called lineage temple, is a Chinese temple dedicated to deified ancestors and progenitors of surname lineages or families in the Chinese traditional religion. Ancestral temples are linked to Confucian culture and the emphasis that it places on filial piety. A common central feature of the ancestral temples are the ancestral tablets that embody the ancestral spirits; the ancestral tablets are arranged by seniority of the ancestors. Altars and other ritual objects such as incense burners are common fixtures. Ancestors and gods can be represented by statues; the temples are used for collective rituals and festivals in honor of the ancestors but for other family- and community-related functions such as weddings and funerals. Sometimes, they serve wider community functions such as local elections. In traditional weddings, the ancestral temple serves a major symbolic function, completing the transfer of a woman to her husband's family. During the wedding rites, the bride and groom worship at the groom's ancestral shrine, bowing as follows: first bow - Heaven and Earth second bow - ancestors third bow - parents fourth bow - spouseThree months after the marriage, the wife undertakes worship at the husband's ancestral shrine, in a rite known as miaojian.
Ancestral temples have been secularized to serve as village schools or granaries during the land reform of the 1950s and the Cultural Revolution. They have experienced a revival since the economic liberalization of the 1980s; the revival of the ancestral temples has been strong in southern China where lineage organization had stronger roots in the local culture and local communities are more to have members living overseas who can support rebuilding of the shrines through donations. Notable ancestral temples in Hong Kong include: Tang Ancestral Hall and Yu Kiu Ancestral Hall, along the Ping Shan Heritage Trail King Law Ka Shuk Tang Chung Ling Ancestral Hall Chinese folk religion—Confucianism Chinese lineage associations Ancestral home Chinese kin Zupu Guanxi Kongsi China Ancestral Temples Network Ancestral halls in Tai Po, Hong Kong
Miaohui temple gatherings or translated as temple fairs called yíngshén sàihuì, are Chinese religious gatherings held by folk temples for the worship of the Chinese gods and immortals. Large-scale miaohui are held around the time of the Chinese New Year, or in specific temples at the birthday of the god enshrined in the temple itself. Activities include rituals celebrated in the temple, opera on a stage facing the temple, processions of the gods' images on carts throughout villages and cities, performance of musical and ritual troupes, blessing of offerings brought to the temple by families, various economic activities. Geography and local customs lead to great differences in the nature of festivals dedicated to the gods. In northern China miaohui are week-long, with ceremonies held in large temples, attended by tens of thousands of people. Matsuri, the Japanese equivalent Cooper, Gene; the Market and Temple Fairs of Rural China: Red Fire. Routledge. ISBN 1136250298. Davis, Edward L.. Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture.
Taylor & Francis. ISBN 041577716X. Overmyer, Daniel. Local Religion in North China in the Twentieth Century: The Structure and Organization of Community Rituals and Beliefs. Brill. ISBN 9047429362
Hundun is both a "legendary faceless being" in Chinese mythology and the "primordial and central chaos" in Chinese cosmogony, comparable with the World egg. Hundun 混沌 was semantically extended from a mythic "primordial chaos. In modern Written Chinese, hùndùn "primordial chaos" is 混沌, but Chinese classic texts wrote it either 渾沌 or 渾敦. Hùn "chaos; these two are interchangeable. Dùn "dull. Isabelle Robinet outlines the etymological origins of hundun. Semantically, the term hundun is related to several expressions, hardly translatable in Western languages, that indicate the void or a barren and primal immensity – for instance, hunlun 混淪, hundong 混洞, kongdong 空洞, menghong 蒙洪, or hongyuan 洪元, it is akin to the expression "something confused and yet complete" found in the Daode jing 25, which denotes the state prior to the formation of the world where nothing is perceptible, but which contains a cosmic seed. The state of hundun is likened to an egg. Most Chinese characters are written using "radicals" or "semantic elements" and "phonetic elements".
Hùndùn 混沌 is written with the "water radical" 水 or 氵and phonetics of kūn 昆 and tún 屯. Hùndùn "primordial chaos" is cognate with Wonton "wonton. Note that the English loanword wonton is borrowed from the Cantonese pronunciation wan4tan1. Mair suggests a fundamental connection between hundun and wonton: "The undifferentiated soup of primordial chaos; as it begins to differentiate, dumpling-blobs of matter coalesce. … With the evolution of human consciousness and reflectiveness, the soup was adopted as a suitable metaphor for chaos." This last assertion appears unsupported however, since wonton soup is not attested in Chinese sources dating earlier than the Han dynasty, although the linguistic connection of the soup to the larger concept appears real. Hundun 混沌 has a graphic variant hunlun 混淪, which etymologically connects to the mountain name Kunlun 崑崙. Robinet says, "Kunlun and hundun are the same closed center of the world." Girardot quotes the Chinese philologist Lo Mengci 羅夢冊 that reduplicated words like hundun "suggest cyclic movement and transformation", speculates.
Ritually mumbling the sounds of hun-tun might, therefore, be said to have a kind on incantatory significance that both phonetically and morphologically invokes the mythological and ontological idea of the Tao as the creatio continua process of infinitely repeated moments of change and new creation. The Shuowen Jiezi does not enter dun 沌, it defines hun 混 as fengliu 豐流 "abundantly flow", hun 渾 as the sound of hunliu 混流 "abundantly-flowing flow" or "seemingly impure", dun 敦 as "anger, rage. English chaos is a better translation of hundun in the classical sense of Chaos or Khaos in Greek mythology meaning "gaping void; the latter meaning of hundun is synonymous with Chinese luàn 亂 "chaos. Their linguistic compound hùnluàn 混亂 "chaos. In the Chinese written record, hundun first appears in classics dating from the Warring States period; the following summary divides them into Confucianist and other categories, presents them in chronological order, with the caveat that many early textual dates are uncertain.
Hundun only occurs in the Zuo zhuan commentary to the Chunqiu. Most early Confucianist ancient texts do not use hun, with four exceptions. One, the Mengzi, uses hun in its original meaning "sound of flowing water". Mencius explains; the other three use hun as what Girardot calls "a term of opprobrium and condemnation related to the suppression of the "barbarians" or the "legendary rebels"." The Shijing mentions Hunyi 混夷 "ancient Hunni tribe in Turan". When King Wen of Zhou opened up the roads, "The hordes of the Keun disappeared and panting.. The Chunqiu mentions the Luhun 陸渾 tribe of the Rong 戎 people, "the Jung of Luh-hwăn"; the Zuozhuan commentary to the Chunqiu notes they were from western Gansu and forced into northern Henan. Another Zuozhuan context refers to Hundun 渾敦 as a worthles