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Confucianism and Taoism

About Taoism

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This rather slippery Chinese religion is mostly used by the Hakkas to address the issue of how they can best maintain a right relationship with the forces of nature. Springing up from the philosophy of an open-to-debate-whether-he-even-existed man named Laotze, Taoism espouses the "yin-yang" tenets that good fortune and health are the results of ordering proper balance in our universe.

 The fruit of such Tao ("The Way") thinking is that all problems in life are essentially the fault of some imbalance. Hakkas have therefore come to employ a plethora of fortune-telling methods and alternative "medical" techniques to diagnose and cure these out-of-whack systems. Everything from putting super-heated suction cups on their bodies in order to realign the Life Force ("chi") … to hiring Feng-Shui ("wind-water") experts to divine which way the doors of their houses should properly face.

One more rather interesting - and impacting - view that has somehow found its way into Taoist tradition is the belief that everyone who dies must go through a series of horrible tortures in hell.

Due to this sobering view of the afterlife, much effort is given in this life to taking care of those who've already "passed over" and are facing these hellish torments. At Hakka funerals, the living relatives burn "spirit" money - thus sending it into the afterworld - in hopes that it can be used to bribe the torturers of the recently deceased. They also burn (and "send over") paper houses, cars, televisions, and even VCRs, so that their dearly departed will be more comfortable in the midst of their suffering. As you can well imagine, this Taoist approach to the afterlife has resulted in the dead having quite a hold on the living. 

 


 

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