Is wikipedia's religion in taiwan article accurate?

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Taiwan

My mother lived in Taiwan from 1950-1980 and she says that pie chart isn’t accurate, at least for when she was there. She says Taoism is much over represented and the number of taoist temples numbered even less as a proportion.

It seems to me there is a large overlap between Taoism and Buddhism. I think a single Taoism/Buddhism category would be more realistic. I wonder if Christianity might be under-represented.

It’s the same figures more or less we use in Lonely Planet. It’s official but I agree it is not that accurate and other reports usually show a much higher percentage of Taoist believers. Also later claims in the article that 94% of Taiwanese are Buddhist doesn’t follow from the stats and appears wildly inaccurate. In fact earlier the article says the same source (CIA Factbook) claims 93% are Buddhist, Taoist or Folk god believers, so 94% can’t be Buddhist alone. :unamused:

Not sure what your other points are as your English is a bit unclear.

If you mean she thinks the numbers weren’t that high before, well Taoist temples have increased 3x in the past 50 years so your mother’s memories are not going to be accurate. Last official count I heard was 15,000 but that was for official temples and didn’t include Tudi Gong and small shrines.

Main problem: Taiwanese do not view religious denominational affiliation the same way as westerners.

Examples:

  1. One can be a Buddhist, a Daoist simultaneously, while personally identifying as both.
  2. Outside of the “pure” Buddhist organizations, Taiwanese Buddhism is a combination of Buddhism, Daoism and Chinese folk religion
  3. Many Taiwanese feel they are “religious” and will go to a Buddhist, Daoist or Folk Religion temple based on convenience, proximity, etc, without affiliating with either

So the ENTIRE NOTION of denominational affiliation, from a western perspective, does not apply to Taiwan. So any pie chart trying to categorize people, no matter how well researched, simply wont work as it tries to place people into neat categories, categories that do not exist here in the same way.

That’s merely a problem with the chart not the article which states:

Ah word, I didn’t read the wiki…just commented on the pie chart.

there’s Buddhism, and there’s folk religion which would often put Buddha, Guan-gong, and the Jade Emperor together in a same temple.

So there should be a category for folk religion, along side Buddhism and Taoism.

Though in reality, usually folk religion and the mixed-n-match worship is the result of taoism trying to recapture the market during Ming and Qing dynasty, so it usually is much more taoism based.

There are no good statistics on religious identity, for the very good reason that for most Taiwanese, religion is not really a group identity. The MOI publishes stats from God knows where that put the number of “Buddhists” about equal to the number of “Daoists,” but ignoring the fact that many of these actually seem to be following the same religion (known to scholars, but hardly any of its adherents, as the Chinese folk religion). Some minority (5 or 10%?) are more specifically Buddhist, in the sense that they follow some form of the religion which is led by monks and nuns. Christians are supposedly about 4 %, but there is reason to suspect exaggeration. Yiguandao claims a million followers in Taiwan, which I assume to exaggerate the truth by a whole order of magnitude. (How many do you know? Is it more or less than 1 out of 20?)

There’s a regular survey of religious experience which asks people, among other things, which deities they have worshipped in the last month/year. I don’t remember the details, but Guanyin is far and away the most popular deity–I want to say with something like 70 % of respondants.

For thousands of years, you could find this exact thing in hardcore Buddhist and Daoist temples too.

Agreed.

[quote]
Though in reality, usually folk religion and the mixed-n-match worship is the result of taoism trying to recapture the market during Ming and Qing dynasty, so it usually is much more taoism based.[/quote]

It is much more complex than that. The competition goes back to around the time when Buddhism came to China, which in turn turned Daoism to an actual organized “religion”, which in turn led it to compete with Folk Religion and Buddhism. It has very little to do with the late Buddhist revival in China.

Way too complex for this forum.

for hundreds of thousands of years, people worshipped the gods in the fire and in the trees and in the seas. I think they win.

For thousands of years, you could find this exact thing in hardcore Buddhist and Daoist temples too.
[/quote]

I doubt it. During much of the Tang and Song dynasty, Taoism and Buddhism are fiercely against each other. It is not until the latter half of Song dynasty when Buddhism was clearly winning out that Taoist began to adapt. The phenomenon didn’t occur until Yuan or Ming, which is at most a couple hundred of years ago. Also, you will not find this in a hardcore Buddhist temple, unless we have a different definition of hardcore Buddhist temples.

Do you either of you know a good book to recommend on the history of Buddhism and/or Taoism in China? I know material for Taiwan so don’t need that.

Preferably something that is available on Kindle though I know that is a long shot for a good history.

For thousands of years, you could find this exact thing in hardcore Buddhist and Daoist temples too.
[/quote]

I doubt it. During much of the Tang and Song dynasty, Taoism and Buddhism are fiercely against each other. It is not until the latter half of Song dynasty when Buddhism was clearly winning out that Taoist began to adapt. [/quote]

Daoism adapted to Buddhism from the get go. Look at the 靈寳 scriptures. Heck, look at the 三洞 of the Daoist canon modeled after the Tripitaka. Daoism really became an organized religion only because of the influence of Buddhism.

Then, during the Tang and Song, there was a huge overlap of influence between Esoteric Buddhism and Daoism. They borrowed each other’s deities, sometimes renaming them, sometimes not.

[quote]
The phenomenon didn’t occur until Yuan or Ming, which is at most a couple hundred of years ago.[/quote]

If the particular phenomenon you are referring to are finding deities of the other religion enshrined in the temples of the other, this is simply absolutely false and I have no idea where you would get such an impression. If you are referring to a different phenomenon, then I have no idea what you are talking about and must ask for clarification.

Buddhist temples in Taiwan whose lineage originated in Yongquan temple on the mainland. Thats about as hardcore Buddhist as you can get.

The modern, flashy Buddhist monasteries, like Foguangshan do not do this though.

[quote=“Mucha Man”]Do you either of you know a good book to recommend on the history of Buddhism and/or Taoism in China? I know material for Taiwan so don’t need that.

Preferably something that is available on Kindle though I know that is a long shot for a good history.[/quote]

No Kindle, but pdf if you are interested. If so, send me a PM.

[quote=“Confuzius”]

Daoism adapted to Buddhism from the get go. Look at the 靈寳 scriptures. Heck, look at the 三洞 of the Daoist canon modeled after the Tripitaka. Daoism really became an organized religion only because of the influence of Buddhism.

Then, during the Tang and Song, there was a huge overlap of influence between Esoteric Buddhism and Daoism. They borrowed each other’s deities, sometimes renaming them, sometimes not.[/quote]

early Buddhism translations would barrow words from Taoism and Confucian terminologies. Much like when the bible was translated in to Chinese, Taoism words such as 上帝 were borrowed. When the Nestorian translated their bible into Chinese during Tang, the text reads like a Buddhist suttra for people who aren’t familiar with either.

Taoism did adapt many things from Buddhism, it even had to create a central spiritual theme due to the challenges of Buddhism. But it doesn’t mean Taoists from Tang and Song put Amitabha Buddha in their Taoist temples.

I maybe wrong, but I would like to see evidence of this. Early religious leaders are quiet aware of the differences and were more into spreading the word and than placating to the people. I doubt they would spend all that trouble traveling between China and India, then spend decades translating Buddhism suttras with hundreds of people and then place a frigging jade emperor in their Buddhist temple.

[quote=“Confuzius”]
Buddhist temples in Taiwan whose lineage originated in Yongquan temple on the mainland. Thats about as hardcore Buddhist as you can get.

The modern, flashy Buddhist monasteries, like Foguangshan do not do this though.[/quote]

I think Yongquan temple stopped being hardcore Buddhist temple since the Ming dynasty.

edit

Id take your email offa here cus of spambots, google searches forumosa.

But ill sendya a few tonight.

[quote=“Confuzius”]Id take your email offa here cus of spambots, google searches forumosa.

But ill sendya a few tonight.[/quote]

That was supposed to be a pm. Hit wrong button. Thanks for the warning.

Maybe not Amithabda, but they sure put Shakyamuni there! Hell, according to some medieval scriptures, Shakyamuni was a reincarnation of Laozi, and thus worthy of reverence. Guanyin, OF COURSE got put into Daoist temples as well.

Read Mollier’s “Buddhism and Daoism Face to Face” (spelling? Taoism maybe).

You clearly know more about Buddhism than the average laowai :stuck_out_tongue:

However, until the early 20th century, the VAST majority of all Taiwanese Buddhist monks received ordination at Yongquan temple. Even for much of the Japanese period. (your claim would make 90% of orthodox, non-folkishy Buddhists in Taiwan…not hardcore Buddhist and we both know that is simply not the case)

Please do tell me:

  1. Where you got this idea
  2. What details gave you this impression
  3. Anywhere I can refer to
    (unlike my usual snarky posts, I am not being an ass and am quite interested)
    :bow:

[quote=“Confuzius”]
Please do tell me:

  1. Where you got this idea
  2. What details gave you this impression
  3. Anywhere I can refer to
    (unlike my usual snarky posts, I am not being an ass and am quite interested)
    :bow:[/quote]

Claiming that Buddha is reincarnation of Laozi sounds like something taken right out of Hindu Brahman’s book. Though reincarnation is already an adopted idea, and in no way “orthodox” Taoism. I have to say, the adapted Taoist and folk religion made the right choice going down this route, I wonder how they came to the same approach as the Hindus in India… But in a way there’s a trend to include more deities in most folk religion. [ur;=Caodaism - Wikipedia]There are those that included Jesus, and even Sun Yat-sen[/url].

I get the impression that the"hardcore Buddhism" refers to 正信佛教, which is promoted by Mentor Yin Shun (印順導師), who was a student of Taixu (太虛) back in China.

I think before Ming dynasty, most of the folk religion remained in homes. People who don’t really understand what the two religions are about, who just want to worship for peace and prosperity would put deities together in their homes. By Ming dynasty, Luo Yin (羅因) wrote a book named Tapas Enlightenment Scrolls (苦功悟道卷) which is a mix of all three, and started his own pseudo Taoism that pretty much put the new religion on the map. A variation of this, Zhai Jiao (齋教), is pretty much the prototype of folk religion in Taiwan.

In Taiwan it gets worse, because even though most early temples claims to have originate from Yuan Quan Temple, very little actual Buddhism is going on. Monks were busy placating to the people, and became professional funeral and prayer bands. I can’t recall exactly where I’ve read it, but some of the situation is mentioned by the Taiwan Encyclopedia.

taiwanpedia.culture.tw/web/content?ID=367

By the end of Qing dynasty most temples have been compromised by folk religion, destroyed by the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, or fell into disrepair after years of unrest. There was a revival of Buddhism. By that I mean monks actually started to do research, comparison, and reexamine the condition of Chinese Buddhism. Out of which came the Taixu and Yin Shun teachings. Now, I am not saying that is the only Hardcore Buddhism out there, any Buddhist temple that devotes itself to the actual studying and practicing of the teaching of the Buddha would be a hardcore Buddhist temple. Safe to say, any Buddhist temple that is about 正信佛教 or 原始佛教 will not have a Jade Emperor or Matsu in their temple.