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Daily Etiquettes

Updated: 2014-12-01 14:08:10

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The daily etiquettes of Taoism were gradually formed and finalized during its historical development process. These etiquettes exist among not only the internal followers but also the common believers. The form of the series of etiquettes approximately came into being in the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

The common etiquette of Taoists is to make a bow with hands folded in front (i.e. left hand naturally clenches fist over the right hand). Sometimes, the four fingers of left hand clench the four fingers of right hand, and the left thumb inserts into the part of the right hand between the thumb and the index finger, while its tip is against the palm center of right hand, and the right thumb is naturally under the left thumb, thus aTaijisymbol (diagram of cosmological scheme) is formed. This etiquette interestingly combines the connotation of Taoism. But in some more formal and ceremonious occasions, people shall greet in theDali(the most solemn manner). In theDali, the greeting person shall worship on bended knees as in many ancient occasions of China. The worship on bended knees of tutors was more formal even in ancient China, was quite like that of the antediluvian times. So it was called asGuli(ancient solemn manner) in the Song Dynasty. The famous Chinese ancient ideologist Zhu Xi once talked about it with emotions. He said that the current pattern of Taoists to salute was quite like that of our ancient ancestors,bending both knees on the ground. In other words, younger generations should kowtow to the elders. It was more complicated when they went to worship a deitybecause it was necessary to install altar, ignite incense, burn paper, walk around the altar, kowtow for three times and bow in salute for nine times, etc.

As to the common disciples, they must go to the main hall to pay homage to deity on some important festivals or when they pay to gods for blessing or fulfill their promise. The etiquette is as follows: Disciple kneels down and kowtows, while a Taoist on duty is standing beside the incense burner table and he will click the chime stone (one of the religious utensils) every time when the disciple kneels down and kowtows.

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