Baoan Temple in Taipei and Indulging into Taiwan’s Way of Life (Bao’an)
The Baoan / Bao’an Temple
Taipei is a very exciting city! One could appreciate more how the people of Taiwan go about their way of living when you visit some of the temples in the area.
It is inevitable to talk about religion and the Japanese colonization upon visiting the Baoan Temple. Our tour guides asked about the main religion in the Philippines since they also want to get to know us a little bit more. With that, they also shared that the two main religion in Taiwan is Taoism and Buddhism.
I don’t fully understand the main components of Taoism but from what I got from their introduction, Taoism is all about living in harmony with the “Tao” that means path, way, or principle. Their gods are usually people who lived extraordinary lives and made a great difference in their community.
As for Buddhism, I was quite familiar of it when I visited Nepal. Nepal actually is mainly Hinduism, but I visited a few Buddhist temples there and I felt peace. Buddhism is all about enlightenment and self-awareness. You associate this religion with the words Nirvana and Enlightenment or Inner Peace.
It is important to keep an open mind when you travel. Experiencing their culture and way of life is a part of the whole experience.
The Baoan Temple or the Bao’an Temple is dedicated to the Taoist God of Medicine. It is worth visiting for to see preserved Taiwanese temple architecture including the wonderfully made ornate roof sanctuary. This is where you will learn how the temple was built for a quarter of a century during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan. During that era, they used this temple as a language school and factory. For years, it was neglected and was just refurbished in the early 1900s.
I recalled the tour guide mentioning dragon pillars as the Baoan Temple’s main feautre. With this we also noticed a pair of stone lion decor that were actually quite unusual. Normally, of the two lions that guard a temple, the male has an open mouth and the female has a closed mouth. However in this temple, both have open mouths. Then I recall that the guide made joke how in the modern world, the female is the one who has an open mouth because we are quite talkative – especially the wives. But that’s just a joke, don’t be silly!
Back to the lions, they said they are not really lions at all but a “human beast” and a “law beast.” The meaning of all that is still quite a mystery to me. Maybe this was the part where I was already goofing around with the other tour members 😛 But seriously, I think it’s all about respect with the law and carrying out good government.
As I strolled along the insides of the temple. I noticed a few people forwarding their prayers to the diety and a person droping 2 pieces of stones asking the gods to answer his question. I actually forgot how it works but I think it’s this:
- 2 stones fall open means YES
- 1 stone falls open and another falls closed means NO
- 2 stones fall closed means DON’T ask any more questions.
Bao’an / Baoan Temple in Taipei, Taiwan
Baoan Temple Address: No. 61, Hami St., Datong District, Taipei City
Baoan Temple Contact Number: +886-2-2595-1676
How to get there: Take the THSR or train to Taipei Station, transfer Taipei MRT to Yuanshan Station.
AirAsia flies to Taiwan four times a week, with fights departing Clark at 12:05 p.m. and arriving at Taoyuan airport at 2:00 p.m.