Money, Money, Money, Money
Money is not everything, but it solves a lot of problems. Naturally, the money god, Tu-Di-Gong, is very popular in Taiwan. The most popular is Zi Nan Temple in Nantou County. It was our last stop on our trip to Nantou.
Religious affiliation is much more flexible in Taiwan than in the USA and you often see Buddist and Taoist beliefs mixed together. I had been to a few temples before but this was the busiest I have been too. Like everywhere in Nantou there were plenty of places that would charge for parking. We parked in the large free parking lot south west of the temple.
Zi Nan Temple
Taiwan culture has lots of symbols involving wealth. Brushes, treasure bowls, and things shaped like old money are very popular. The big symbol here was chickens and their eggs.There is a collection of statues but the most interesting one is a metal chicken with three eggs. Three is a number that is favored by the gods from my understanding. Therefore things in temples are done in sets of three. Three times around the chicken, or three incense sticks.
My Favorite was the mock up of a sycee, an old Chinese gold or silver coin, (on the right). For good luck just spin the ball in the center.
The Temple is also a popular place to get things blessed. Some people bought a golden chicken to get blessed. One person brought baby Cockatoo birds to be blessed as he planned to sell them later. On a side note, I never knew Cockatoo birds were so expensive.
How to Worship at the Temple
Every temple is a little different, but they follow the same basic pattern. First, you need to get some six incense sticks. Why six? Simple, you will put incense sticks in two places and the gods like the number three. When facing the temple you can get incensed in a small building to the right. They are free but a donation is appreciated.
Next, you go to the burner to light the incense. Then go to the first incense station. Say your name, where you are from, live and what you want. I just hope the gods can understand English. After saying this (in your head! OPPS!!!) bow three times and put three incense sticks in the sand.
Then you move on to the incense station inside the temple. Once again, say your name, where you are from, where you live and what you want. Then put three incense sticks into the sand. If you wait and watch you will see some people bring things they want to have blessed. The process is very simple. As they make three circles with the object in the smoke of the incense.
Zi Nan Temple also has a bank that lends out money. You can cast jiaobei blocks to get an answer from Tu-Di-Gong if you can borrow money from the bank. If the answer is yes, then you can get money from the temple. BTW they only give the money out to Taiwanese.
Naturally, there is a place to burn joss paper (often known as ghost money). Because of the heat inside the furnace, the money is sucked inside when it is put next to the door. That was one of my favorite parts.
There is also a large market around the temple. Most of what is for sale are different auspicious souvenirs. You have three legged frogs, coin tassels, sycee, and money trees for sale. Also for sale are the more earthly, food and drink.
Zi Nan Temple is located at: No.40, DaGong St. Zhushan Township , Nantou County