Taoists as the representative of Taoist culture, is closely related to the traditional Chinese culture and has been a native religion that has existed for thousands of years. While cultivating themselves and others, Taoist practitioners spread Taoist culture. The typical image of a Taoist is wearing a simple and plain blue robe and "shoes that step in all directions." In reality, Taoists typically carry various ornaments with them. In this article, we will introduce several of these ornaments.
Dao Zan: Dao Zan, a seemingly ordinary hairpin, carries rich cultural connotations and historical background. It is one of the traditional garments of Taoist practitioners, reflecting Taoist philosophical thoughts and principles with its unique shape and materials.
Dao Zan is made from various materials, including stone, bamboo, wood, jade, copper, gold, etc., with bamboo and wooden ones being the most common. These materials, originating from nature, symbolize Taoism's pursuit of simplicity and returning to the basics. Additionally, the end of the Dao Zan is often engraved with patterns of Taoist elements such as Tai Chi and Bagua, representing the cultural heritage and philosophical thoughts of Taoism.
In the legend "Left Cai" from "Shenxian Zhuan" written by Ge Hong in the Jin Dynasty, it was recorded that Left Cai used Dao Zan to grind wine, and in a short time, the Dao Zan turned black, just like grinding ink. This story not only demonstrates the material and purpose of Dao Zan but also reflects the Taoist philosophical thought of using objects to symbolize spiritual practice and refinement.
In modern society, as people's awareness and respect for traditional culture increase, Dao Zan has gradually become a cultural symbol and artistic treasure. Not only Taoist practitioners use Dao Zan, but some literati and art enthusiasts also use it as decoration or prop in their writing, painting, photography, etc., expressing their love and respect for traditional culture.
In conclusion, Dao Zan is a symbol of cultural heritage in Taoism, representing Taoist philosophical thoughts and principles while carrying abundant historical and cultural connotations. It embodies the inheritance and development of traditional Chinese culture and witnesses our generation's appreciation and continuation of historical culture.
Hulu: Hulu, with a seemingly ordinary name, actually carries profound cultural connotations and various meanings. It is a common ornament in Taoism and is often mistakenly referred to as "Buddhist beads" due to the influence of Buddhist culture. Taoist hulu is usually comprised of 81 beads, symbolizing the 81 transformations of the Taoist founder, Laozi. Some versions have 108 beads, representing the celestial bodies' rotation, the sum of 36 celestial stars and 72 earthly fiends. Taoist practitioners carry the hulu daily, using it during meditation and practice to maintain inner peace.
The famous medical sage Sun Simiao was highly regarded for his benevolent actions, which saved the suffering and needy. People held him in high esteem, and he was referred to as "Xuan Hu Ji Shi" (The one who carries the gourd to save the world). In the historical record "Hou Han Shu," the hulu is described as a constantly flowing object, and its circular shape is like a pearl, thus called "liu zhu" (flowing bead).
Apart from Taoist practitioners' use, hulu also has extensive applications in ordinary people's lives. In some regions, people hang hulu at the front door or indoors as a feng shui ornament, symbolizing prosperity and auspiciousness. Moreover, hulu can be used to create handicrafts, such as carved hulus or hulu paintings, possessing both ornamental and cultural value.
In summary, hulu is a symbol of cultural inheritance in Taoism, not only holding an important position within Taoist practices but also enjoying widespread use in daily life. It serves as an auspicious feng shui ornament and an artistic piece. Understanding and preserving the cultural connotations and symbolism of hulu can lead to a better appreciation and respect for Taoist culture and the beauty and wisdom it embodies.
Yin-Yang Ring: The Yin-Yang Ring, also known as the Qian Kun Quan, is a common ornament and ritual item in Taoism. It consists of two connected circular rings, one representing Yin and the other Yang, symbolizing the cycle and constant interaction of Yin and Yang, a central philosophy in Taoism. The Yin-Yang Ring is typically made of wood or jade, and practitioners can rotate it with their hands during meditation and practice, making it an ideal aid for Taoist spiritual cultivation.
In the novel "Feng Shen Yan Yi," the Yin-Yang Ring is described as a celestial item from Kunlun Mountain, bestowed by the Primordial Heavenly Master upon Tai Yi Zhen Ren as one of his Daoist treasures. Tai Yi Zhen Ren later passed this treasure to Nezha, who used it effectively in battles. Although many characters in the novel are not part of the Taoist pantheon, this does not diminish our understanding and recognition of the Yin-Yang Ring as a Taoist ritual item.
In addition to its use as an ornament and ritual item, the Yin-Yang Ring is also utilized as a fitness apparatus. Senior Taoist practitioners employ the Yin-Yang Ring in exercises to improve blood circulation, enhance physical fitness, and promote longevity. Furthermore, the Yin-Yang Ring is employed in Taoist ceremonies and rituals as a means of dispelling evil and binding malevolent spirits, making it a powerful talisman for prayers of safety and auspiciousness.
In summary, the Yin-Yang Ring holds a significant place and meaning in Taoist culture. It serves not only as a symbolical ornament but also as a tool to adhere to the moral precepts of Taoist practitioners. Through continuous practice and realization, Taoist practitioners can grasp the true essence of the Yin-Yang Ring, shedding all delusions and attachments, achieving purity of mind and body, and ultimately reaching spiritual purification and elevation, embodying the pursuit of self-transcendence and the Taoist path.
Mala Beads: Mala beads in Taoism, also known as Liu Zhu (flowing beads), are influenced by Buddhist culture and are often mistakenly referred to as Buddhist prayer beads. In the Taoist scripture "Tai Shang San Yuan Liu Zhu Jing," it is recorded: "Use white pearls, round, clear, and bright, 365 beads the size of Chinese chestnuts, corresponding to the stars and the days when the sun and moon meet." Typically, Taoist mala beads consist of 81 beads, representing the 81 transformations of Taoist deity Laozi. Alternatively, some have 108 beads, symbolizing the rotations of celestial bodies, the sum of 36 celestial stars, and 72 earthly fiends. Taoist practitioners wear the mala beads daily, using them during meditation and practice to maintain inner peace.
In the famous novel "Feng Shen Yan Yi," the mala beads are described as celestial items from Kunlun Mountain, bestowed by the Primordial Heavenly Master to Tai Yi Zhen Ren as one of his Daoist treasures. Tai Yi Zhen Ren later passed these treasures to Nezha, who used them effectively in battles. Although many characters in the novel are not part of the Taoist pantheon, this does not diminish our understanding and recognition of the mala beads as a Taoist ritual item.
Apart from Taoist practitioners' use, mala beads also have extensive applications in ordinary people's lives. In some regions, people hang mala beads at the front door or indoors as a feng shui ornament, symbolizing prosperity and auspiciousness. Moreover, mala beads can be used to create handicrafts, such as carved mala beads or mala bead paintings, possessing both ornamental and cultural value.
In summary, mala beads are a symbol of cultural inheritance in Taoism, not only holding an important position within Taoist practices but also enjoying widespread use in daily life. It serves as an auspicious feng shui ornament and an artistic piece. Understanding and preserving the cultural connotations and symbolism of mala beads can lead to a better appreciation and respect for Taoist culture and the beauty and wisdom it embodies.
Wisdom Sword: The term "Wisdom Sword" carries profound philosophical significance and is often used to describe the power of wisdom in overcoming difficulties and troubles. In Buddhist scriptures, there is a saying, "Use the sword of wisdom to cut off the thieves of afflictions," expressing the idea that wisdom can sever the harm caused by afflictions. In Taoism, the Wisdom Sword is considered a means of restraining Taoist practitioners' actions, representing the behavioral norms and guidelines in their spiritual cultivation.
The Wisdom Sword is not a physical sword in the conventional sense but rather a symbolic representation. On the Taoist robe, the Wisdom Sword is a decoration typically consisting of two arrow-shaped objects, each approximately three feet long, symbolizing the power of wisdom to break free from the cycle of suffering and attain liberation and sublimation. Additionally, the Wisdom Sword represents the level of cultivation and wisdom of Taoist practitioners, serving as an indispensable companion on their path of spiritual cultivation.
In Taoism, the Wisdom Sword is used to restrain the conduct of Taoist practitioners, requiring them to observe moral precepts and not violate Taoist beliefs and traditional ethics. Through continuous practice and realization, Taoist practitioners gradually grasp the essence of the Wisdom Sword, removing all delusions and false views, achieving purification of mind and body, and attaining a state of purity and detachment from worldly distractions.
In summary, the Wisdom Sword holds a significant place and meaning in Taoist culture. It serves not only as a symbolic decoration but also as a tool to uphold the moral guidelines for Taoist practitioners. Through continuous practice and realization, Taoist practitioners can grasp the power of the Wisdom Sword, dispelling all delusions and false views, achieving inner purity and elevation, ultimately realizing self-transcendence and the pursuit of the Taoist path.