Lessons in Confucianism

April 30, 2011


In order to find inner peace and a sense of purpose in life, we needed to find a Confucian temple and cultivate our chi. We toured such a temple in Taipei. Everything was serenely quiet and our tour guide, Scott, guided us around with the soft-spoken demeanor and of a light-footed monk.

Scott said this was his first time giving a tour in english but you never would have known it.

Group picture with Scott. I refuse to acknowledge that flag's existence.

A college student who was majoring in Spanish (go figure), Scott was dressed in what I assume was traditional religious garb. Authentic Temple Issue. Scott took us around and showed how even the smallest of details in the temple had a story or purpose behind it. Carvings and Shrubs, Woodwork and Animals, all of these elements come together in Confucian culture to create a heightened reality of sorts.

Confucianism provides a way for the human experience to become better through simple acts of humanity. Loyalty and honesty in our relationships towards others are pillars of this philosophy. Whether you choose to believe this philosophy or not, one can not deny the power of these principles.

One thing that I have noticed about the Taiwanese people is that they are very thoughtful and considerate. Not once have we been heckled or jeered or lead to believe we are not welcome. On the contrary, most people have been more than willing to help us out. Case in point, I met a man at a sushi restaurant today and he switched seats so that he could talk to me and help me order. Then he called a number on his cell phone to ask information about an activity for me. I’m not saying this wouldn’t happen in the States but it was nice to know that it happens in a culture thousands of miles from home.

Even the subway system has a quiet order to it. Above the dull roar of the trains one could hear a penny drop, a sound that would be drowned out in a NYC subway station. That is not to say we have it wrong here in the States, but it shows the mindset of these people here in Taiwan. They are so mindful of others that one conversation is not so important that it should drown out another.

If I take away one thing from this trip I hope I take away the patience of this culture. Traffic is unbelievably congested and yet car horns only serve as an alert sound to other cars who may not see the other.

You haven't really experienced Taiwan until you get broadsided by one of these maniacs

The weather is heavy and muggy and people do not seem to lose their tempers.

The reason you can't see the skyscraper is because of what I call the "Sauna Effect."

Lines are long at restaurants but people do not tap their feet or roll their eyes.

It is as if Confucius still whispers in the ears of the Taiwanese people and reminds each one of them that we are all in this together.

This picture is one of my favorites for so many reasons


2 Responses to “Lessons in Confucianism”

  1. dulcimertwin@gmail.com Says:

    Sean, I’m so thankful that you have the chance to experience all of this. I can certainly tell from your writing that you are enjoying yourself and the Taiwan culture.

  2. dulcimertwin@gmail.com Says:

    Hey, I learned something today. Taiwan used to be called Fermosa, am I correct?

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