Today (3/8) my Indonesian friend, who has changed her citizenship to Taiwanese citizen introduced me to her mentor in Taoism, one of a dominant believe system in Taiwan. Her mentor, let’s called her Jean, also bring one of her caretakers, Ririn, from Indonesia who is a Muslim but also believe in Taoism and follow its ritual. The reason of our meeting is to find out if I am ready to join their ritual which is called Tao opening.

The reason behind my curiosity on Taoism is because I heard that many Taiwanese is actually a devoted Taoism follower. Over the years, I see several distinct good behaviors shown by Taiwanese overall, especially in Hsinchu city, and more specifically on their behavior on the road. For the record, I understand that it could be because of education, culture, or strong law reinforcement, such as CCTV use, and so on, but religion must played a significant role in it. While in Indonesia, I see many drivers, motorcycles and cars, shows the behavior of selfishness where they want to be prioritized first, that’s not the case here. What amazed me is because it is consistently showing throughout my 7 years living in Taiwan (2017 – 2024) and by so many people, not just one or two.

Added to that, I am actually interested to know about many religions, including Taoism. As a Muslim I always belief that religion should be able to stand side by side and life in harmony. Because we the religion follower have believed in something that’s actually difficult for normal people to believe in, such as God, heaven and hell, the live after death, and so on. If we can agree on these, then why can’t we agree on something else that supposed to be easier to prove such as politic, economic policy, geographical issue, and so on.

On a side note about believe system, I have a profound curiosity on people who believe in something. Because it is not only a logical choice, but also emotional, and spiritual one. The reason for most of people buying iPhone, for example, is not because they understand how the mechanic inside the phone works then he believes in the brand and then buy it. It’s actually the other way around. They believe iPhone brand is produce by a trustful company called Apple, thus whatever the company claimed about their product they will believe and willing to spend thousands of dollars of his hard earn income to buy it.

The mentor, Jean, started her explanation about Taoism by showing the Taichi Symbol, a prominent symbol in Chinese culture representing balance in the world with circle shape with black and white color. She said that in Taoism they believe that the universe and human live started from the meeting point between white and black then going along the curve of the circle to the other meeting point. It was 60.000 years of human live from one point to another point. The white color represents the reality of this 60.000 years of pure living without any sins. Let’s just call this the era of pure human. This pureness is the manifestation of the soul which every human has. This soul called Tao. They live in heaven during these years.

Muslim also believe that the first human created, Adam, also live in heaven for certain period of time. After awhile, even with the lafishness live of heaven, he still feels empty inside. so god created the first female, Hawa, from his essence. But we believe that human is this learning creature that is subject to how they are being nurtured. Islamic teaching tought us that human can be lower than evil but also has the potential to be better than angle. We also believe that human, after created from the mixture of soils, hence their moldable characteristic, also being perfected, then god breath in his essence into it, called ruh. While at it, it is important to note that long before God also has created evil from fire, hence their characteristic of living by consuming others. God also created angle from light, long before human.

Jean continued her explanation by pointing at another end of meeting point of the Taichi symbol where the black start from small and getting bigger. She said that this is when human started to deviant from the straight path thus being sent down to earth, as a punishment for what they did but also as the way to purify themself from the sin. This is where the concept of reincarnation started. If a someone follow the ceremony of Tao-Opening then he/she can go to heaven. If they don’t and also not doing good, they will be reincarnated as lower level being such as animal and it will be very difficult to be a human again and the chance to go to heaven will be very slim. The Tao-Opening is a ceremony that will be held by the Tao-preacher and followed by Tao-followers or non-Tao followers.

As a Muslim we also believe that the first human, Adam and Eve, lives in heaven. God said to them to enjoy their life in the abundance of heaven, do what ever they want in it except for one thing, don’t eat a fruit from a particular tree called Khuldi tree. Then they are being tricked by Iblish, an evil creature, and after that being send down to earth. On a side note, god created 3 beings. First, god created angels from the light. Angle does not have free will thus only do and serves the function of what ever God created them for. Second, God created Jin from fire. This creature has their free will and can choose what they want to do, but they don’t occupy the physical dimension like human.

They argue that Tao-opening ceremony can be followed by any body and because of that Tao is actually not a religion.

….. will continue this writing later …