My bedroom was the best place for me to rest, a man-made heaven. I tossed the book into the corner of the room, I laid down on my bed, and something felt wrong, a hunch, a premonition, but my brain, my heart, but not my soul was telling me about what good was going to happen after the ritual, a total submission to the gods. My soul was tingling, it kept telling me to keep away from all of these, and to submit myself to Christianity as soon as possible.
Why…? I asked myself, my confirmation biased kicked in, why should I turn to Christianity where all of the truth is written in the words of Taoism, I contemplated, and a wave of flashbacks about the rituals trickled into my mind.
The inception of this type of ritual happened when I was a child, a mere 4-year-old, where my parents were my truth, I believed solely about what they had said. After 4 years of being in this world, I was told that there were no other religions that were better than Taoism, and my parents drummed all of these practices, the significance of this religion, reincarnation, doing good, and completely submitting your flesh to the gods as a sign of obedience as written in the context of Taoism.
I was being brought into the swathe of the smell of incense, and the intense burning of ritual papers to the gods, and massive amounts of food sacrifice to the gods laying orderly across the spread of a long table. I was being taught how to carry out the rituals, to understand the context of the Taoism books, cultivated in doing good to humans around us, reincarnation, and to be a medium.
Igneous flame was blown by the west wind, an infectious winnowing from Taoism, my father was super devoted, my mum was a step below, but both of them urged me to attend as much rituals as possible, to become ‘noticed’ by the gods, so the gods would provide us with good health and prosperity.
Countless amounts of money was spent in buying all of the materials to pray to the gods, to carry out the rituals that was mandatory in the context of Taoism. Ludicrous sum of hours spent in reading the books about Taoism and chanting their norm prayer repeatedly, incessantly throughout the course of the day. Joss sticks were turned into small column of ashes; the sacrifices for the gods were eaten by us to prevent wastage; kneeling made my knee caps immune to long hours of being down on my knees to worship the huge, golden statues which were soulless as ever.
When I was four, my heart was burning to being a super devoted Taoist as of my father. During the rituals, I was kneeling in front of the huge lifeless figures, it was intriguing at my early years of life, but deadened by the spell of time. I was being told by the shifu there to do the things needed to complete the ritual, mainly was kneeling down; being sprayed by water, rice, coins, and some other random objects; tailing after the shifu while he was chanting and always holding joss sticks throughout any ritual; being touched by the shifu by using a stick, or just something to poke certain parts of my body.
The most ridiculous part was, which made me question about this very religion, the very act of crawling through the legs of a shifu. There was a major ritual that I was being told to do as such, I was 11, the details were remembered as it was. After several consecutive hours of rigorous chanting, kneeling, and holding joss sticks, I was asked, told, forced to crawl beneath the raised leg of the shifu unto a chair. I crawled, obeyed, and slightly, chagrined.
The thought woke me up in the wee hours of the morning, I was dubious, confused, my head was veered in the direction where I kept the bible, hidden from the sight of the blind. I was afraid, I did not want to break my trust for Taoism, laying prostrate, I found the ephemeral peace that was found in my trust, susceptible to breaking.
For the previous piece: Moriah Moments #2