THE MOUNTAIN GOD AND THE MONASTERY – THE PECULIAR CASE OF THE SHANSHEN SHRINE

Written by Wen-Ren Liu. When travelling around Taiwan one will inevitably encounter small temples whose religious affiliation is not immediately evident. The prevalence of such temples reflects an area where Chinese religiosity generally differs from the monotheism prevalent in many other societies – while many Chinese believe in the existence of a realm of invisible, non-material existence, they are less inclined to confine their belief to a specific God. In line with this, many religious sites in Taiwan demonstrate an interesting juxtaposition of spiritual beings and symbols pertaining to different religious/spiritual traditions, the main ones being Buddhism, Taoism (and Folk Taoism), and Confucianism…