Taiwanese religious traditions abroad: a Taoist temple in South India!

About 50 people, mostly Hindus, attend the bimonthly services

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 De-Yuan Tao Temple, Chennai, India (Image courtesy: The Hindu)

 De-Yuan Tao Temple, Chennai, India (Image courtesy: The Hindu)

NEW DELHI (Taiwan News) -- A Taoist temple in Villivakkam is located on the outskirts of Chennai, the capital of the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

It may seem unbelievable, but it's true, and it is even run by Taiwanese disciples.

According to Chi Shih-Sen, the temple priest, it was built in 2010 with donations from abroad.

The white two storey building called De-Yuan Tao temple, is the first such temple in Chennai. It is registered with the government as a charitable and educational trust.

The temple priest is hopeful that more donations will allow the organization to construct another larger temple in the Extended Chenani Region in the near future.  

As for the origin of the temple, the priest said he came to Chennai nearly 18 years ago at the behest of some Chennai-ites that he met in Singapore, and they were keen to learn the philosophy of Taoism. 

Initially, he visited the homes of Hindus explaining Taoist philosophy. After many years of hard work, today there are about 50 people attending the bi-monthly services at the temple.

Hindus don't see any conflict of allegiance in practicing Taoism. They see many similarities in the rituals, devotional objects, and even some of the deities between the two religions.

Hindus may compare the Laughing Buddha to Kubera, Lord Krishna's friend and the lord of wealth. Some locals mistakenly refer to the temple as a Buddhist temple, because of the Buddhist imagery which has been incorporated into Taoism.  

Shih-Sen who speaks Tamil fluently, explains Taoist teachings using video clips. According to a Taoist devotee, since Hindus already worship hundreds of gods, praying to a few more is acceptable.