Beitian Temple in Hualien County’s Jian Township held a ceremony to bring blessing to locals last Saturday. A 33-meter-high ladder, about the height of a 12-storey building, whose rungs were made with 108 swords, was erected on the main square. Ten worshipers who applied to take a test to be Taoist masters at the ceremony climbed the ladder’s steps one after another under the supervision of a temple official and a senior Taoist master.
One of the examinees was Lin Ji-chi, a 33-year-old cosmetologist. Lin’s mother is an attendant at the Kanling Temple in Ji-an Township. Lin said that Ji Gong, a divinity who is also known as the “Mad Monk,” had hinted to her mother three to four years ago that she had to take this test. Lin successfully passed her trial last Saturday.
This is the sixth consecutive year that the Beitian Temple blessing ceremony has been held. This year seven men and three women took the sword ladder test. A temple official first climbs up through the “heavenly gate” and onto the dizzyingly high platform at the top of the ladder, where he prays to the gods to grant blessings to local people and throws pieces of paper with auspicious Taoist spells to worshippers on the ground. After praying, he asks the gods’ permission to start the ceremony by casting divination blocks.
Photo: Lin Hsin-han, Liberty Times
After the ceremony, the 10 worshipers who had to climb the sword ladder did so one step at a time, guided by the senior master. After reaching the platform at the top and worshiping the gods, they cast their divination blocks to the ground until they obtained “divine approval,” a sign that they had passed the test. Thereupon they officially became Taoist masters.
The first person to climb the ladder was Chen Pao-chu, a 55-year-old woman. With bare feet, she started to ascend the ladder of swords. She was almost exhausted halfway, and took a rest while holding on to the ladder, but eventually she succeeded in climbing to the top.
Kang Lai-fa, a temple official, said that Chen had passed the test last year but had kept it secret from her husband. Since her secrecy was contradictory to one of the traditional wifely virtues, which is to help one’s husband and teach the children, she was disqualified. That is why she came back from Kaohsiung to climb the sword ladder again this year.
(LIBERTY TIMES, TRANSLATED BY TAIJING WU)
Photo: Lin Hsin-han, Liberty Times
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The Arctic is not known for its abundance. On the contrary, people often think of it with a shiver, not only because of the brutal cold, but also because of the apparent lack of all forms of life. However, for the indigenous people of the area, including the “Inuit,” the Arctic has always been a place that provides for them. Despite conflicts with invaders and governmental persecution, Inuit culture has continued to connect people to the land — but climate change now threatens to undo that. For millennia, Inuit have lived and hunted on the ice in regions that are
對話 Dialogue A: 走，我帶你去吃牛排，七分熟的最好吃了！ A: Zǒu, wǒ dài nǐ qù chī niúpái, qīfēnshóude zuì hàochīle! B: 對不起，我不能吃牛肉。 B: Duìbùqǐ, wǒ bùnéng chī niúròu. A: 沒關係，那家餐廳也有雞、魚、豬跟海鮮，都很不錯。 A: Méiguānxi, nà jiā cāntīng yěyǒu jī, yú, zhū gēn hǎixiān, dōu hěn búcuò. B: 不好意思，我最近腸胃不好，吃得太油就拉肚子。 B: Bùhǎoyìsi, wǒ zuìjìn chángwèi bù hǎo, chī de tài yóu jiù lādùzi. A: 這樣啊！我看你只能吃素了。沙拉吧吃到飽可以吧？ A: Zhèyàng a! Wǒ kàn nǐ zhǐ néng chīsùle. Shālā bà chīdàobǎo kěyǐ ba? B: 可以，我最喜歡吃生菜和水煮蛋了！謝謝你啦。 B: Kěyǐ, wǒ zuì xǐhuān chī shēngcài hàn shuǐzhǔdànle! Xièxie nǐ la. 翻譯 Translation A: Come on, I’ll take you to eat steak, medium-well is the best! B: But, I don’t eat beef. A: That’s fine. That restaurant also has chicken, fish, pork and
我想找好玩的地方 I’m looking for a fun place 對話 Dialogue 小實：馬克，你在做什麼？ Xiaoshi: Mǎkè, nǐ zài zuò shénme? 馬克：我在上網啊！我想找好玩的地方。 Make: Wǒ zài shàngwǎng a! Wǒ xiǎng zhǎo hǎowán de dìfāng. 小實：在學校附近嗎？ Xiaoshi: Zài xuéxiào fùjìn ma? 馬克：對啊，聽說美麗華有個很大的摩天輪，你去過嗎？ Make: Duì a, tīng shuō Měilìhuá yǒu ge hěn dà de mótiānlún, nǐ qùguò ma? 小實：我去過，美麗華不只有摩天輪，還有電影院、餐廳和商店。 Xiaoshi: Wǒ qùguò, Měilìhuá bù zhǐ yǒu mótiānlún, háiyǒu diànyǐngyuàn, cāntīng hàn shāngdiàn. 馬克：聽起來很不錯！你看，有網友說故宮博物院也很漂亮。 Make: Tīng qǐlái hěn búcuò! Nǐ kàn, yǒu wǎngyǒu shuō Gùgōng bówùyuàn yě hěn piàoliàng. 小實：故宮也在學校附近，要是你喜歡歷史，可以去參觀。 Xiaoshi: Gùgōng yě zài xuéxiào fùjìn, yàoshì nǐ xǐhuān lìshǐ, kěyǐ qù cānguān. 馬克：好，我上午去故宮參觀，下午去美麗華坐摩天輪。 Make: Hǎo, wǒ shàngwǔ qù Gùgōng cānguān, xiàwǔ qù Měilìhuá zuò mótiānlún. 翻譯Translation Xiaoshi: Mark, what are you doing? Mark: I’m surfing the internet! I’m looking for a fun place. Xiaoshi: