Is There Religious Fundamentalism in Chinese Culture? The Case of the i-kuan Tao in Taiwan Jen-Chieh Ting

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Is There Religious Fundamentalism in Chinese Culture?

The Case of the I-Kuan Tao in Taiwan
Jen-Chieh Ting

When Western power came to the East, the gate of our country was bombed open by foreign countries’ weapons. Chinese holy teachings couldn’t meet the new challenges. As Chinese failed in the challenges, they felt inferior and gave up the holy teachings. Peace did not come and the situation worsened. People felt themselves unworthy and were compelled to fix their own problems using impractical Western means. People only superficially learned things from foreigners. People lamented the demise of the good times of old. We then experienced an unprecedented change. Western powers overturned everything in China. Chinese felt anxious about these challenges. Officials were incapable of dealing with these problems and only awaited their doom. During these very bad moments, heaven was willing to deliver a new destiny to this world. The I-Kuan Tao [一貫道 ”Way of Penetrating Unity”] was born. The birth of this new phrase shows that holy teachings always innovate following history. The mission now has been transmitted to commoners, rather than teachers or emperors. The upper positions owning the power now can’t solve the problem of social disorder. In urgency, now only the very unprecedented saint cooperates with the commoners who do not have political power, and with those virtuous people who may possibly stop a dangerous future…Those who take the right steps may get more help and can spread out the holy teachings. Once heaven endorses you, you can accomplish. If heaven discards you, you will lose. Now only those nonofficial profound people can be relied upon. The radical historical change will be followed by saints who know heaven’s will. The saints will enhance the holy teachings and broaden their influences to the whole country. The world then will recover from danger and chaos. (Lee & Lin 1992: 3-4, quoting a pamphlet of the I-Kuan Tao)

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