Lianhe Zaobao journalist Daryl Lim dives into a new trend among Chinese youths: volunteering at Buddhist temples. This new wave of young volunteers do not have a religious purpose in helping at temples but are seeking a different way of life, or even an escape from the pains of the current social and economic realities.
Temple-goers are often the elderly and it is hard to associate temple culture with the younger generation. But some young people who grew up visiting temples and soaking in its symbols and atmosphere have taken up the mission of passing down this culture. Some of them “saved” temples that were forced to relocate, while others became craftsmen who work on restoring damaged or discarded idols. Yet others collect figurines like artworks. In their own way, each of them is continuing the heritage of temple culture.
Taiwanese art historian Chiang Hsun reminisces about the good old days of simple food and heartfelt folk religious festivals, where regular households threw banquets and opened their doors to friends and strangers. It is in those vignettes of daily life that all of Taiwan’s generosity, harmony, magnanimity and acceptance are on display.