Show Ying Ruo（蘇芸若）｜
Virtuous Women on the Move:
Minnan 閩南Vegetarian Women (caigu 菜姑) and Chinese Buddhism in Twentieth-Century Singapore
Spreading Religious Teachings through Text or the Body?
Some Thoughts on the Study of Goddesses: The Example of Mazu 媽祖 Beliefs
Research Fellow and Director, Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica
The distinctions between institutionalized religions and local religions can be discussed from many angles; one of these is the difference in the medium used to spread religious teachings. Institutionalized religions rely, to a great extent, on the medium of text and scripture, as well as clergy members to interpret those texts, which, in turn, standardizes doctrine and ritual and solidifies the authority of the church. However, rigid, systematized rituals and authority cause adherents to gradually lose their sense of immediate comprehension and experience of the divine. On the other hand, local religions, by being intimately tied to the multitudes of people who lack institutional power 在野庶民, involve more diverse and disordered beliefs, yet adherents’ experiences and perceptions of the divine remain more lively and immediate. When the state granted Mazu the title of Empress of Heaven (Tianhou 天后), she then came under the auspices of state Daoism (i.e. institutionalized religion). Though many local goddesses were also absorbed into the same system as Mazu (or Lin Moniang 林默娘), there were still the continuous appearances of lesser local goddesses, who transmitted religious teachings through divine manifestations, either in their deeds or divination. Texts or scriptures were never part of these goddesses’ appeal; the body was their primary medium of dissemination. Thus, this paper discusses the differences between transmitting religious teachings through text and the body, as well as the social effects of these means.
Keywords: goddess, text, body, Mazu 媽祖, theory of religion
漢人父權社會在意識形態與宗教層面，都把女性當作具有汙染性的，並在許多方面消極禁止女性參與宗教儀式和政治事務。但漢人社會中的女神崇拜（觀音、媽祖、無生老母、臨水夫人等）又是特別的蓬勃發展並具有社會影響力，我們該如何來理解有關現象？Sangren 指出，漢人社會裡女性神明的表徵，會和現實社會裡所認定的女性特質完全相反，而有著絕對完美的形象。Duara 指出，神明神話故事背後各種不同的權威與敘事有可能層層疊疊並存在同一象徵符號裡，政治上的影響則是，政權對文化符號的刻劃，並不會完全壓抑其他的聲音，而反而是在半遮半掩中，有可能由多樣性裡獲得力量。但我認為，漢人女神信仰既非完美投射，也非多元訊息的並存，而是不同層次的女神信仰，或是說各個同樣女神裡的多重形像，共同構成了漢人父權社會的「次體系」或「修補體系」，使得漢人父系社會處在一個連續性的既排除又包含的狀態，也拯救父權社會免於崩潰。這個「次體系」有三個層次（宗族、社區、國家），並分別以父女軸、母子軸和母德理想性範疇為主要導向。而這個「次體系」，在「女性鬼魂經由關係性具象化所達成的成就」和「父系系統的覆蓋」兩個面向之間的交錯裡，共同形構了各類女神範疇，並舖連出了女性成神的歷程。這個歷程，也反映出來了女性與父系社會所進行的內在性的對話。本文將以台灣地方性田野材料、女神史料與既有女神研究文獻，來達成以上分析性的討論。
Goddess Saves Patriarchal Society:
Gender Interlocution and Efficacy Performance in Becoming a Female Deity
Research Fellow, Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica
Under Chinese patriarchal umbrella, it is believed that woman has been polluted. Woman is prohibited from political and some ritual participation. Nevertheless, goddess (Kuan Yin, Ma Tsu, Unborn Mother, Lady overlooking the water, etc.) worship is prosperous and influential in Chinese society. How can we resolve this puzzle? Sangren suggests an opposite symbolic projection for female deities, thus they will be perfect without any fault within the symbolic realm. Duara said, the evolution of symbols along a semantic chain. A symbol draw its power from its resonances in the culture, from the multiplicity of its often half-hidden meanings. But, I would like to point out that goddess is neither perfect nor multiplicity. Multiple images and multiple interpretations actually constitute a mutually shared subsystem, or say, a compensational system for the patriarchal society. Patriarchal society is in a continuous process with both inclusivity and exclusivity, goddess worship play a crucial role within this dynamic path. There are three aspects of this compensational system: lineage, community and state, each with a specific orientation as fatherdaughter axis, mother-son axis, and an idealized mother virtue attributed. This subsystem constitutes by two dimensions: achieving through relational actualization, and the imposition of patriarchal system. Different kinds of goddess posit distinctly within these two dimensions. This also frame a path for the developmental stages of female deities. Through historical archives and field materials, we can glimpse this process of gender Interlocution and efficacy performance for a female deity in a Chinese patriarchal society.
Keywords: patriarchal society, goddess, folk religion, Ma Tsu, Kuan Yin, efficacy
The Structural Relationship between Ritual Master Lineage Rites and Private Buddhist Altar Practices in Jinmen
Professor, Department of Chinese Studies National Quemoy University
Regardless of whether private Buddhist altars in Jinmen are open to the public for people to visit and make inquiries before the divine, their leaders always employ ritual masters and their troupes to perform related rites, whether that be for when divinatory rites mark individuals as future spirit-mediums, the ceremonies for becoming a spirit-medium, or for the annual libation (jiao 醮) rituals organized to pray for health and security. Even if, on occasion, the employment arrangement is deemed as one in which “Daoist priests are the lesser” (Daoshi di 道士底), the ritual process is led throughout by a ritual master, wearing ritual headdress (meiye 眉葉) and holding a snake-headed whip-like ritual implement (shetou fasuo 蛇頭法索), and retains strong undertones of ritual master rites. Based on fieldwork in Jinmen, this article explores how cooperative relationships are established between Jinmen’s private Buddhist altars and ritual masters and how a stable relationship is constituted between an altar’s practices and beliefs and the ritual masters’ distinctive rites. The article also considers how the two religious groups have formed an alternative tradition, one beyond the village temple system, of popular religious beliefs and practices.
Keywords: Chamou Buddha 查某佛 (female spirit medium), Lushan 閭山, Advancing the Pail and Platter ritual (Jin tongpeng 進桶盤), Crossing the Barriers ritual (Guo luguan 過路關), Crossing the Cloth Bridge ritual (Guo buqiao 過布橋)
Virtuous Women on the Move: Minnan 閩南 Vegetarian Women (caigu 菜姑) and Chinese Buddhism in Twentieth-Century Singapore
Show Ying Ruo
Postdoctoral Fellow, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
This article focuses on a heretofore little-studied community of Chinese Buddhist women in Singapore, vegetarian women (caigu 菜姑) of China’s Minnan 閩南 region (Southern Fujian 福建), exploring their historical origins and social networks in the region. Drawing on ethnographic insights and written sources, this study presents a picture of a twentieth century transnational Buddhist network initiated and maintained by these women. The paper discusses how the fluidity of their Buddhist identities reveals transformations in regional Buddhist movements and their negotiations within that context. Such diverse images of female Chinese Buddhists allow us to reconsider the many historical faces of “traditional Buddhist women.” In this case, the Buddhist women’s active networks were not confined to the family, and they did not rely on men in socioeconomic endeavors. As an important, female diasporic group in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, caigu often negotiated and integrated both their religious resources and dynamic roles across international locales. By establishing vegetarian halls, Buddhist temples, schools, and business networks, caigu from Minnan served as significant links in the Buddhist social networks between China and Southeast Asia. The women remained intrepid in striving for survival, while at the same time maintaining this little-known Chinese Buddhist sisterhood.
Keywords: vegetarian women (caigu 菜姑), Minnan 閩南 (Southern Fujian 福建), Chinese Buddhism, female monastic orders, Buddhism
The History of the Danshui Lingbao Daoist Altar and its Evolution before World War II：An Examination Linking Local History, Society and Religious Development
Professor, Department of Religious Culture and Information Management, Aletheia
This article combines the methods of document analysis, fieldwork, in-depth interviews, and comparative research to examine and analyze the development and evolution of the Danshui 淡水 Lingbao 靈寶 Daoist altar during the Qing Dynasty and the period of Japanese rule, its close interactions with local history, society, religion, and different ritual specialists, as well as the primary reasons affecting its rise and fall. According to the article’s arguments, the Lingbao Daoist altar may have been brought, probably in either the Jiaqing 嘉慶 (1796–1820) or Daoguang 道光 (1820–1850) reign period, to the streets surrounding the Qing dynasty Huwei Port 滬尾港, where the majority of people were emigrants from Quanzhou 泉州. After the opening of the port in the late Qing Dynasty, Tamsui benefited from the resulting economic and trade boom, which also led to a more prosperous situation for the Danshui Lingbao Daoist altar, led by the outstanding Daoist Shi Huan 施煥, in the early and middle periods of Japanese rule. In the later period of Japanese rule, the policies of the Kōminka Movement were fully implemented, and under the repressive rule of the colonial government, Danshui’s Lingbao Daoist altar was forced to study Buddhist rituals and participate in official Buddhist ritual assemblies required by the government, temporary setbacks for the altar. However, these brief disruptions did not fundamentally shake the foundation of the Danshui Lingbao Taoist altar; thus, after World War II, it was able to quickly recover, but at the same time it also faced new situations and challenges.
Keywords: Danshui 淡水 (Tamsui), Chinese society, Lingbao 靈寶 Daoist altar,
Shi Huan 施煥, Kōminka Movement