Moon’s Zen Moment…
I attended a Dao Ceremony conducted by a Daoist temple and master to receive the confirmation of “enlightenment.” As the ceremony is only conferred once in a person’s life, it is a special ceremony, which I felt honored to have participated in. As a prerequisite for the ceremony, I fasted for 3 days on a vegetarian diet, which was easy to do because I live on tofu and vegetables.
The Dao according to the temple is the same as God, the original source of everything in this Universe. In the famous book “I-Ching” by Lao Tzu, “dao” is the way of the universe and the path to tapping into our essence — our divine state of Being.
In arriving at the private home where the ceremony took place, my Daoist temple host and members were kind, generous and utmost compassionate. Prior to the ceremony, they served a vegan meal with tofu and rice noodles in a delicious spicy broth and topped it with a wonderful black bean dessert.
Once the ceremony commenced, we moved to the room with the Buddha altar, where candles were lit and food offerings with an abundance of fruit were made. The 1 1/2 hour ceremony performed in Chinese and some parts translated into English included endless bowing to show respect and deference, and temple guards chanted spiritual messages.
When it was my turn to receive the Dao, I have to admit I was a little nervous because a feeling of whether I was worthy enough to receive the Dao set in. I felt clumsy in the way I bowed and repeated chants but I managed to make it through the ceremony. After having received the Dao, I was congratulated by everyone for being “enlightened,” and the whole experience felt akin to that of an important rite of passage.
Before I left, the temple provided me with an “ID” card to record the day of my “enlightenment,” along with books on the Dao and vegetarianism.
While I know that I am far from being enlightened, the ceremony certainly was a wonderful reminder to always strive to be on the path of enlightenment by practicing love and compassion toward our fellow humans. It is through such virtuous acts that we can all have the possibility of reaching enlightenment and to touch upon our own inner Dao.
What a wonderful experience to have received the Dao, one which I will always cherish for the rest of my life.
Books provided by the temple:
“ID” card recording date and place of enlightenment: