The Cultural Institute (Wenhuayuan), Gaoxiong, Taiwan

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A Brief Introduction

The Cultural Institute is a temple, a school, and a charitable group serving the masses. With Daoist philosophy as its foundation, the distinguished teachings as its tool for education and salvation, and with the maxims "respect but do not pray to gods for blessing", "there is a special way to ask the gods", "educate the common people", and "foster talents" as its guidelines, it realizes its ideal of saving the people with religious zeal.

History

The Cultural Institute was founded in 1962. It evolved out of Jishan Hall, whose founder was Mr. Cai Wen. Initiated by the spirit patriarch Wenluo Qingshui at Zhiyan Hall in Gaoxiong City and trained as "Chief Planchette Writer ( 正筆 Zhengbi )", Mr. Cai, together with his colleagues Shen Shiyu, Chen Tianhe, Guo Qizhang and Huang Shizhu, founded the hall at the patriarch temple in Xinxing District, Gaoxiaong City, in the name of Jishan Hall. At that time, the spirits were distinguished and known to people near and afar. More and more people came to seek teachings and conversion. This founded the base of The Cultural Institute.

In 1963, Jishan Hall was named The Cultural Institute. In 1969, it was moved to its present site, 44 Second Minsheng Street. Several years later, the academy faculty raised money to build the General Academy of The Cultural Institute, a four-story temple-like building.

In 1974, after the setting up of the General Cultural Academy, summoned by Mr. Cai, an administrative committee was founded and registered by the government. Since then academic affairs became more and more onerous. Just as a disciple donated a 3 mu mountainside plot of land in Tongling Village, Dashu Township, Gaoxiong County, the committee prepared to found the heavenly altar of Mt. Xuanhua of The Cultural Institute, which, seven years later, was set up in 1982. In 1984, the two Nine-Dragon Du of the Heavenly Altar were completed.

Organization

The administrative committee has one director, two vice directors, twelve members, one standing inspector and four inspectors. All of them are elected at the believers' conference, the highest policy-making organization of The Cultural Institute. The president of the Academy holds the concurrent post of director, who represents the Academy outside and administers production, supervises the carrying out of Academy affairs, decides on Academy affairs, and is responsible for the believers' conference inside. Besides, there are three vice-presidents and several members of the council who are in charge of internal and external administrative and teaching affairs. Other units have been set up, such as the religious research department, the Dao propagation department, the rituals department, the charity society, the general affairs department, the sacred books press, the Guanxiwo magazine office, the monthly academic news office, the Advancement of Virtue and Cultivation of Obedience monthly comic book office, etc.

Doctrines

Taking loyalty and filial piety as guidelines, advocating morality and developing human nature with the Daoist spirit of upholding justice and saving the people, and instructing the whole faculty not to harm others to benefit oneself.

Significance of the Emblem of The Cultural Institute

  1. Five connected rings -- the Five Teachings (Daoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam) are related to each other, and only by mutual assistance can they save the people in accordance with the heavenly principles.
  2. Five parallel rings -- the Five Teachings are equal to each other, and none is superior than another, so it is impossible to tell which is better.
  3. The middle of the five linked rings is shaped like the character "Wen"; it represents the character "Wen" in "Wenhua Yuan" (Cultural Academy).
  4. There is a leaf-like shape in the connected part of the five rings. It implies that the leaf spreads teachings and represents the character "Hua" in "Wenhua Yuan".
  5. The integration of the five rings stands highly. It implies that the integration of the Five Teachings is made up of Five Directions and forms the system of the Academy. It represents the character "Yuan" in "Wenhua Yuan".
  6. Implications of the five colors: yellow represents the Centre, which is equal to "earth" of the Five Agents ( 五行 Wuxing ), "Daoism" among religions, and "honesty" of the Five Eternal Virtues ( 五常 Wuchang ). Green represents the East, wood, "Confucianism", and "benevolence". White represents the west, gold, "Buddhism", and "wisdom". Black represents the north, water, "Christianity", and "propriety". Red represents the south, fire, "Islam" and "righteousness".


Buildings and Spirits Worshiped

The Cultural Institute consists of the General Academy, the five halls, and the Altar of Heaven. The General Academy is a four-storey palace-like building, the site of the general office. On the first floor is worshiped the divine seat of Confucius. The second floor is the Fuluan Hall and the Daoist place for Sitting in Meditation ( 打坐 dazuo ) and for the worship of Emperor Guan. On the third floor are worshiped Guanyin, the Heavenly Lord ( 天尊 Tianzun ), the Elder Lady of the Big Dipper ( 斗姥 Doumu ), and 64 Supreme Year Stars ( 太歲 Taisui ). The major spirit worshiped on the fourth floor is patriarch Wenluo Qingshui, who is expert at medicine and devoted all his life to the salvation of the people.


Preaching Dao

Religious education is spread in multiple ways, such as education by planchette writing, founding a Daoist institute with Peking University, taking the lead in founding the association for the study of sages, running a long-term Japanese class and national philharmonic society, and holding study camps, life aesthetics camps and summer camps. The Cultural Institute regularly holds activities of conferring posthumous titles and offering cults to ancestors, and occasionally holds activities for saving the souls of the dead and dispelling disasters. It organizes planchette writing groups, scripture chanting groups and youth groups to communicate with other planchette writing organizations. Besides, it offers free services of stabilizing the spirit by spiritual healing, treating patients, and calming people down and modulating one's spirit. In terms of social services, it actively participates in activities for aiding disaster areas and public welfare activities.

Periodicals

Guanxiwo, News of The Cultural Institute

Address: 44 2nd Minsheng Street, Gaoxiong City, Taiwan (886-07-2813436, 2821723)

Related Organizations

Altar of Heaven of The Cultural Institute

Address: No.88-6, Tongling Village, Dashu Township, Gaoxiong County, Taiwan (beside Qinan Road)

Telephone: 886-07-656-2501,6562152

Wenluo Academy

Address: No. 6, 4th floor, 91 1st Dashun Street, Zuoying District, Gaoxiong City, Taiwan (beside the Longhua Middle School)

Telephone: 886-07-3150553, 3150554

Fax: 886-07-3328349

Nanhai Hall

Address: 15-126 Shuiguan Street, Zhuhou Village, Ren Township, Gaoxiong County, Taiwan

Telephone: 886-07-3519259

Taibei Cultural Palace of the Three Pristine Ones (8)

Address: 4th Floor, No. 3, Lane No. 2, Alleyway No. 39, 2nd Section, East Zhongxiao Street, Taibei City

Telephone: 886-02-23515151, 23515757

Fax: 886-02-23517899

Academy of the Three Pristine Ones

Address: 2nd Floor, No.1, Lane No. 2, Alleyway No. 39, 2nd Section, East Zhongxiao Street, Taibei City

Telephone: 886-02-23219756