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Some of the marvelous 19th century tiles atop the temple. They are Sancai (3 color glazes) and depict daily court life during the Ming Dynasty.



Inside the temple the attendant was busy caring for the offerings, and burning paper money for the spirits. There is a thriving business in Tai-O of providing paper articles for the dead. The Taoist belief is that everyone must spend 180 days in Hell, and then, after that, they can go to heaven (ultimately to be reborn). However, the dead cannot take anything with them, so their family members (preferably a male), must provide it. In the old days, servants or slaves were sacrificed to accompany the dead; food and money was burned or buried with them. However, it's sort of fallen out of fashion to sacrifice household help, so relatives can buy paper items that (theoretically) take their place.

There are airplanes, luxury cars, special Hell money, passports, tickets, houses, etc. that can be purchased to burn. It is considered bad luck to give someone Hell items unless they ask, so shop keepers allow the patrons to wander around the shops, picking out what they want, then take their (real) money.



This is Kurt, our Austrian guide, on Lantau Island. He was an enthusiastic comparative religion student. He lives with his wife and child on Lantau.



The temple has been remodeled many times, but, like many of the older buildings, elements were kept.


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