Ancestor worship is a distinguished tradition that has been passed down by the Chinese for thousands of years. It is an act of filial piety and a way for the Chinese to pay their respects to their ancestors. I-Kuan Tao follows the Confucian orthodoxy with the ambition to revive true Confucianism, enlighten all beings using li (禮), which encompasses all of the norms of proper social behavior, and bring out their inherent benevolence. They hold the belief that stable lives and proper burials will mean no regrets, hope that all who believe can practice in peace, and are devoted to promoting various life rituals. The Bao-Guang-Chung-Jeng Branch, for example, has been actively implementing various life rituals for more than a decade with the additional objective to allow their adherents to live and die in peace with no concerns.
This study examined the ancestor worship rituals practiced at the Bao-Guang-Chung-Jeng Branch to do a full documentation and discussion of the ancestor worship rituals used by I-Kuan Tao. This study investigated the connotations and spirit of worship ceremony that the Bao-Guang-Chung-Jeng Branch holds every year based on origin, meaning, and purpose of ancestor worship, ritual participants, the structure of the ritual venue, the ritual procedures, and their symbolic meanings.
This study involved literature analysis aided by field investigation. We observed and recorded the worship ceremony and designed a questionnaire to conduct a widespread survey of participant opinions. We also held in-depth interviews with senior masters and personnel responsible for various rituals to achieve the following objectives: 1. understand the origins of the worship ceremony at the Bao-Guang-Chung-Jeng Branch, 2. examine the ancestor worship rituals at the Bao-Guang-Chung-Jeng Branch and analyze their features and meaning, 3. perform a complete observation and documentation of the ancestor worship rituals at the Bao-Guang-Chung-Jeng Branch and discuss the spirit that they wish to convey and their influence on society, and finally, 4. use the ancestor worship event to display the cultural literacy and cohesion of Tao society to the outside world, promote the ideal of filial piety and paying respects to ancestors to Tao society, remember the kindness and charity given by elders, and strengthen the confidence and solidarity of adherents to practice.