So, what do I do in the trample in China or Taiwan? How do we pray?
1. Dress the part:
Men and women should not wear clothing that is too revealing such as shorts or skirts above the knees or tank tops. The shoulders should be covered and pants should go below the knees.
2. Make a donation:
Most temples open to the public are free of charge, thus giving a donation is a good way to help keep these public places of worship open.
3. Direction to enter and leave:
Most temples have a door on the right and one on the left, the dragon door and the tiger door, respectively. Always enter through the dragon door (right door), move in a counterclockwise direction in the temple, and then exit out the tiger door (left door). The middle door is usually reserved for the temple deities, so avoid that at all cost.
The smoke of the incense is believed to gain the attention of those in the spirit realm, thus allowing one’s prayers to be heard, and it has the added benefit of cleansing and healing powers.
Light the incense sticks and wait for a few beats and then extinguish the flames by waving your hand over them. If you want to make sure the incense is burning properly, you can fan the embers with your hand, but never blow on the incense.
Place three at a time in each incense burner you wish to pray at.
5. Which direction to face:
You’ll need to figure out which way to face the main incense burning urn at the front of the temple. The incense burners at all Taiwanese temples have three legs, and it is the side with the middle leg that you should stand and face for praying purposes.
6. Introduce yourself:
Starting from the first deity and every subsequent deity you pray to in the temple, you must first formally introduce yourself in your mind to the deity. You should mention your name, the address where you currently sleep every night, lunar date of your birth, and time of birth.