The Social Role of Black Dragon Temple in Shaanxi Province
Religion plays a crucial role in any given society. It is considered a key pillar in many communities as it creates a sense of belonging and direction. Commonly, religious platforms are meant to provide spiritual nourishment but they also serve non-spiritual roles like providing a platform for social and welfare activity (Chau 54). This is not exceptional to the people of Shaanxi province in northern china. China as a country has a constitution that guarantees freedom of worship although is does not acknowledge some of the so-called superstitions associated with religion. The black dragon temple located in Shaanxi has numerous roles that it serves to the community (Leng and Zhu 97).
Apart from acting as a spiritual sanctuary and a symbol of divination by black dragon king, the temple acts as an engine to create mobilization in the community. This is important as people are likely to respond to anything with a religious push. Taking advantage of this, the leaders at the temple have organized boycotts to in protest of pollution and the destruction of the environment. In addition, they inflict pressure on political leaders to address the injustices committed towards people whether current or the past (Palmer et al. 101).
People who serve in the temple are people believed to possess a great charisma. As a result, the society looks up to them as their role models. Discipline and good moral behavior are therefore instilled. With this, lawlessness is curbed and peace prevails within. On an extensive view, the black dragon temple helps in inter-communities’ alliances since the temple is open to everyone (Dunn 39). With this, it serves a socialization platform role where different people can merge and share opinions.
The temple plays critical roles in the community. It is a viable channel towards mobilizing funds contribution meant for local use like the construction of roads and schools. The mileage in infrastructure and education would have been difficult in absence of the temple leaders’ mobilization. Not only does the temple mobilize funds, but it also contributes using the donor contributions extended to them. Volunteers from the temple serve the community in different capacities saving costs towards the provision of social amenities is reduced (Leng and Zhu 48). Some of the activities it takes part in, away from its religious roles include environmental activism; sponsorship of irrigation schemes; taking part in infrastructure development; and helping the poor and the physically challenged people found within the community.
While there are laws protecting freedom of worship, the superstitions that come with religion and performed in the temple are not legal. Regardless of that, the black dragon temple thrives even in absentia of law protection. First, the local governments have fallen into debts when they abolished taxes on citizens making it provide social amenities (Chau 92). As a result, the support by the black dragon is highly appreciated therefore driving authorities to comprise.
They also fear to cause anger and unrest among faithfuls of the religion. Also, the temple is said to have affiliation in with Taoist Association making its activities legitimate. Wang who played a key role in the reconstruction of the temple contributed hugely claiming the black dragon’s request to help the government stop the desert encroachment in Shaanxi which makes them turn a blind eye (Leng and Zhu 123).
In conclusion, the social role of the black dragon temple is irrefutable. Freedom to enjoy one’s faith without restrictions enables the society to live in harmony and achievement of desired goals is easily achieved.
Chau, Adam Yuet. Miraculous Response: Doing Popular Religion in Contemporary China. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005.
David A. Palmer, Glenn Landes Shive, Philip L. Wickeri. Chinese Religious Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.
Dunn, Emily. Lightning from the East: Heterodoxy and Christianity in Contemporary China. Leiden: BRILL, 2015.
Leng, Tse-Kang and Yunhan Zhu. Dynamics of Local Governance in China During the Reform Era. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2010.