Guidao (Indralan: 鬼道, Guǐ dào) is an animist religion unique to Indrala. It is somewhat akin to Kamism of Kunihito and Sindo of Drania, and holds that all things, especially places, have their own spirit or Gui, which is worthy of reverence. These in turn are aspects of greater spirits up to the living universe or Tianxia.
The central principle of Guidao is Tao (or Dao), literally "the way". Tao can be roughly stated to be the flow of the universe, or the force behind the natural order, being the influence that keeps the universe balanced and ordered. This principle greatly influenced the other Eastern Religions, including Daenism.
The ancient Indralans considered that all things of this world have their own spirituality, as they were born from the divine couple. Therefore, the relationship between the natural environment of this world and people is that of blood kin, like the bond between brother and sister.
An agricultural society based on rice and corn cultivation like that of Indrala cannot exist without unification and harmony among all things on this earth: mountains, rivers, the sun, rain, animals, and plants, not to mention cooperation among people. So, it was natural that people developed the idea that they could make their society flourish only when they worked together, fully performing their own role, but at the same time, helping and supporting each other. This gave rise to the spirit of revering various Gui, the land, nature, people, and, on top of that, the spirit of appreciation of harmony among all these aspects of Nature
The Children of GuiEdit
Guidao regards that the land, its nature, and all creatures including humans are children of Gui. Accordingly, all things existing on this earth have the possibility of becoming Gui. Nevertheless, revered status as Gui is limited to those that live quite extraordinary lives beyond human wisdom or power and that have a profound influence, for good or ill, on human beings. As to natural elements or phenomena that have such enormous power, there exist Gui of Rain, Gui of River, Gui of Thunder, Gui of Wind, Gui of Mountain, Gui of Ocean. All these Gui are involved in the life of a rice-cultivating agricultural society.
Speaking of the reverence toward Gui of Mountain, it started with people’s awareness of mountains as an important source of water for cultivation. Then, people came to regard the mountain itself as a sacred object. This mountain faith prepared the way not only for the preservation of mountain forests but also for conservation of the cycle of nature, given the fact that mountain forests supply rich nutrition to seas through the rivers, and support good inshore fishing.
In ancient times, reverence toward a holy mountain was expressed by paying respect directly to the mountain itself. Nowadays, Guidao has a building, or a compound of buildings, where Gui spirit dwells permanently, and people worship by performing Tsuriyovi - a festival to offer prayers to Gui- in these buildings.
One essential aspect of Guidao is the belief that all the Gui trace their ancestry from the God of Heaven (Shangdi or Tian), a quasi-monotheistic omnipotent and just supreme being. The worship of Heaven is highly ritualistic and requires that the emperor hold official sacrifices and worship at an altar of Heaven. The Xinhan Emperor, also known as the Son of Heaven, derived the Mandate of Heaven, and thus his legitimacy as ruler, from his supposed ability to commune with Heaven on behalf of his nation.
In Guidao, ancestor worship (拜祖, bàizǔ), seeks to honor the deeds and memories of the deceased. This is an extension of filial piety for the ancestors, the ultimate homage to the deceased as if they are alive. Instead of prayers, joss sticks are offered with communications and greetings to the deceased.
Tsuriyovi: Festivals for NatureEdit
There are many kinds of Tsuriyovi performed in each locality throughout the year. Large or small, these Tsuriyovi are mostly based on the agricultural cycle. Two of the most important festivals each year are the spring festival called Kinentsuri, a festival to pray for a rich harvest, and the autumn festival called Niinametsuri, a festival to offer thanks for the successful harvest. People of each locality have been carrying out these festivals every year since ancient times. In this sense, it can be said that Guidao consists of reverence and gratitude to the land, its nature, and the life that these natural elements give to human beings.
Guidao spontaneously developed through the way of life of the ancient Indralans. It has neither written dogma nor a teaching book, but people revere numerous deities who are figuratively described as '8 million different deities.' Each Gui has an individual character to which people offer their worship, believing in that as the virtue of each Gui.
Guidao and the EnvironmentEdit
Guidao regards the land and its environment as children of Gui. In other words, Guidao sees nature as the divinity itself. These days, people often say, 'Be gentle to nature' or 'Be gentle to the earth.' But these expressions sound somehow like the fault of putting the cart before the horse. Believers feel that this is humanity’s arrogance. It seems that humans can dominate nature as the master and ultimately repair nature, using technical-scientific means. But Gui are the origin of all lives, and the life of all things is deeply connected to them. This leads to an awareness of the sacredness of life and an appreciation for life given by Gui.
From ancient times, Indralan people have faced nature and invisible existence with awe and appreciation. And they used to have a principle: 'to return the thing given to the human as a gift of nature to its original place.' Until the Enzo period (1450 - 1744 CE) this circulation system of Indralan society functioned very well. After that, with the development of modern industry, the level of Indralan life was elevated in material terms, and now people enjoy lives free of want.
But in fact, the Indralan spirituality inherited from the ancient ancestors has been gradually lost or hidden somewhere deep in national consciousness. It might not be an exaggeration if we said that not only environmental problems but also all problems of modern society have been caused by lack of the awe, reverence, and appreciation for nature that ancient people used to have and taught us.
Environmental issues, after all, depend on our self-awareness of the problems and our determination to take responsibility. We often say that things look different depending upon one’s viewpoint.
So, Guidao suggests that we should shift our point of view and look at our environment with the spirit of reverence and gratitude, that is, with the spirit of parental care for children or with the spirit of brotherhood. And if we can extend this spirit to our neighbors, to our society members, to our country members, to peoples of the world, and to nature, too, transcending differences of thought, ethics, and religion, then this spirit will serve to foster criteria and morals indispensable for keeping our human life healthy.