May 28, 2005
Taoists will gather to
dedicate shrine in Carmel
By John J. Shaughnessy
One of the rare I-Kuan Tao shrines in the
United States will be dedicated Sunday in Carmel, according to a local
practitioner of the Eastern philosophy.
Bill Bunting's voice rises in excitement when
he talks about the shrine being housed in his Carmel home -- a shrine
that he plans to open to the public. "The shrine is the residence of the
divine presence. It's where we go to meditate, to breathe, to become
harmonious and centered in our lives."
Bunting says that creating the shrine is an
extension of the interest he's had in Taoism since he was 13.
"To followers, the Tao is the divine spark that
inspired all the religions and philosophies throughout history," says
Bunting, 46. "The principles of Taoism appeal to me. The three cardinal
virtues are wisdom, compassion and love for all living things."
A group of Asian-American I-Kuan Tao
practitioners from California will dedicate the shrine at 10 a.m.
Sunday. The contingent will include Derek Lin, the director of Tao
Studies at the Great Tao Foundation of El Monte, Calif.
Lin says that the tradition of I-Kuan Tao
(pronounced yee-guan-dow) is relatively unknown in the United
States. That's why there aren't many I-Kuan Tao shrines and temples in
the country, he explains.
"I-Kuan Tao is about pure spirituality as
opposed to religious worship," Lin says. "Thus, there are no deities to
worship. The godlike entities featured in rituals are symbols of virtues
that practitioners wish to cultivate -- gratitude, reverence and
Lin explains that the most important part of
the shrine is a flame of fire that is called the Buddha Light or the Mu
"Because the Tao is the ultimate force or
principle rather than a father-figure supreme being, I-Kuan Tao
represents it with fire instead of some human visage," Lin writes on the
Web site, www.taoism.net.
Bunting isn't sure how many followers of I-Kuan
Tao there are in Indiana but he's inviting anyone with interest to the
dedication. He can be reached at (317) 818-8297.
"I hope it does for them what it's done for
me," says Bunting, owner of Indiana Tai Chi Quan Academy in
Indianapolis, a martial-arts school. "It's a path of harmony and
oneness, of not separating yourself from anyone."