Devout Chinese, whether associated with Daoism or with some form of CCT, consider asking for favors an ordinary part of being religious. In general, however, what many readers mean by the term “miraculous” would not quite describe even apparently spectacular results of supplicatory prayer and ritual in this context. A fundamental consequence of the Yin/Yang view of life is the conviction that there is an identifiable cause of everything, whether positive or negative. All evil, illness, and suffering is a result of disharmony and imbalance. It is true that ordinary people cannot always put their finger on the direct cause, but ritual specialists know about these things. More importantly, the gods and those spiritual beings who have found the secret of immortality can assist suffering humankind by bringing about needed balance and harmony of forces. A “miracle” in this context, therefore, might be a divine intervention not for the purpose of doing the impossible, but for helping the possible to happen more quickly and easily.
A ritual specialist assists a worshipper in her prayer offering at an elaborately decorated altar in a CCT temple, Taipei, Taiwan.