After a very hectic period since last month, finally able to make some time to update this blog. Below is the photo of my altar at my new house.
I have ordered it about 10 months before finally arrived in time for my moving in. Ever since we move into this new house, some relatives or friends that have a chance to visit us, actually was quite taken a back by the altars at house top floor.
Some look around and quickly move descended towards the second floor. Some make single word comment such as ‘Wow!’ while others quietly at my back discuss with my wife or parent about how it is bad to have too many deity statues in the house. Even too many Buddha’s or bodhisattvas images are actually bad for a common household – according to them!
Well all this while ever since I have been initiated in Taoism- Kam Dong San – Feng Huo Yuan. I have had these many deities in my old house. In the old house, it is in a room instead of on a whole separate floor. Therefore not many people have a chance to view it.
Common folks especially in the local Chinese community have this belief that one should not have too many deities in the house, as it would cause havoc and dis-harmony in house. As those deities will fight among themselves and spill over the bad effects to the people living in the household.
Let me explain this ‘phenomena’.
When you just simply ask any Taoist priest or walk into any temple without knowing their background and ask them to consecrate a Taoist deity for you. There are possibilities they don’t know what they have consecrated into the deity for you. It could be some malevolent spirit. So this particular spirit is just happy that people in the house give good offering to it. When you consecrate another malevolent spirit, then they are not happy, because more spirit sharing the offering. Therefore these spirits have no cultivation whatsoever, solely relying on you to feed them. And when they have fights among each other, you will be the first to experience the after effects.
If an official Taoist deity, one who has reached the ‘Dao’ and still fight with each other for offerings or your prayers, then obviously they have NOT yet reached the Dao. It is better for you to ask them to make offerings to you rather than you make offerings to them!
Let’s be honest, in my line of job I have been to quite a few number of homes. And most people that pray to Taoist Deities usually will have empty teacups on the altar that was left to dry since last 1st or 15th of the lunar month. Some offered 1 orange/apple or sometime even forgot to offer anything. Do you think that Taoist deities survive on our petty offerings; they are so hungry for the fruits? Our offering is all in the thought that we project when we look at their consecrated statues.
Don’t try to analyze the deities’ thoughts or actions with our uncultivated heart or mind. If you can think like them, then others would make offerings to you religiously instead of you having to make offerings to those deities.
Others then like to make comments such as Buddhas and Bodhisattvas cannot be place near the deities. It will cause disturbance or havoc! Those are what I would like to call the street auntie and uncle philosophy on Buddhism and religion. They superimpose their thoughts and actions on the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
If Buddhas and Bodhisattvas can be jealous of other deities, then they have not reach the state of Buddhahood. Real Buddhas and Bodhisattvas would not be bothered by so ultra mundane problems and thoughts such as who and who will be jealous just because you have a new object of devotion. They are beyond all those attachments that you try to superimpose on them, that’s why they become Buddhas and Bodhisattvas while you and me still delve in Samsara.
I have so many deities in my Taoist altar is due to my affinity with them. I place them on the altar as a form of respect and also a reminder of my own need to be diligent in my own cultivation.
When I am able to cultivate and reached the Dao, then my Taoist altar would only have the 3 Pure Ones. As I am already reached the Dao and can communicate with any deities at will. Until that day arrives, the altar will remain the way it is.
As for my Tibetan Buddhist altar, it is a reminder to cultivate the Boddhicitta mind, to do my Buddhist practice and also to share the limited knowledge of Dharma I may have so that others would be able to plant some seed of Buddhahood in them, in this lifetime.
Having all these statues of deities, Buddhas and bodhisattvas also reduce and eliminates ones ego. When you are led to believe there is no god, no spirits, no deities, no ghost and no karma, that’s when you are in deep samsaric shit! Pardon my bluntness.
At the same time, I welcome all criticism and pointers from those that able to communicate with all the deities in my altar at will and see all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas on my altar their mind stream at will. Because I will then place your image next to them.
Until then, start examining your own life and your spirituality before passing judgment on others. May you be well and happy!