Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Who will Guan Gong protect?

Recently somebody posted an old talk by Pastor Mark Ng of New Creation Church on youtube where he pokes fun at Chinese beliefs and customs. In that talk he raised an interesting point about triad gangsters and policemen in HK both praying to the deity Guan Gong, so if they clash, Guan Gong wouldn't know who to protect. So according to him there was no point praying to idols since they wouldn't protect you. But in reality, Guan Gong is very clear which devotees he would protect. There was also an article on 13/6/2010 discussing this topic (seen above).

For over 1,700 years, the Chinese have regarded the deity of General Guan as a personification of loyalty and righteousness. In Taoism he is revered as a high ranking warrior god, whereas in Buddhism, he is a well respected Dharmapala guarding all Mahayana temples. Triads pray to him for his loyalty, as they want the triad members to be loyal to the leaders and the underworld code of honor. Police pray to him for his righteousness, asking for protection while they do their jobs to maintain law and order. So there is no contradiction there as each side has their own objectives in praying to the same deity. However, for triad members who engage in highly unwholesome trades like selling drugs or assassinations, no deity can protect them from the consequences of their own evil karma. As for policemen, as long as they remain upright in their daily lives, they will be protected by the deity. This is because like all guardian deities, Guan Gong respect the righteous and disdain the wicked. Nobody can be immoral and disloyal and yet expect protection from such divine beings. That's the simple truth. Indeed, to say Guan Gong does not protect his devotees would be to deny the fact that the worship of this deity has endured from the end of the 3 Kingdoms era until today. As long as people remember the traditional values of loyalty and righteousness, Guan Gong will remain in their hearts forever.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Rediscovery of Lord Buddha's Skull Relic

On 12/06/2010, the precious skull relic of the Buddha, rediscovered in 2008, was finally displayed before the whole world in a grand ceremony at Qixia Monastery of Nanjing, China. It was found in an ancient King Asoka Stupa hidden in the ruins of Dabao'en Monastery, located in another part of old Nanjing. This skull relic is the only one of its kind existing in the world. It shall be put on display at Qixia Monastery for one month before being returned permanently to its original location - the rebuilt Dabao'en Monastery.

The skull relic was first brought to China from Northern India by Venerable Danapala during the early Song Dynasty, more than a thousand years ago. The Liuli Pagoda housing the King Asoka Stupa in Dabao'en Monastery was built during the reign of Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty. However it was destroyed during the Taiping rebellion of the late Qing Dynasty in 1864.

After centuries of turmoil, it was only until 2008 that a team of archaeologists managed to unearth the stupa, hidden underneath the ruins where the pagoda used to be. This rediscovery holds great significance in the history of Buddhism and will be rejoiced by men and gods alike for a long time to come.

Besides the Buddha's skull relic, his other crystalline relics were found within a glass bottle discovered inside the King Asoka Stupa. Both the skull relic and the glass bottle will be on public display together. It would be of great merit for all sentient beings in that region to go see and venerate them.