Tuesday 2 October 2012

X-Files : The Deity Of The Earth 地主公

X-Files : The Deity Of The Earth 地主公


Most Taoists families install The Deity of the Earth in their homes. The Chinese Taoists believe this deity to be  the guardian of the house. This deity is always placed under the altar table. The common practice is to offer five joss-sticks in our daily prayers. In my family we offer bananas, two red candles and five cups of tea on the first and the fifteenth day of each lunar calendar on top of the the usual five joss-sticks.

The above is just to explain the honouring of such a deity. Now back to my story. 

Do Not Burn My Beard

Two years ago we shifted to our new house. However, during the day, all of us will come back to the old house for the sake of convenience. The old house is nearer to all the public amenities like school, market and shops. We were very happy with the new house and of course all new equipment and fixtures were transferred there, leaving the old and almost broken furniture in the old house. In terms of maintenance and upkeep, again we neglected the old house. Even The Goddess of Mercy was transferred to our new house. But, we left The Deity of the Earth intact because this deity cannot be transferred to the new house as you need to install a new Deity of the Earth in the new home. We continued to offer prayers everyday in the old house. However, we failed to clean up the deity's place of honour with such diligence and reverence as we used to. In fact, I would say we left it unkempt. The earthen urn used to hold the joss-sticks was overflowing with ash and the ends of the burnt out joss-sticks. Cobwebs could be seen under the altar table! And it was dark because we were too lazy to light his oil lamp anymore.

Four months ago, my youngest son KYS had a dream. Someone addressed him by name. He could not see his face but somehow he knew that the one speaking to him was The Deity of the Earth. He told KYS, "do not pull my beard and do not burn my beard". The next morning when he woke up the first thing he did was to relate the dream to us. Of course, SK and I do not know how to interpret dreams. We just brushed it off as a dream and left it at that.

A few weeks after the dream, we all went to a temple to pray. There was a medium in attendance. KYS suddenly remembered his dream and promptly asked the medium what it meant. KYS's gut feelings was right. It was The Deity of the Earth speaking to him. Since we were too lazy to remove the burnt out ends of the joss-sticks, the urn was very full leaving very little space to place new joss-sticks. Each time when we offered prayers, we would have to place the joss-sticks nearer and nearer to the deity. With the joss-sticks being placed too near to the deity, his beard got burnt by the joss-sticks !.

When we got home that day, we cleaned up the urn and ash to make space for new joss-sticks  

Clean Up Or Else! 

Not long later, KYS had another dream. In his dream he saw the deity's unkempt place under the altar table. The space in front of the altar table was very dusty showing clearly two rows of footprints, leading out of the house. 

KYS interpreted his dream, he told us if we do not clean up the deity's place soon, The Deity of the Earth is leaving the house for good.

Feeling very remorseful, we immediately set about cleaning up the the deity's place of honour.

Over the weeks, we cleaned up a larger area and gradually we cleaned up much of the old house as well.

I do not know whether it was just a figment of my imagination or a coincidence but now the old house is brighter and cleaner,  I feel less irritable and much more relaxed.

Thanks to a timely "complaint" from The Deity of the Earth.

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