Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Nine Emperor Gods and Buddhism

The Nine Emperor Gods Festival is celebrated in much fanfare in Penang, Malaysia, especially the local chinese people who are both Taoists and Buddhists. For me, I used to pray to them too even though I place more emphasis on Buddhism. But nowadays I no longer pray to them the way I pray to the Buddha. Instead I requested them to protect and spread the dharma or at least ensure virtue spreads among the people in this land! I also requested them to protect my gurus and their lineage masters. And I am a vegetarian on the 9th day not because of them, but because of the benefits to sentient beings. And in return, I offered them some incense and other puja stuffs... just like the Tibetans do to their protector deities.

In short, I am turning them into protectors of the Buddha dharma and turning this into a Buddhist practice! Hence, instead of abandoning my chinese cultural and religious heritage due to the Taoist elements, Buddhists should adapt them within the Buddhist contexts. That was how Buddhism spread to the world from its native land anyway!

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