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> The Official Lowyat.NET Sintua Thread, A thread on Chinese folk religion.

loud
post Jan 1 2015, 11:48 AM

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QUOTE(nachtsider @ Dec 31 2014, 09:46 PM)
And that's perfectly okay. There's no pressure on you to conform to any faith, my friend. You're free to leave and return as you so please, as per what you're comfortable with. I'm more than happy for you to discuss the topic from a curious onlooker's perspective. smile.gif

I'm glad you like the pics I've posted, including those of the statues on my altar. Considerable man-hours and funds went into assembling my personal lineup; feel free to request more photos of it, and ask any relevant questions.  cool2.gif

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Thanks again for the nice pic. notworthy.gif

Here is a more challenging question...drumroll...

As far as i know, the heaven and hell concept in eastern religion is not eternal, yet people keep praying to the same deities with the same fashion.
Isn't it the time to expect some old deities to retire or take new rebirth?
As for Nezha, aren't he suppose to grow up already? laugh.gif
nachtsider
post Jan 1 2015, 12:19 PM

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QUOTE(EnergyAnalyst @ Jan 1 2015, 11:21 AM)
Interesting. Good thread to subscribed to.  If you don't mind, please share with me what is eight immotals' place in the whole scheme of things?
Hi Energy, the Eight Immortals are a group of eccentric, fun-loving deities with a reputation throughout folklore as gods-about-town who embark on many strange and fantastic adventures. They are not commonly worshiped; it is more usual for them to be regarded as icons and depicted in statues, paintings, etc. as symbols of what they stand for.

They are, anti-clockwise from top right in the picture below (start with the white-beared gentleman and end with the individual holding the fruit basket) - Zhang Guo Lao/張果老, Gao Guo Jiu/曹国舅, Lu Dong Bin/呂洞賓, He Xian Gu/何仙姑, Zhong Li Quan/钟离权, Li Tie Guai/李铁拐, Han Xiang Zi/韩湘子 and Lan Cai He/藍采和.

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Zhang is more or less Dionysus - an immortal winemaker, whose brews confer longevity if drunk.

Gao was formerly a royal regent, wields a purifying jade tablet, and is a patron saint of actors, being fond of the performing arts and the theatre.

Lu is an exorcist (and ladies' man) who battles and dispels demons with the aid of his magic sword.

He Xian Gu is a protector of young women, particularly virgin girls (she was a vestal virgin herself). Nuturing and motherly, she was responsible for sheltering and raising the outcast royal baby who would later become the fearsome stellar deity, Marshal Yin (also known as Tai Sui - thereby hangs another story entirely).

Zhong is a former military commander turned alchemist, whose magic fan is said to transform base matter (such as stones) into gold if waved over it.

Li is pretty much Dr. House. A cripple who uses an iron crutch, he is a master healer who has a kind heart beneath his grumpy exterior and carries medicines of all kinds inside his magic gourd.

Han is a philosopher, a patron of musicians (especially flutists, being a skilled flutist himself) and a disciple of Lu Dong Bin.

Lan Cai He (whose gender is ambiguous, but is often depicted as female) is a trickster figure, a mischievous wandering musician renowned for her (his?) clairvoyant activity; s/he was known to sneak his (her?) predictions into the songs s/he sang. S/he is the patron saint of minstrels.

This post has been edited by nachtsider: Jan 3 2015, 08:40 AM
nachtsider
post Jan 1 2015, 12:23 PM

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QUOTE(Blofeld @ Jan 1 2015, 11:38 AM)
Interesting thread for reading.

All those pictures taken, are at your house?
Hi Blofeld, the first picture I posted was taken at my teacher's temple.

My home altar is the one with the winged skull talisman on the back wall.

All the other photos were taken at various temples and shrines around Malaysia and Singapore - sometimes by me, sometimes by my friends and contacts.
nachtsider
post Jan 1 2015, 02:01 PM

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QUOTE(loud @ Jan 1 2015, 11:48 AM)
Thanks again for the nice pic. notworthy.gif

Here is a more challenging question...drumroll...

As far as i know, the heaven and hell concept in eastern religion is not eternal, yet people keep praying to the same deities with the same fashion.
Isn't it the time to expect some old deities to retire or take new rebirth?
As for Nezha, aren't he suppose to grow up already? laugh.gif
Most deities are described as remaining the same age they were when they attained immortality or enlightenment. Which is why Na Zha, for instance, is consistently depicted as a seven-year-old boy. They do not reincarnate, as they have escaped the cycle of death and rebirth.

Some practitioners are of the opinion that cyclical changes do take place amidst the Chinese folk religious pantheon - there are certain Lord Guan followers, for instance, who believe that he has taken on the mantle of Jade Emperor. But they are the minority; to most sintua devotees, the pantheon is static. This static nature is not necessarily as simple as one might think, though; keep reading.

It is entirely possible for a deity to retire for parts unknown, or even to spiritually elevate beyond the reach of us and our world. However, spiritual 'echoes' of said deity may continue to reverberate through space and time even after he or she has departed, these 'echoes' being capable of manifesting as 'residual copies'. Therefore, even a departed god would be capable of continuing to manifest their influence, particularly if belief in them is strong. In such cases, it can seem as though they never left at all, and the status quo therefore remains more or less unchanged.
fantasy1989
post Jan 1 2015, 04:04 PM

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wow..nice thread biggrin.gif
nachtsider
post Jan 1 2015, 04:28 PM

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QUOTE(fantasy1989 @ Jan 1 2015, 04:04 PM)
wow..nice thread biggrin.gif
I'm glad you like it, fantasy.

Anything to add or ask?
tension_fedup
post Jan 1 2015, 07:36 PM

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TS, can u tell me story about ''hell gate'' ?

Last time i watch guai tan. The story is about ''tai pak gong'' bring the tv host journey to hell gate.. Seem interesting..
nachtsider
post Jan 1 2015, 08:04 PM

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QUOTE(tension_fedup @ Jan 1 2015, 07:36 PM)
TS, can u tell me story about ''hell gate'' ?

Last time i watch guai tan. The story is about ''tai pak gong'' bring the tv host journey to hell gate.. Seem interesting..
The Gate of Hell, the Gui Men Guan/鬼门关, is precisely what the label suggests. It is the main entrance to the Netherworld, where all souls must undergo spiritual cultivation and/or punishment for their sins. Legend has it that the gate is situated under one of the old salt mines in Feng Du County. Feng Du is the necropolis of Chinese folklore - the City of the Dead.

怪谈 is a show you really should take with a pinch of salt. I'm familiar with the episode of which you speak, however, and can vouch for the authenticity of the featured temple, which is in Penang.

Taking living individuals down to Hell before their time is up is a VERY risky business, however, and is seldom (if ever) performed unless authorised, and for a very good reason. It can result in serious injury or even death to the human participants. The Hell deity in the episode almost certainly just MADE the host feel as though she was down there, rather than actually take her soul on a trip.

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jeckyl
post Jan 2 2015, 11:09 PM

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nice tread. just an edit on the order of names for the 8 immortals. It should mention anti-clockwise from the white bearded gentlemen.
jeckyl
post Jan 2 2015, 11:12 PM

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just finished reading the thread. It is interesting as I worship only heavenly deities. Never knew there are more widespread deities. I thought only sinseh and those performing last rites worship the hell deities. I stand corrected.
patienceGNR
post Jan 3 2015, 03:30 AM

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Hi

I'm not sure how to address you TS

I have a few questions, does having sintua eliminate bad luck?

I mean, according to a medium, the Guan Yin in my home has 'ran away'. Since you're quite knowledgeable in this field, perhaps can you enlighten me on this occurance?
nachtsider
post Jan 3 2015, 09:41 AM

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QUOTE(jeckyl @ Jan 2 2015, 11:09 PM)
nice tread. just an edit on the order of names for the 8 immortals. It should mention anti-clockwise from the white bearded gentlemen.
My error on that one; I've amended the post. tongue.gif

QUOTE(jeckyl @ Jan 2 2015, 11:12 PM)
just finished reading the thread. It is interesting as I worship only heavenly deities. Never knew there are more widespread deities. I thought only sinseh and those performing last rites worship the hell deities. I stand corrected.
There are deities of all kinds, my friend, specialising in all sorts of different things.

The Hell deities deal primarily with death and afterlife-related matters, plus the subduing of troublesome ghosts and other supernatural beings. We who privately worship them aren't all THAT common, admittedly, although we certainly do exist. Most of us either have lines of work that are linked to the Hell beings in some way (e.g. undertakers, morticians, palliative care/critical care providers) or otherwise have an affinity for them (e.g. received assistance from them at some point in time).
nachtsider
post Jan 3 2015, 09:56 AM

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QUOTE(patienceGNR @ Jan 3 2015, 03:30 AM)
Hi

I'm not sure how to address you TS

I have a few questions, does having sintua eliminate bad luck?

I mean, according to a medium, the Guan Yin in my home has 'ran away'. Since you're quite knowledgeable in this field, perhaps can you enlighten me on this occurance?
Hi Patience, call me Nacht. 'TS' sounds so... impersonal, lol.

As I've mentioned, there are different gods who specialise in different things. Gods who deal with matters of luck and prosperity include wealth gods like Tua Pek Gong/大伯公 and Cai Shen Ye/财神爷, and the 'paymaster' type Hell beings such as Jin Qian Bo/金钱伯. One can approach any of the aforementioned regarding such issues.

A consecrated/activated/blessed statue can lose its power if not worshiped properly, neglected or if whatever protocols pertain to it are not adhered to (protocols may differ from deity to deity). Ensure that the medium is reputable, then get them to rectify the issue by either re-activating the existing statue or replacing the statue with a new one.

A statue of, say, Guan Yin, should be consecrated/activated/blessed by a medium who channels Guan Yin or, in the absence of this, a medium who channels a subordinate deity whom Guan Yin has issued the authority to perform consecrations on her behalf.

Installing a deity in one's home is something that requires commitment, faith and relevant purpose; it should not be done if any of these three qualities is lacking.
Raikkonen
post Jan 3 2015, 10:33 AM

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Morning happy.gif

Me not chinese too happy.gif

What I respect most about these old folk beliefs/religion (not just chinese folk in particular but in other races as well) where a man cannot easily touch a girl unless they're married.

It was similar elsewhere all over the globe.

As time goes by, many did not follow them (the rules) no more.




Hail the old traditions happy.gif


Stephen Chow's 'A Chinese Odyssey' adapted the sintua concept correct?



This post has been edited by Raikkonen: Jan 3 2015, 10:43 AM
EnergyAnalyst
post Jan 3 2015, 01:06 PM

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Hi Nacht
Is the road side praying/favor seeking ' a proper:act' according to your sifu teaching? What are the repercussion if it has gone wrong?
nachtsider
post Jan 3 2015, 01:14 PM

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QUOTE(Raikkonen @ Jan 3 2015, 10:33 AM)
Morning happy.gif

Me not chinese too happy.gif

What I respect most about these old folk beliefs/religion (not just chinese folk in particular but in other races as well) where a man cannot easily touch a girl unless they're married.

It was similar elsewhere all over the globe.

As time goes by, many did not follow them (the rules) no more.
Hail the old traditions happy.gif
Stephen Chow's 'A Chinese Odyssey' adapted the sintua concept correct?

Chinese folk religion is quite misunderstood these days, especially among the younger generation. Many youngsters barely know who they are praying to, or why. I'm hoping that avenues like this thread will serve to educate them better, at least a little bit.

If you're referring to the 1995 two-parter, yes, I absolutely LOVE that film. Most adaptations of Journey to the West neglect the fact that the Monkey King can be very dangerous, wild and unpredictable when he wants to. They overlook the fact that he was once a feared rebel, who held even the most powerful Heavenly troops at bay.
nachtsider
post Jan 3 2015, 03:27 PM

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QUOTE(EnergyAnalyst @ Jan 3 2015, 01:06 PM)
Hi Nacht
Is the road side praying/favor seeking ' a proper:act' according to your sifu teaching? What are the repercussion if it has gone wrong?
Hi Energy, there is nothing wrong at all about stopping by wayside shrines or temples and paying your respects there. If said places are isolated or rarely visited, the gods enshrined within might even see this as a nice gesture on your part, and smile upon you. But of course, to pray merely in the hope of obtaining blessings from the gods is not a good attitude to adopt.

Bald-facedly asking the gods for favours, particularly selfish favours born of greed, is very poor form. You can expect such requests to be ignored outright. If you are deemed to be particularly undeserving, some sort of admonishment might very well take place.

A virtuous person in genuine/dire need of help who approaches them, however, is another story entirely.
nachtsider
post Jan 4 2015, 02:01 PM

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Here is the story of the Black and White Brothers (the original pair, at any rate), if anyone is interested.

Once upon a time during the Song Dynasty, there were two constables who worked at a magistrate's yamen in Anxi Province. Their names were Xie Bi An/谢必安 and Fan Wu Jiu/范无救. Orphaned from an early age, Xie and Fan were childhood friends, stuck up for each other and joined the police force together. They were as congenial as actual brothers, and were famous for being upright, capable officers of the law who were absolutely incorruptible and would always catch their man.

There came a day when the magistrate dispatched Xie and Fan to apprehend a gang of vicious bandits. Fan, always eager to impress Xie, tried to apprehend them alone. Unfortunately, he was captured, tied up and thrown into a river to drown. Xie rushed in, killed the bandits and dived into the river to save his friend. He was too late, however; Fan had already succumbed. The heartbroken Xie chose to hang himself rather than live on.

As hanging cuts off the blood supply to your face and kills by suffocation, Xie's ghost is deathly pale and has a protruding tongue; as drowning victims are bloated from swallowing water and have blue-black complexions from lack of oxygen, Fan's ghost is bloated and has bluish-black skin. Upon their arrival in the Netherworld, the Ten Judges, impressed by their devotion to their duty and their loyalty to one another, ordained them as Chief Constables; they now help the City Gods to collect the souls of the newly dead for processing and judgement.

Xie and Fan wield magic items in order to assist them in carrying out their duties. Xie carries an enchanted fan, that can draw out a living creature's soul if waved over the being in question, while Fan carries enchanted chains that can restrain the living and the dead alike.

Written on Xie's hat is the inscription 'See Me and Prosper'/一见发财, while Fan's hat bears the inscription 'Omnipresent Peace'/天下太平. These were originally meant to be ironic slogans, given the fact that one normally encounters them when one's time is up. But they also refer to the fact that Xie and Fan may occasionally reward living beings whom they cross paths with, provided of course that the individuals are deserving people. This has given them the nickname of 黑白无常鬼, or Black and White Unpredictable Ghosts. '无常' additionally refers to the impermanent, fleeting nature of life, in keeping with how the two brothers are beings associated with death and dying.

user posted image

user posted image
nachtsider
post Jan 5 2015, 07:15 PM

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Who is the King of Ghosts?

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Da Shi Ye/大士爷, the Venerable Great Lord, also known as the King of Ghosts (大士鬼王), is one of the most fearsome Hell deities, if not THE most fearsome. Originally a vicious demon king who was the holy terror of the spiritual realm, Da Shi Ye was subdued by Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy, subsequently converting to the cause of good and becoming her disciple. This did not entirely quell his ferocious nature, however, and Guan Yin found him a job that would allow him to exercise this characteristic in a constructive manner - she found him a job as the commander of Hell's soldiers, including beings such as the Black and White Brothers and other ghostly troops.

Worship of Da Shi Ye becomes very widespread during the Seventh Month - the Hungry Ghost Festival. It is during this period that the souls serving penance in Hell are temporarily set free for a month's reprieve, and Da Shi Ye keeps his glinting eye on these prisoners, ensuring that they do not harm human beings or escape. In accordance with this belief, large paper effigies of him are erected in temple grounds, cemeteries and other strategic areas where the wandering spirits are said to frequent.

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Da Shi Ye's fierceness is legendary. Any and all who offend against him or defy him are sure to be destroyed. Even his own followers fear him, as well as some of his superiors. There is only one individual who can quell his savage temper, and this is, of course, Guan Yin. Take a close look at a statue of Da Shi Ye, and you will see a small figurine of Guan Yin sitting or standing upon his head - she is there to quell his excesses and ensure that he does not go overboard.

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Brusky
post Jan 5 2015, 10:19 PM

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Hi Nacht,

I bought a Buddha bust made from wood and Crystal cube laser engraving "Guan Gong", and I display them in my display cabinet. is it ok to display them as ornament? am I being disrespectful?

Thanks.

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