Asian God Hunt！
我來亞洲2001年，開始我的冒險。我從那時候有遇到很多“精神世界的力量”在聖經有這句話：…因我们并不是与属血气的争战，乃是与那些执政的，掌权的，管辖这幽暗世界的，以及天空属灵气的恶魔争战。(Ephesians6:12) 可是我不能說我瞭解這個精神世界。神道有好多好多神。中國應該有更多！在臺灣， 我覺得好多精神世界的力量都在濃縮到這個小的島嶼！
Now let me begin my paper: I have come into contact with many “forces” since my travels to Asia began back in 2001. I won’t say I understand them. Shinto has billions of gods, and China seems to have even more to me. In Taiwan it’s as though all these different spirits were compressed into one little island. Hey, I’m just a Christian! Don’t ask me to know everything! I have traveled through these countries with all their gods with my Jesus – and He has taught me how to become a spiritual warrior and humble to many people of many faiths I have met. Many of my friends are Buddhists or believe in Shinto.
How can I judge other people’s beliefs? I myself believe in some pretty amazing and hard-to-believe things. For instance, I believe the church (the REAL church, not the fake institutionalized one) is Jesus’s WIFE. . . and that means we can become His bride and love Him intimately. Also I believe in prophecy and the ability to hear from Jesus at anytime about anything, according to my faith. Then there’s just the amazing truth about the Gospel: Free Eternal life to anyone who believes Jesus came to Earth as a human and died and rose again, because He was god’s Only son! So now to look at what other people believe, as open minded as I can – I know I should not judge others. Only, I do hope to extend the love of God to others at the same time as I learn about their religions.
Sage King Who Settled Zhangzhou
Kaizhang Shengwang was actually a famous person in history named Chen Yuanguang who lived in ZhangZhou, in Fujian China. Because he was such a kind man, people honored him after he died. He was also known as The Mighty and Benevolent Sage King. He also had many other names. According to legend, he took a very difficult test under the Tang dynasty Emporer XiZong. Then, he led an army to suppress a popular revolt in Zhangzhou, then went about developing the region. After his death they made him a god.
There are other legends also about Kaizhang Shengwang, but I just consider him to be a very good king who did many good things for many people. I wonder how it works in ancient times that men used to make gods out of people? At least, in my opinion, they would choose those who were good men. . . and in my thinking this is like the church today deciding who will be a ‘saint.’ In this case you could make a god out of almost anybody! What about all the good “saints” that no one ever even heard about? This clarifies it for me greatly.
Next we move on to a god called TianGong, The Jade Emporer. At first glance I thought ‘could this be the Western God Yahweh which the Jews and the Christians worship? But upon further reading I found him to be another character among the large pantheon of Chinese gods. However this one seems to have an interesting tale, which reads more like a heroes journey through a video game or a Japanese anime. A huge war took place among the gods, with one evil demon trying ot take over the world. In short, he saved the world through his high level Daoism powers. Thus, he received the title of “ultra leader of the gods” and then was even shown to have helped create the world, NuWa style (out of mud). However he was not the original creator, but one of the head contributors. If you were to science-fictionalize the Chinese creation of the World, (and not to mention the Bibles’s too) you might say they genetically engineered human beings out of some sort of material (mud or dust).
His story is very interesting, this TianGong, and I find it as entertaining as a modern Manga or Final Fantasy story. In fact, I wonder if that’s where a lot of these plots of video games come from, since they are so similar: Worlds filled with monsters, leveling up, and defeating all the evil demons in the world to bring about some new order. Could be!
When it comes to this lady, I feel I have personal experience. It all started when I first came to Taiwan. I had practically crash-landed here from Japan, not knowing what was next in my life. The fiscal crash of 2008 had just begun. I had no job, and 1 month on my visa to Taiwan. I made a deal with God and said “I dare you to take care of me!” and soon I was in Beigang, teaching English and found this to the home of a famous MAZU Temple.
I had a very welcoming experience in Beigang and felt a very present spiritual atmosphere around that temple at Beigang. The hotel we stayed at was very old and I believe it was also haunted.
Since that time, it felt like I was going to stay in Taiwan. I thought about who Mazu was and decided to research her story a little bit, and was surprised by what I found! Mazu was a girl with a keen spiritual sense, and her prayers saved many people out at sea. When she was born she was very quiet, so they nicknamed her “Mo Niang.” The more thought about it, the more I came to the realization she was most likely a praying saint who was later deified, sometimes the way that Catholics would also make their favorite saints into demi-gods. She is a very important god to fishermen and people who go on boats.
我們的飯店在媽祖的‘老家’旁邊。那個經驗以後，有很多深刻的感覺，想： ‘應該跟臺灣很有緣。’ 北港的媽祖讓我發現臺灣的很深得靈魂世界的關係。在大陸的時候也有這樣的感覺。
Next we have GuanShiYin PuSa
This is a Buddhist Bodisatva. She was apparently once a he, but they made him a she to become more understanding and compassionate. I suppose the Compassion God would have to be female in Buddhism! That is still a bit of a mystery to me but it it reminds me of the way the Holy Spirit is now being seen by many Christian circles to be like a Mother of compassion, comforting Her children.
In any case, there are many stories about GuanShiYinPuSa.
In one interesting story, the son of a Dragon King turned into a fish and was caught by a fisherman. Since he was taken to land, he couldn’t transform back to a dragon. The son called out to all of Heaven and Earth, and Guanyin sent Shancai to recover the fish, giving the fisherman all her money. But everyone wanted to buy the fish because it was alive for so long! So there was a bidding war.
At last Guanyin’s voice came from far away, saying “A life should definitely belong to one who tries to save it, not one who tries to take it.”
So, the crowd gave up and Shancai brought the fish to GuanYin, who put it in the sea. This is why sometimes paintings of Guanyin show her holding a basket with fish in it.
Later, the Dragon King sent Longnu the Dragon Girl to give a Pearl of Light to Guanyin to thank her. Longnu decided to become Guanyin’s disciple. Guanyin gave the Pearl of Light back to Longnu. Shancai and Longnu are often alongside Guanyin as two children. Longnu is holding a bowl that represents the Pearl of Light, and Shancai usually has palms joined and knees bent to show he was once crippled.
我來臺灣以後常常看觀世音菩薩。我的佛教的朋友都喜歡他，而且在淡水附近有巴黎城跟“觀音山”。 我有一天去哪裏爬山，想“台灣人有一個 “慈悲的女神”，好神秘！我有禱告的時候，覺得臺灣真的有一個慈悲的天使在保護她。很多台灣人的靈感是這樣，有耐心的個性。而且他們對小孩子的看法是好像一個“觀音”或是“慈悲之女神！”
Next: Amitabha! 阿彌陀佛
This was a monk who was a king before. He found Buddhist teachings and decided to stop being a king. He wanted to become a Buddha. He had to fulfill 48 conditions in order to become the Buddha, and the 18th was that “any being could be born into Amitabha’s Pure Land净土by calling on his name at least 10 times.
People also believe that when they die if they visualize amitabha in Heaven over their head and think the mantra then they can go to Pure Land. They say you can go to this land by doing good things and also believing in Amitabha. Also Guanyin is a part of the Pure Land School (淨土宗). This is one of the most popular schools in Buddhism, and has many people today who believe in it.
Let me just say that Amitabha to me really showcases the works side of the Buddhist religion. You have to perform a certain deed or work your way into Heaven, which is a very typical religious trait. Thank God for Grace! On a positive note, I will add that grace does get us saved, but it’s nice to see how many Buddhists really do maintain some sort of standard or code of ethics, even far above Christians in many cases. So I do believe that these beliefs are better than nothing or praying to a Baal or a Moloch, which demands child sacrifice or some other kind of witchcraft
這是佛教的神：阿彌陀佛有去過“净土” 因爲他當一個王的時候常常（十次） 叫“阿彌陀佛” 然後最後成佛。他說如果你也坐好事然後相信净土你也可以去她的淨土。 我還有發現觀音也是淨土宗的會員。這是幾乎最流行的佛教的學校。今天很多人相信阿彌陀佛。
Great Emperor who Protects Life
Could this be the guy who is responsible for making so many good doctors in Taiwan? Even though I detest the mainstream medical system, at least they do have a high respect for good doctors and medical men. I don’t think this was a medicine man, indeed, but this was a good doctor who labored for free in many cases, just as any good doctor ought to.