From legend to customs – Monkey-God festivals in Singapore May 27, 2006Posted by kentneo in Customs.
Text by Jave Wu, 2 Oct 2006
Just got these enquiries from one member, I think this is worth doing some clarification.
The actual birthday of Da Sheng? I’m sure that this has been troubling some of the people for quite sometime, here’s some brief intro on the dates:
1. 16th of Lunar 1st Month – this date shall not be classified under the category of Birthday, cos from the past till today, no one has even used this date for celebration of Da Sheng’s birthday (and shall not).
In the past (certain old temples or tuas) will used titles or addresses like “Bu Yun” or “Guo Yun” – mending or changing of luck, for the ceremonies performed on this date.
Then why must Da Sheng performed such a ceremony on this date?
Reason is: During the creating of havoc in the Celestial Palace, he was captured by Supreme Lord Tai Shang Lao Jun on the 25th of Lunar 11th Month and then, he was put into a big urn as a punishment. After 49 days (16th of 1st Lunar Month) of burning, Lord Supreme thought that Da Sheng should have died due to the burning, but vice versa, he was alive.
After fleeing from the Urn, he was totally fed-up, with a blow of his golden rod on the urn, the urn was smashed and fire sparks were flewing out of the celestial palace in all directions and most of them were dropped into the Mortal World, creating fire disasters and fire mountain (folks believed that one of them is in Taiwan now) at that period.
After being enlighted by Buddha and Goddess of Mercy (after following San Zang), Da Sheng decided to lessen the karma of what he had done in the past, so he chosen the day where the fire disasters occured in the Mortal World to perform the “Kiew Say” ceremony for the Mortals.
2. 16th of 8th Lunar Month – again, this shall not be classified as the Birthday of Da Sheng. This date shall be classified as the Merit Accumulated Date or so-called Anniversary Celebration for Da Sheng, who had performed certain level of merits for his group to the west and helping the needy mortals.
3. 12th of 10 Lunar Month – only this date that we can consider as the “Birthday” of Da Sheng.
As we all know that Da Sheng is not born by his parent, he only pop out from a holy stone, so many people dont have the intention to celebration on this day – no purpose, the most is just showing the mortals respect to him.
In folks culture, the most important celebration date shall be on the 16th of 1st Lunar Month.
Da Sheng got many brothers?
Yes, he got 6 other sworn brothers (all are now the carriage of other major Deities in Buddhist Context, eg: White Elphant, Green Lion, Golden Eagle, etc)
How about his real brother? Since he’s born from a stone, do you think he got other siblings?
Then how come we can see so many other faces of Da Sheng? Reasons: He manifest himself in different forms at different period (just like what folks believed in Na Zha). But in whole, all these different Da Sheng belongs to one only.
Qi Tian Da Sheng is not wholely being recognised in Main Stream Taoism. He is only being well-known in Folks Taoism or Min Jian Xing Yang.
Neither he is a real deity in Buddhism.
In Buddhist Context, Dou Zhan Sheng Fo (Da Sheng got after he completed the task of collecting the scriptures) belongs to another Buddha.
Hope that these info do somehow clear some people’s doubt.