Tu Di Gong

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Not to be confused with Earth Goddess or Earth goddess. ‹See Tfd›
Tu Di Gong
Tu Di Gong.jpg
Tu Di Gong
Chinese
Literal meaning Earth God
Alternative Chinese name
Chinese 土地 or 土公
Second alternative Chinese name
Chinese 福德正神
Literal meaning Earth god of wealth and merit
Third alternative Chinese name
Chinese 大伯公
A shrine to Tu Di Gong in Hong Kong

Tu Di Gong (also known as Tu Di, Tu Gong, Tudi Yeye and Dabo Gong), is a Chinese earth god worshipped by Chinese folk religion worshippers and Taoists. A more formal name for Tu Di Gong is Fude Zhengshen (福德正神), literally the "God of Fortunes and Virtues".[1][2]

In China, every village[citation needed] had a shrine to Tu Di Gong. It was this deity who was in charge of administering the affairs of a particular village. In traditional times, village concerns were primarily agricultural or weather-related. This god was not all-powerful, but was a modest heavenly bureaucrat to whom individual villagers could turn in times of drought or famine.[1]

A large statue of Tu Di Gong at the Hongludi Temple in Zhonghe District, Taiwan.

Today, he is still worshipped by many Chinese, with many housing small shrines with his image, commonly located under the main altar, or below the house door. Many worships make prayers to him for wealth and their well being. He is also traditionally worshipped before the burial of deceased persons to thank him for using his land to return their bodies to the earth.[1]

Commoners often called Tu Di Gong "Grandpa" (yeye), which reflects his close relationship to the common people.[1]

Tu Di Gong is portrayed as an elderly man with a long white beard, a black or gold hat and a red or yellow robe, which signifies his position as a bureaucrat. He carries a wooden staff in his right hand and a golden ingot on the left.[1]

Tu Di Po[edit]

In the countryside, he is sometimes given a wife, Tǔ Dì Pó (土地婆, lit. Earth Grandmother), placed next to him on the altar. She may be seen as a just and benevolent deity on the same rank as her husband, or as a grudging old woman holding back her husband's benedictions, which explains why one does not always receive fair retribution for good behaviour.[1]

Another story says that Tu Di Po is supposed to be a young lady. After Tu Di Gong received a heavenly rank, he gave everything that the people asked for. When one of the gods went down to Earth to do inspections, he saw that Tu Di Gong was distributing blessings unnecessarily. Soon after that, the god went to the Celestial Palace and reported to the Jade Emperor.[1]

After the Jade Emperor knew this, he found out that there was a lady that was going to be killed, but she was not guilty. Thus, the Jade Emperor told a god to go down to Earth and bring the lady to heaven. When the lady was brought to the Celestial Palace, the Jade Emperor bestowed her to Tu Di Gong as his wife. She was ordered to look after how many blessings Tu Di Gong distributes and that they not be unnecessarily distributed. This is why many people do not want to pay respect to Tu Di Po, because they are afraid that she will not let Tu Di Gong give lots of wealth to them.[1]

Landlord Spirit[edit]

Picture of Di Zhu God's tablet in Malaysia

The landlord spirit (Chinese: 地主神; pinyin: Dìzhǔ shén) is a deity worshiped in Chinese folk beliefs, which is analogous but not to be confused with Tu Di Gong. The tablet for the landlord spirit is typically inscribed with (middle two rows) "left: The Earth God of Overseas Tang peoples (Overseas Chinese), right: The dragon of five sides & five lands (Fengshui). The side inscriptions mean "The wealth comes from ten thousand directions and the business comes from thousands of miles." It is believed that the landlord spirit has powers to help gather wealth, and the position of the tablet must be placed properly according to the laws of Feng Shui.[1]

Village gods in Taoism[edit]

In Taoism, the God of Village have developed from land worship. Before Gods of Towns dominated in China, land worship had a hierarchy of deities conforming strictly to social structure, in which the emperor, kings, dukes, officials and common people were allowed to worship only the land gods within their command; the highest land deity was the Earthly Queen of the Four Imperial Ones. Ranked lower than Town gods, the God of Village have been very popular among villagers as the grassroot deities since the 14th century during the Ming Dynasty. Some scholars speculate that this change came because of a royal edict, because it is reported that the first emperor of the Ming dynasty was born in a Village God shrine. The image of the Village God is that of a simply clothed, smiling, white-bearded man. His wife, the Grandma of the Village, looks like any old lady who lives next door.[1]

Festivals[edit]

In Taiwan, festivals dedicated to Tu Di Gong typically take place on the second day of the second month and the 15th day of the eighth month on the Chinese lunar calendar.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j The Encyclopedia of Malaysia, vol. Religions & Beliefs, edited by Prof. Dr M. Kamal Hassan & Dr. Ghazali bin Basri ISBN 981-3018-51-8 www.selectbooks.com.sg
  2. ^ Keith G. Stevens, Chinese Mythological Gods, Oxford University Press, USA, (November 8, 2001), pages 60, 68, 70, ISBN 0-19-591990-4 or ISBN 978-0-19-591990-5
  3. ^ Cheng, Shuiping (2011). "Earth God". Encyclopedia of Taiwan. Council for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 24 February 2012. 

External links[edit]