Monday, June 9, 2008

Monthly Prayer Ritual

Yesterday we went over to Temptations to witness the monthly prayer to Buddha. This typically happens the second Tuesday of the month and on special occasions. Think church on Sundays, but on special occasions such as Easter, they have additional masses.
We see this occasionally where you will see people burning paper money to the "gods" outside of their stores. We mentioned this to Siew and Siewyih and never realized they did this as well, so we told them that we wanted to see how this ritual was done. I'm getting this information from Siew, who is a Buddhist light, (one who doesn't practice) and so the information may be a little weak, but you should get the idea.

First you have to cook, cook and cook some more. Okay, so far thinking this is too much work already, but hey, not my religion. The had fish, chicken, rice, noodles, vegetables, and fruits as their offering. Once everything was cooked, they placed the fruit on the top shelf, and the food below, then Siew had three incense sticks for lack of a better word, and prayed. Generally you pray for health, happiness and prosperity but you can ask for just about anything. Siew was quick, so I guess she stuck with the basics. Once that was done, typically you have to leave so that the "gods" have time to eat and absorb the offering. Afterwards, they burned the paper money so that the business will be prosperous. At some point, two coins are placed near the Buddha, and then tossed on the floor. Depending on how the coins face, depends on if you can eat the food that you placed as an offering. One coin has to come up "heads" and one "tails", if not you have to place them again near the Buddha and try again. Once you have the coins in the correct position, you can eat the food that was offered.

Buddha waiting for his food

The feast

...and more food

The offering of money

The spectactors
The bored

Not sure if Buddha liked the food, but I can tell you that Mark and I did.

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