Thursday, February 6, 2014

Everybody's Got A Water Buffalo (Or Should Have)

Everybody's Got A Water Buffalo
I walked out of the gate of the retreat center we were staying out and almost ran into the bigger water buffalo in the picture.

The fields in the background of the picture are rice fields. Each has a little dike around it so it can be flooded. The water buffalo are used as beasts of burden for plowing, pulling carts, etc.

I'm not sure where these guys were going. There was a small calf trailing along with them, so it might have been a whole water buffalo family. I don't know.

The bigger animal had the rope right through the cartilage of his nose - so I know why he was so docile on that long rope. The smaller animal had the rope tied around its horns. Nevertheless, they ambled along without giving the man any trouble.

The building in the back left of the picture is a temple for ancestor worship. As it was explained to me by a Chinese man there, the building is paid for and maintained by gifts from the family members. The building is used for family gatherings and there are shrines inside with names of various ancestors. Incense and other offerings are made. Prayers are offered.

This is more than just honoring the memory of a departed patriarch. The ancestors are not necessarily seen as "gods," but more like spirit beings who could influence your life for good or evil depending on how you please them with honor and offerings.

The man who talked with me said this kind of ancestor worship is a problem for people who convert to Christianity. They do not want to participate in it, but if they refuse to give money to support the family shrine or temple they can be thrown out of the family and shunned by their relatives. I suppose this is more of a problem in these small rural villages than in the cities.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting post. nice picture

Anonymous said...

Greetings Pastor D,
When you get the chance (and if you are feeling well enough), I'd like to hear your thoughts on the secularism in today's higher education environment. It seems that colleges and universities want their students to experience free thinking and open mindedness, except when it comes to our Savior and traditional conservative Christian values.