ancestry, Chinese Medicine

Honoring Your Ancestry


Honoring Your Ancestry

September 10th was Grandparents Day, a holiday that is not really celebrated in the USA. But, in Asia, the senior citizens are well respected and honored. In fact, ancestral worship is very revered and considered a sacred practice. My grandparents are long gone in their physical form, but are remembered as many of us who have or had grandparents do. I would say ancestral practice looks somewhat like a religious practice based on the belief that deceased family members have a continued existence, and that the spirits of deceased ancestors will look after the family, take an interest in the affairs of the world, and possess the ability to influence the fortune of the living. Unity of the group is reinforced through ancestor veneration. Offering of various kinds helps to keep the ancestors happy in the spiritual world and, in return, will bless the family. Ancestral worship is not asking for favors, but to fulfill one’s filial duties. The act is a way to respect, honor and look after ancestors in their after-lives, guaranteeing their well-being and positive disposition towards the living, as well as possibly seeking the ancestors; wisdom, guidance or assistance for their living descendants. Since the ancestors brought the descendants into the world, nourished them and prepared the conditions under which they grew up, one has to pay respect and homage to the ancestors and honor the deeds and memories of the deceased. Ancestral veneration is a payback of spiritual debts. When I lived in Maui, Hawaii, I went to a Taiko drumming celebration, after which we all took a tour to an ancient Japanese graveyard. What struck me was all the people who had family buried there had picnics in the cemetery, offered me food and drinks, introduced me to their family who had passed on to the afterlife, just like they were there. Being an important aspect of the Asian culture, the social or non-religious function of ancestral worship is to cultivate kinship values like devotedness, family loyalty, and continuity of the family lineage. Ancestral worship is a family affair held in homes and temples. When I just started acupuncture school many years ago, I felt that I was over my head in studies and the philosophy of the Chinese culture. I was ready for a big shift in my life from being a businessman to a doctor of Oriental medicine. I happened to be visiting my family in Detroit, and decided to visit my ancestors to ask for their help to make the shift in my career. I talked to my grandfathers and grandmothers, uncles and aunts who had passed just like they were alive. I asked them to help and guide me to become a doctor. Here I am now, many years practicing Oriental medicine in Miami with great success. I suggest you get in touch with your lineage and see what happens. I started by filling out all the domains in the Magic Square and going from there.

I wish you the best in your Health, Wealth and Happiness.

Dr. Wu Dhi


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