This study investigates contemporary Chinese Underworld traditions in Singapore and Malaysia, where the veneration of Hell deities is particularly popular. Highlighting the Taoist and Buddhist cosmologies on which present-day beliefs and practices are based, the book provides unique insights into the lived tradition, taking alterity seriously and interpreting practitioners’ beliefs without bias. First-person dialogues between the author and channelled Underworld deities challenge wider discourses concerning the interrelationships between sociocultural and spiritual worlds, promoting the de-stigmatisation of spirit possession and non-physical phenomena in the academic study of mystical and religious traditions.
The earliest recollections of Tua Di Ya Pek embodied
’s altar ( Plate 16 ), and Di Ya Pek’s hefty statue is placed parallel, in front of Zhu Sheng Niang-niang.
The oral evidence therefore indicates that the application of opium to Tua Di Ya Pek’s tongues originated at this temple and only later spread throughout the tang-ki- centric Singapore–Malaysian ChineseUnderworldtradition. Moreover, the following narratives suggest that Penang Chenghuangmiao’s Tua Ya Pek mythology not only initiated the later opium-smoking tradition among tang-ki but also helped to furnish the deity’s prototypical