"Ray, the next time someone asks if you're a god, you show them your license!"
I'm reading James Frazer's The Golden Bough right now. It's been lurking on my nightstand for a couple of years. In an attempt to catch up on my reading, I try to consume a chapter or two a night.This evening, the topic was on incarnate gods. And I quote:
"A register of all the incarnate gods in the Chinese empire is kept in the Li fan yaun or Colonial Office at Peking. The number of gods who have taken out a license (emphasis mine) is one hundred and sixty...The Chinese government, with a paternal solicitude for the welfare of its subjects, forbids the gods on the register to be reborn anywhere but in Tibet...But besides these public or licensed gods there are a great many little private gods, or unlicensed practitioners of divinity, who work miracles and bless their people in holes and corners; and of late years the Chinese government has winked at the rebirth of these pettifogging deities outside of Tibet. However, once they are born, the government keeps its eye on them as well as on the regular practitioners, and if any of them misbehaves he is promptly degrade, banished to a distant monastery,and strictly forbidden ever to be born again in the flesh."And I thought the DMV was bad!